ASICS Race for the Hodge Trophy Watch List

Updated: December 20, 2013

Dec. 19 Release

The following is an update on the top undefeated wrestlers who are considered contenders to win the 2014 WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy, presented by ASICS at the end of this college season.

In addition to an update on their records and number of pins and technical falls each wrestler as has as of Dec. 19, the lists includes the biggest challenges for each of the wrestlers for the next two weeks.

Regarding win-loss records, WIN includes results from the NWCA All-Star Classic, which was held Nov. 2 in Fairfax, Va.


Top-10 Candidates

1. David Taylor, Penn State, 165 pounds, 11-0, 7 pins, 3 TF

The 2012 Hodge Trophy winner and NCAA champ and three-time national finalist suffered his only “official” regular-season loss last season at the Southern Scuffle against Cornell’s Kyle Dake. Taylor will return to Chattanooga, Jan. 1-2, where his toughest competition should come from Oklahoma State’s Tyler Caldwell and Virginia’s Nick Sulzer, who are ranked second and third, respectively, in WIN’s national rankings.

2. Andrew Howe, Oklahoma, 174 pounds, 12-0, 4 pins, 3 TF

The former NCAA champ and three-time All-American from Wisconsin is top-ranked in his first season in the varsity line-up in Norman, where he has scored wins over No. 2 Chris Perry of Oklahoma State, No. 3 Matt Brown of Penn State (this is unofficial since it happened in the Nov. 2 NWCA All-Star Classic) and No. 4 Robert Kokesh of Nebraska in the finals of the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. The Sooners don’t wrestle again until Jan. 9 at Wyoming.

3. Jesse Delgado, Illinois, 125 pounds, 8-0, 5 pins, 2 TF

The defending national champ defeated Cornell’s All-American and current No. 2-ranked Nahshon Garrett, 6-2, on Dec. 1 at the Grapple in the Garden in New York City. Upcoming for the native of California could be Iowa’s No. 5-ranked Cory Clark at the Midlands, Dec. 29-30. Clark defeated Delgado in last year’s UNI Open while the Hawkeye freshman was redshirting.

4. Anthony Nelson, Minnesota, Heavyweight, 13-0, 7 pins, 0 TF

The two-time NCAA champ suffered his only regular-season loss last year at the Southern Scuffle — against a now-graduated Dom Bradley of Missouri. This year in Chattanooga, the Gopher could meet NC State’s Nick Gwiazdowski, who defeated Nelson in freestyle in last spring’s World Team Trials and was undefeated before losing to Michigan’s Adam Coon in Vegas.

5. Derek St. John, Iowa, 157 pounds, 11-0, 5 pins, 1 TF

It was unknown if Penn State’s Dylan Alton — who like his twin brother Andrew has been recovering from off-season shoulder surgery — would compete against Iowa’s defending champion in the teams’ Dec. 21 dual. After that dual, the Hawkeye would travel to the Midlands, where he could face Lehigh’s No. 5-ranked Joey Napoli, and then look forward to the Jan. 10 home dual with Oklahoma State and second-ranked Alex Dieringer.

6. Ed Ruth, Penn State, 184 pounds, 11-0, 3 pins, 4 TF

The two-time NCAA champion and three-time All-American returned from his month-long suspension in Penn State’s victory over Ohio State as Ruth earned a 14-2 major decision over Kenny Courts. The Nittany Lion should face his biggest challenge this Saturday in PSU’s dual at Iowa, where No. 2 Ethen Lofthouse awaits. Once he gets to the Scuffle, he could meet Minnesota’s No. 5 Kevin Steinhaus, who has been dealing with injuries this early season.

7. Ryan Mango, Stanford, 133 pounds, 14-0, 2 pins, 1 TF

The second-ranked Cardinal senior and two-time All-American is expected to meet the likes of Oklahoma State’s No. 3-ranked Jon Morrison at the Jan. 1-2 Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga, Tenn. He could also meet Edinboro’s fifth-ranked A.J. Schopp, whose only “loss” this winter came at the NWCA All-Star Classic in November.

8. Mitchell Port, Edinboro, 141 pounds, 7-0, 4 pins, TF

The second-ranked Fighting Scot was scheduled to wrestle at the Midlands where he could meet another East Coast upstart in Franklin and Marshall’s fifth-ranked Richard Durso.

9. Mike McMullan, Northwestern, Heavyweight, 3-0, 1 pin, 0 TF

The defending national runner-up should face a very big challenge at the Midlands on his home mat in Evanston, where Iowa’s No. 3 Bobby Telford and Michigan’s No. 6 Adam Coon are also expected to enter the prestigious tournament Dec. 29-30.

10Tyler Caldwell, Oklahoma State, 165 pounds, 7-0, 0 pins, 1 TF

The three-time All-American and former Oklahoma Sooner — who lost to Penn State’s David Taylor, 10-0, in last year’s Southern Scuffle — should get another shot at the Nittany Lion star … as well as Virginia’s Nick Sulzer, whom the Cowboy defeated in last year’s Scuffle.


Others considered:

The following is an alphabetical list of other wrestlers who were undefeated and ranked in WIN’s Top 10 rankings through Dec. 15 results.

Adam Coon, Michigan, Heavyweight, 14-0, 4 pins

The true freshman is ranked No. 6 by WIN after he defeated No. 1-seed Nick Gwiazdowski of NC State in Las Vegas. Over the holidays, he is expected to face last year’s runner-up in Mike McMullen of Northwestern, ranked second, and No. 3-ranked Bobby Telford of Iowa.

Nick Dardanes, Minnesota, 149 pounds, 14-0, 1 pin, 1 TF

The Gopher, ranked sixth by WIN, finished third in last year’s Southern Scuffle at 133 pounds. This year at a heavier weight, Dardanes could face Oklahoma State’s Josh Kindig — whom the Gopher beat before Christmas — and he could also face Missouri’s No. 2 Drake Houdashelt in Chattanooga over New Year’s.

Alex Dieringer, Oklahoma State, 157 pounds, 9-0, 6 pins, 0 TF

The sophomore’s biggest win this winter came in sudden victory over Minnesota’s Dylan Ness and he could face the Gopher again in Chattanooga and the Southern Scuffle, Jan. 1-2. Dieringer then could face top-ranked Derek St. John in the teams’ Jan. 10 dual at Iowa City.

Richard Durso, Franklin & Marshall, 141 pounds, 13-0, 4 pins, 1 TF

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 first half of the regular season should come at the Midlands in late December, where Edinboro’s second-ranked Mitchell Port could be waiting.

Mike Evans, Iowa, 174 pounds, 11-0, 4 pins, 5 pins

The 2013 All-American and sixth-ranked Hawkeye has seen little action against ranked foes this winter, but that will change at the Midlands where he could meet Northwestern’s No. 9-ranked Lee Munster and then on Jan. 10, where Oklahoma State and No. 2-ranked Chris Perry will come to Iowa City.

James Green, Nebraska, 157 pounds, 13-0, 1 pin, 1 TF

The two-time All-American and No. 4-ranked Husker won this year’s Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in early December when he edged Lehigh’s Brian Realbuto, 6-5. He also defeated Missouri’s Kyle Bradley earlier this year and could face the Tiger again this Sunday, Dec. 22 at the Reno Tournament of Champions.

Ethen Lofthouse, Iowa, 184 pounds, 10-0, 5 pins, 0 TF

The senior All-American and No. 2-ranked Hawkeye will get a good idea where he stands this Saturday when he takes on two-time national champion Ed Ruth of Penn State.

Nick Sulzer, Virginia, 165 pounds, 13-0, 2 pins, 2 TF

The Cavalier junior placed fourth in last year’s Southern Scuffle, where his losses were to Penn State’s David Taylor and Oklahoma State’s Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State. Sulzer, who won the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite in early December, will once again face these foes in Chattanooga, Jan. 1-2.

Jason Tsirtsis, Northwestern, 149 pounds, 10-0, 2 pins, 3 TF

The redshirt freshman, ranked No. 4 by WIN, defeated Nebraska’s fifth-ranked Jake Sueflohn earlier this winter and is expected to wrestle Edinboro’s No. 3-ranked David Habat in the Midlands.

Taylor Walsh, Indiana, 157 pounds, 21-0, 17 pins

The ninth-ranked junior, who leads this weight class in total victories and pins, is scheduled to wrestle at the Midlands, where he could meet top-ranked Derek St. John of Iowa and fifth-ranked Joey Napoli of Lehigh.