Oklahoma State's Alex Dieringer was named the 2016 Dan Hodge Trophy winner, collegiate wrestling's Heisman Trophy on Monday. Dieringer capped off his collegiate career with back-to-back undefeated seasons and his third consecutive individual championship.
Dieringer (165 pounds) earned 27 of the 45 first-place votes from a committee of 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.
Dieringer is the second OSU wrestler, joining Steve Mocco (2005) to win the award. OSU is now one of five programs to have multiple Hodge winners.
"I'm so excited," Dieringer said in a news release. "It means everything to me. I've been working hard for it. I don't even think it has totally set in yet. To be recognized as the best wrestler in the nation is an honor. I kind of feel like Barry Sanders right now."
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.
Cornell senior Nahshon Garrett (37-0), Penn State sophomore Zain Retherford (34-0) and Ohio State sophomore Kyle Snyder (11-0) were the other finalists.
Dieringer won 27 of his 33 matches by bonus points and only gave up one takedown during his senior season. He recorded three bonus-point wins during the NCAA Tournament with two falls and a major decision. In all, Dieringer had 12 falls, seven technical falls and eight major decisions. He posted 13 wins over ranked opponents.
He became OSU's 16th three-time national champion and first since Jake Rosholt won three from 2003-06 with a 6-2 victory over Wisconsin's Isaac Jordan. He's the first Cowboy to win three straight titles since now-assistant coach Eric Guerrero won from 1997-99.
The Port Washington, Wisc. native posted a 133-4 overall record with a 19-1 record at the NCAA Tournament during his career. His lone loss at the tournament was in overtime to eventual champion Derek St. John of Iowa in Dieringer's freshman season. Dieringer went on to place third. The Cowboy registered his second-consecutive undefeated season and 82-straight wins, the third-longest streak in program history.
Dieringer will receive the award Thursday, April 21 at the OSU wrestling banquet in Stillwater.
|2016||Alex Dieringer||Oklahoma State|
|2015||Logan Stieber||Ohio State|
|2014||David Taylor||Penn State|
|2012||David Taylor||Penn State|
|2005||Steve Mocco||Oklahoma State|
|2004||Emmett Wilson||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||TJ Jaworsky||North Carolina|