Oklahoma State’s Dean Heil was one of eight wrestlers named to the 2017 Dan Hodge trophy watch list Friday evening by WIN Magazine.
A win by Heil would mark the first time in history the award would be won in back-to-back years by a two different wrestler from the same program. Alex Dieringer won the 2016 Hodge Trophy after winning his third consecutive national title and capping his career with his second straight undefeated season.
Dieringer is the second OSU wrestler, joining Steve Mocco (2005) to win the award. OSU is one of five programs to have multiple Hodge winners. No program has won the award three times by separate wrestlers.
The award is named after Dan Hodge, a former three-time (1955-57) NCAA champion from the University of Oklahoma, who did not allow a takedown in his career and pinned 36 of his 46 opponents. Criteria for the award includes a wrestler's record, number of pins, dominance on the mat, past credentials, quality of competition, sportsmanship/citizenship and heart.
Heil, the reigning national champion at 141 pounds, is 8-0 this season with seven bonus-point victories (two technical falls, four major decisions and a decision). His lone non bonus-point win came against No. 19 Tyler Smith of Bucknell via 14-7 decision.
The other seven wrestlers named to the watch list are two-time NCAA champs Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez (165), Cornell’s Gabe Dean (184) and Missouri’s J’den Cox (197). Other NCAA champs include Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello (133), Myles Martin (184) and Kyle Snyder (Heavyweight) and Penn State’s Zain Retherford (149).
All eight wrestlers won a NCAA title in 2016 while Dean and Martinez also claimed a title in 2015. Cox won his first NCAA championship in 2014. Retherford and Snyder were both finalists last season.