- MLB has Cy Youngs, Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers, and MVP’s.
- NBA has MVP’s, Sixth Man, Defensive Player of the Year, and other crap.
- NCAA Basketball has a million awards ranging from the AP POTY to the Naismith to the John Wooden and Oscar Robertson awards (Here’s to hoping Luka brings them all home!!!)
- NCAA Football falls into the same category with the Lou Groza, Doak Walker, Maxwell, Outland, Jim Thorpe, Ray Guy, along with a bunch of other awards named after other guys, but the most famous is the Heisman Trophy.
But do you know what all these have in common? They are all derived from team-based athletics. Without a supporting cast of teammates, you will not win any of these awards. Therefore, you have help.
So what’s the biggest and baddest and bestest of them all where you face your competition by yourself? THE DAN HODGE TROPHY is what. The award is named after the great Danny Hodge, who was a 3x NCAA champ for Oklahoma State from 1955-57. It is awarded annually to the nation’s best college wrestler and that is what Iowa’s superstar, Spencer Lee, will be awarded in a few short hours. Unlike those other sports, The Hodge is given to one specific badass across the entire sport of wrestling. Wrestling is one of the few pure “mano a mano” athletic contests that exists where the end results is directly derived from you thoroughly kicking your opponent’s ass.
And kicking ass is what Spencer Lee does best. Before the NCAA’s were canceled, he ran his unblemished record to 18-0, winning the Big Ten Championships, and securing the #1 seed for the NCAA’s at 125lbs. Along the way he outscored his opponents to the tune of 234-18 and racked up bonus point wins in 17 of his 18 matches. 13 of those wins he ended in the first period and averaged an absurd 5 team points per dual.
Lee snagged 52 out of 57 first place votes, which not only makes this the highest total for an individual, but also the most lopsided. WIN Magazine first issued the award in 1995, but it wasn’t until 2013 that they began releasing the voting numbers as well. Here’s how the last eight years breaks down:
2020: Spencer Lee (Iowa) 52 of 57
2019: Bo Nickal (PSU) 37 of 51
2018: Zain Retherford (PSU) 35 of 48
2017: Zain Retherford (PSU) 33 of 45
2016: Alex Dieringer (OKST) 27 of 45
2015: Logan Steiber (OSU) 38 of 44
2014: David Taylor (PSU) 38 of 43
2013: Kyle Dake (Cornell) 39 of 43
As we head into the 2021 season, Lee will look to become the fifth multi-time winner, behind Zain Retherford (2017-2018), David Taylor (2012 & 2014), Ben Askren (2006-2007), and Cael Sanderson (2000-2003).
This also marks the third time an Iowa Hawkeye has won the award: Mark Ironside (1998) and Brent Metcalf (2008).
On the behalf of BHGP we proudly and emphatically congratulate Spencer Lee on his monumental milestone. Now let’s go get another!