Iowa’s Lee, Minnesota’s Steveson Share Wrestling’s Top Award


Iowa’s Spencer Lee, left, takes on Arizona State’s Brandon Courtney during their 125-pound match in the finals of the NCAA wrestling championships Saturday, March 20, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Iowa’s Spencer Lee and Minnesota’s Gable Steveson have been named winners of the Dan Hodge Trophy as the most dominant college wrestlers in 2020-21.

The announcement Monday marked the first time in the award’s 20-year history that two wrestlers shared the honor.

Lee won the Hodge last year, and last week he became a three-time NCAA champion at 125 pounds. Steveson won his first heavyweight national title.

The winner of the award, presented by WIN magazine, is determined by fan vote and a committee made up of past winners, retired coaches and select media.

Lee overwhelmingly won the fan vote, but the committee overrode the vote and picked co-winners because Lee and Steveson were on nearly equal terms when it came to assessing criteria for the award.

Lee was a 12-0 with five pins, three technical falls and four major decisions. Lee earned bonus points in 92% of his matches.

Steveson was 17-0 with four pins, seven technical falls and three major decisions. He earned bonus points in 88% of his matches and gave up just one takedown.

Steveson will compete this week in the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials for a spot on the team that will go to Tokyo in July. Lee withdrew from the trials because of torn anterior cruciate ligaments in his knees. He tore his left ACL a few days before the NCAA Tournament but competed anyway.

The trophy is named for the late Dan Hodge, the undefeated three-time NCAA champion for Oklahoma in the 1950s who was known for his aggressiveness and pinning prowess. Hodge, who died in December, never lost and never was taken down as a collegian.

Also receiving first-place votes were Iowa State 157-pounder David Carr and Penn State 133-pounder Roman Bravo-Young, both of whom won national titles.

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