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March 30, 2015
NEWTON, Iowa — Ohio State’s Logan Stieber wrote his name in college wrestling’s history books with a convincing 11-5 finals win over Edinboro’s Mitchell Port in the March 21 NCAA finals. The Buckeye team captain became just the fourth wrestler in NCAA history to win four Division I titles. Stieber’s historic collegiate career didn’t just end with a fourth title. He also led his Buckeyes to a first-ever national team championship.
And now to cap it off, Stieber’s name will be etched in a final piece of hardware heading to the wrestling trophy case in Columbus. Stieber has been named the 2015 WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy, presented by ASICS.
Frequently called the “Heisman Trophy” of wrestling, Stieber becomes the 21st winner of the prestigious award given to the nation’s most dominant collegiate wrestler. He received 38 of 44 first-place votes from the Hodge Trophy Voting Committee.
Similar to the Heisman voting, each member of the Hodge Committee gets an official ballot. The committee is made up of all previous Hodge winners, national wrestling media, retired college coaches from different regions of the country and a representative of each of the national wrestling organizations.
Stieber wins the Hodge over the most dominant group of four finalists in the history of wrestling’s top annual individual award.
Oklahoma State’s two-time NCAA champion Alex Dieringer finished second in the voting with three first-place votes after his incredible season at 165 pounds. Illinois freshman Isaiah Martinez finished third after dismantling the 157-pound class in his first year in the Illini line-up. And athletic North Carolina State heavyweight Nick Gwiazdowski finished in fourth place after winning his second straight title.
Stieber, a native of Monroeville, Ohio, also won the official fan vote on WIN Magazine’s website the week following the NCAA Championships. The Buckeye got 55 percent of the votes from the 40,000+ fans, who selected the wrestler they thought was the best in the country. The composite fan vote winner received the final two ballots in the selection process.
“I’m truly honored,” Stieber said. “Growing up, the first college match I saw was Cael Sanderson winning his fourth title (in 2002). And I knew the Hodge Trophy was the biggest and best award so I wanted to win it. To now be in that group (of Hodge winners) is very humbling and I’m proud to have won it.”
Ohio State coach Tom Ryan said Stieber winning the Hodge Trophy is the perfect ending to their historic season.
“As soon as last season ended, I met with him. We discussed that the pinnacle of the sport would be to win four titles, winning the Hodge and winning the national team championship. Those were the three things we discussed,” Ryan said.
“The fact that he led the team to a title, won his fourth and now won the Hodge is an awesome end to his career.”
Stieber becomes only the second wrestler in history to win both the Hodge and Jr. Dan Hodge Trophy given to the top high school wrestler in the country. The other was Oklahoma State heavyweight Steve Mocco who won the Hodge in 2005.
The stats of all four finalists spoke to their dominance this season. However, Stieber’s and Dieringer’s bonus-point tally this year gave them the edge in the voting.
In becoming Ohio State’s first Hodge winner, Stieber dominated the 141-pounds class a majority of the season. In rolling up a 29-0 record, only five opponents all year kept the Buckeye senior from scoring bonus points. Only fourth-ranked Nick Dardanes of Minnesota gave him a close match all year. Stieber edged Dardanes 10-9 in a Feb. 6 Big Ten dual meet. The former four-time Ohio State champ had 10 pins, 8 technical falls and 4 major decisions. He outscored opponents 224-36 this year. The only offensive points he gave up all year were two takedowns and a reversal.
At the NCAAs, no one at 141 was in the same league as Stieber. He sandwiched an 18-1 and 16-1 tech fall around a second-round pin leading into the semifinals. Then after downing North Carolina State’s Kevin Jack 12-2, Stieber cruised to the six-point finals win over Port for his second win over the Fighting Scot this season.
By comparison, Dieringer was 33-0 in winning his second straight national championship, this one up a weight from his 157-pound title last year. Only five opponents of the Oklahoma State junior kept him from bonus points this year as well. Dieringer had 11 pins, 4 techs and 12 majors. Amazingly, of the five decisions, Dieringer’s 6-1 semifinal win at the NCAAs over Stieber’s freshman teammate Bo Jordan was the closest any opponent got to Dieringer all year.
Martinez was an absolute scoring machine. The three-time California state champ averaged just under 17 points per match and outscored opponents 487-162, with a great majority of his opponents’ points coming off of escapes. He recorded 100 takedowns and was only taken down four times the entire year. Martinez had 5 pins, 11 techs and 7 majors in his undefeated 35-0 freshman campaign.
Gwiazdowski was extremely dominant as well in his 35-0 campaign. The Wolfpack junior had the most pins of the finalists with 14. He also had one technical fall and 10 majors en route to a second straight title in a talented and athletic heavyweight class.
The Hodge Trophy will be officially awarded to Stieber at the April 19 Ohio State wrestling banquet. He will then be publicly awarded the Hodge at a fall football game as has been done with past winners.
The award is named after legendary University of Oklahoma wrestler Dan Hodge. The three-time champion Sooner was undefeated in his three seasons (1955-1957) in Norman. Freshman were not allowed to compete in that era. In going 46-0, Hodge pinned 36 opponents and he was never taken down in his college career.
For information on the Dan Hodge Trophy, please go to www.WIN-magazine.com or call the WIN office at 1-888-305-0606.
The following is a list of the all-time winners of the Dan Hodge Trophy:
Hodge Trophy Winners
|2015||Logan Stieber||Ohio State|
|2014||David Taylor||Penn State|
|2012||David Taylor||Penn State|
|2005||Steve Mocco||Oklahoma State|
|2004||Emmett Willson||Mont. St.-Northern|
|2003||Eric Larkin||Arizona State|
|2002||Cael Sanderson||Iowa State|
|2001||Cael Sanderson||Iowa State|
|2001||Nick Ackerman||Simpson College|
|2000||Cael Sanderson||Iowa State|
|1999||Stephen Neal||Cal State Bakersfield|
|1997||Kerry McCoy||Penn State|
|1996||Les Gutches||Oregon State|
|1995||T.J. Jaworsky||North Carolina|