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The ASICS Race for the Hodge Trophy ranks the contenders for the 2014 WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy, presented by ASICS. The rankings are compiled from the current season’s numbers, through Dec. 8, 2013, and based on dominance and the total number of matches.
Like the Heisman Trophy, the official selection is made by the 44-person Hodge Voting Committee, which is made up of all former Hodge winners, some members of the national wrestling media, retired college coaches from different regions of the country, a representative from a number of national wrestling organizations and two votes from a composite fan vote through WIN’s website.
The official announcement is made the week following the 2014 NCAA Division I Championships, which will be held in Oklahoma City, March 20-22.
1. David Taylor, Penn State, 165 pounds, 10-0
The 2012 Hodge Trophy winner and NCAA champ and three-time national finalist has not gone the distance in any of his victories this season; pinning seven foes and adding two technical falls and one major decision.
2. Logan Stieber, Ohio State, 141 pounds, 9-0
The two-time NCAA champ, up a weight this season, is coming off a third straight Cliff Keen Las Vegas championship where he pinned three of his five victims. Overall, the junior has six pins, two technical falls and one major this season.
3. Andrew Howe, Oklahoma, 174 pounds, 12-0
The former NCAA champ and three-time All-American from Wisconsin has more than found a happy new home in Norman, Okla. To date, aside from one injury-default win, Howe has four pins, three tech falls and two major decisions. The senior has led a resurgence of the Sooner program — fresh off a Bedlam victory over Oklahoma State as he defeated 2013 NCAA champ Chris Perry — and most recently is coming off a Cliff Keen Las Vegas championship where he pinned two foes and defeated Nebraska’s Robert Kokesh in the finals. PINS?
4. Jesse Delgado, Illinois, 125 pounds, 8-0
The defending national champ has pinned five foes this year, but more importantly defeated Cornell’s All-American Nashon Garrett, 6-2, on Dec. 1 at the Grapple in the Garden in New York City.
5. Anthony Nelson, Minnesota, Heavyweight, 13-0
The two-time NCAA champ has pinned seven foes this winter and most recently defeated Oklahoma State’s Alan Marsden in the Gophers’ 16-15 win over the Cowboys.
6. Derek St. John, Iowa, 157 pounds, 10-0
The defending national champion has pinned four opponents this winter and added one technical fall. The senior also scored a 13-4 major decision vs. Johnny Greisheimer on Edinboro’s home mat.
7. Ed Ruth, Penn State, 184 pounds, 10-0
Half of the Nittany Lion’s victories came in the Dec. 1 Lock Haven Mat Town tournament while the two-time NCAA champ continued his suspension for breaking team rules shortly before Thanksgiving. Ruth, who has three pins and five TFs, is expected to be back for PSU’s dual with Iowa and the Southern Scuffle.
8. Ryan Mango, Stanford, 133 pounds, 14-0
The Cardinal senior and two-time All-American is the only undefeated wrestler among the nationally-ranked 133 pounders. Of those wins are two pins, one technical fall and three majors. Mango will get a big chance to prove his national mettle, Jan. 1-2, at the Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga, Tenn.
9. Mitchell Port, Edinboro, 141 pounds, 7-0
The junior, who finished second in last year’s NCAAs, is coming off a championship at the PSACs and has pinned four opponents this season. That included a 3:47 fall against Iowa’s Josh Dziewa.
10. Mike McMullan, Northwestern, Heavyweight, 3-0
The defending national runner-up has seen little action this winter, but is expected to be ready to help Northwestern at the prestigious Midlands.
The following is a list of other wrestlers who were undefeated and ranked in WIN’s Top 10 rankings through Dec. 8, 2013 results.
Nick Dardanes, Minnesota, 149 pounds, 14-0
The Gopher, up a weight from a year ago when he earned All-American honors, has pinned just one opponent to go along with one TF and two majors. His biggest win was a 6-2 verdict against Oklahoma State’s Josh Kindig.
Richard Durso, Franklin & Marshall, 141 pounds, 13-0
One of the highest-ranked wrestlers in the history of this small Lancaster, Pa., college, the junior has pinned four opponents. His biggest competition of the regular-season should come at the Midlands in late December.
Nick Sulzer, Virginia, 165 pounds, 13-0
The Cavalier junior has pinned two opponents this winter, while adding two TFs and six major decisions, but more importantly is coming off a championship at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.
Jason Tsirtsis, Northwestern, 149 pounds, 9-0
The redshirt freshman has pinned just two foes this early season, but more importantly has quality wins over Nebraska’s fifth-ranked Jake Sueflohn and Bloomsburg’s Bryce Busler (who defeated defending national champ Kendric Maple of Oklahoma this winter).
Alex Dieringer, Oklahoma State, 157 pounds, 8-0
The sophomore has pinned five opponents this winter, but more importantly defeated Minnesota’s 2012 NCAA finalist Dylan Ness on Dec. 8, in sudden victory.
Taylor Walsh, Indiana, 157 pounds, 20-0
Not only has the junior from Cherry Hill, N.J., won 20 matches as of Dec. 8, the two-time NCAA qualifier has pinned 16 opponents this winter. The Hoosier is hoping to get a shot at Iowa’s St. John at the Midlands this month.
Tyler Caldwell, Oklahoma State, 165 pounds, 6-0
The three-time All-American and former Oklahoma Sooner — who placed second to Nebraska’s Jordan Burroughs in 2011 — did not have a pin through Dec. 8, but should get a chance to challenge Penn State’s David Taylor at the Southern Scuffle.
Mike Evans, Iowa, 174 pounds, 10-0
The 2013 All-American got bonus-point wins in all of his first ten matches, pinning four, earning four TFs and two major decisions.
Ethen Lofthouse, Iowa, 184 pounds, 9-0
The senior All-American, ranked No. 2 nationally, has five falls this winter.
Adam Coon, Michigan, Heavyweight, 13-0
The true freshman has certainly made an immediate impact for the Wolverines, especially at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational where he defeated No. 1-seed Nick Gwiazdowski of NC State and eventually captured the crown. Coon has four pins this season.