The following is a list of Division I wrestlers, who have won NCAA championships in the past and are considered preseason candidates to win the WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy, presented by ASICS in March 2015 to the nation’s most dominant wrestler. Fans will have until November 1, 2014 to cast their vote for this preseason honor. The winner will be announced on Monday, November 3, 2014.
Created by WIN founder Mike Chapman in 1995, the Dan Hodge Trophy is named after the former three-time University of Oklahoma national champion (1955-57) who never allowed a takedown in his college career. He also pinned 36 of his 46 victims.
125 lb. Jesse Delgado: Illinois, Senior
Became the first Illinois wrestler in 56 years to win back-to-back NCAA championships and hopes to become the Illini’s first three-time champion. The native of Gilroy, Calif., originally signed with Cal Poly but transferred to Illinois with current UI associate head coach Mark Perry. Delgado, a three-time All-American, also finished seventh in 2012 and enters his final year with a career record of 91-13 with 18 pins.
141 lb. Logan Stieber: Ohio State, Senior
The native of Monroeville, Ohio, became the first Buckeye to win three NCAA championships when he defeated Virginia Tech’s Devin Carter for the 141-pound title last March in Oklahoma City. Stieber’s first two NCAA championships came at 133 pounds: first in 2012 when he edged Oklahoma State’s Jordan Oliver, 4-3, and then in 2013 when the Buckeye defeated Iowa’s Tony Ramos, 7-4. Heading into his final year in Columbus, Stieber is 90-3 on his career, the highest winning career percentage ever by a Buckeye. He also has 40 pins in his career.
149 lb. Jason Tsirtsis: Northwestern, Sophomore
This Wildcat made the most of his first-ever NCAA tournament last March, when as the No. 5 seed he defeated Oklahoma State’s Josh Kindig for the 149-pound championship. The native of Crown Point, Ind., finished 32-2 last winter with three pins.
165 lb. Alex Dieringer: Oklahoma State, Junior
The Cowboy from Port Washington, Wisc., is moving up one weight class after defeating Minnesota’s Dylan Ness for the 157-pound championship. The two-time All-American, who finished third at 157 pounds in 2013, was 32-1 last winter and has compiled a 67-4 career record with 22 pins.
197 lb. J’den Cox: Missouri, Sophomore
The hometown Tiger from Columbia, Mo., was a true freshman last winter when he defeated Ohio State’s Nick Heflin for the 197-pound championship. One year earlier, Cox won his fourth Missouri state championship — at a fourth different weight — for Hickman High School. Overall, Cox was 38-2 last winter with four pins.
Hwt. Nick Gwiazdowski: NC State, Junior
The native of Delanson, N.Y., actually began his college wrestling career at Binghamton, where he earned his first All-American honor (eighth place) in 2012. But when former Binghamton coach Pat Popolizio left for NC State that summer, he was joined by Gwiazdowski, who redshirted in 2013, but returned last winter to finish 42-2 overall and defeat Minnesota’s two-time NCAA champ Anthony Nelson for the 2014 NCAA crown. Overall, he is 72-11 in his college career. Gwiazdowski had 23 pins (16 last year) in college career.
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