‘Two of the best to ever step on a college mat’
WIN Magazine announced the short list of 2019 Dan Hodge Trophy finalists Monday and, for the third year in a row, Penn State makes make up half those in contention for the most prestigious award in college wrestling.
As undefeated national champs, Penn State’s Bo Nickal and Jason Nolf are joined on the list by fellow senior Anthony Ashnault, of Rutgers, and Cornell sophomore Yianni Diakomihalis.
The WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy, the equivalent of football’s Heisman, is given each year to the nation’s best college wrestler.
Criteria for the Hodge include the wrestler’s record, number of pins, dominance on the mat, quality of competition, past credentials, sportsmanship/citizenship and heart. The first four are the primary criteria.
Both Nolf and Nickal have been heavy frontrunners for the Hodge throughout the season. Although both have admitted winning the Hodge had been an initial goal of theirs as freshmen, they’ve repeatedly downplayed the importance of the award.
“I think any of us would be a good option for it,” Nolf said ahead of the Big Ten championships.
Because Nolf and Nickal had been so close throughout the season, there has been social media talk about a “co-Hodge” trophy. In fact, the pair did win “Co-Big Ten Wrestlers of the Year” just a few weeks ago. If two finalists are virtually tied after the first four criteria, consideration will be given to past credentials and who is the best representative of the sport.
The winner is decided by a group of formal voters, which includes past winners, national media, representatives of national wrestling organizations and retired coaches, as well as a fan vote. The winner of the fan vote will earn two first-place votes.
Fans can decide whom they think most deserves the honor by going to https://www.win-magazine.com/2019/03/2019-win-magazineculture-house-dan-hodge-trophy-fan-vote/ and casting their vote by 6 p.m. Friday. The winner will be announced April 2.
How to vote for the 2019 Hodge Trophy winner
When: By 6 p.m. (Eastern time) Friday