Retherford wins Hodge Trophy By WIN Publisher Bryan Van Kley

LQJ JURXS RI IRXU +RGJH ÀQDOLVWV WKLV \HDU 3HQQ State’s two-time NCAA champ Zain Retherford has been named the 2017 Hodge winner, pre- sented annually to the top collegian by ASICS. “I met Dan Hodge at a National Wrestling


Hall of Fame event a few years ago. To win something like this named in his honor is pretty awesome,” Retherford said. “This award symbol- izes who he is as a person and competitor.” The award, created by

Culture House’s Mike Chap- man, is named after Hodge, who was a three-time NCAA champion for the University of Oklahoma from 1955 to 1957. Hodge was undefeated, nev- er taken down in three years while going 46-0, and pinned an amazing 36 opponents. Retherford, who was 28-0 this

he WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy has been award- ed to the most dominant collegiate wrestler since 1995. Out of an amaz-

from each region of the country and a represen- tative of the national wrestling organizations. As in past years, WIN Magazine also conducted a national fan vote the week following the NCAAs for the Hodge. Nearly 23,000 fans voted with Retherford winning the fan vote as well with 49 percent of the total with 11,260 votes. Penn State coach Cael Sanderson, himself

a three-time Hodge winner from 2000-2002, said his junior team leader is able to dominate because of the work he puts in and his attitude. “Zain has been driven and is extremely con-

sistent. I’ve never seen him have a poor effort or a ‘just-get-by’ effort. He’s always full speed and it doesn’t matter how he feels. He’s pretty special,” Sanderson said. Retherford’s approach to the sport reveals

more about how he dominates foes on the mat. “Dominating is a lot like anything in life, like

Retherford season,

dominated for a second-straight NCAA title at 149 pounds. The Benton, Pa. native has won 63 straight matches over the past two years to move his career record to 95-3. And much like his 2015-2016 run of domination, this year’s tally included only two matches in which the Nittany Lion did not score bonus points. 5HWKHUIRUG UHFHLYHG RI ÀUVW SODFH to

Hodge Trophy votes

win the award known as wrestling’s version of the Heisman Trophy. The Nitta- Q\ /LRQ MXQLRU ÀQLVKHG ZHOO ahead of two 2016 Olympic medalists — Missouri’s J’den Cox (197) and Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder (285) — and PSU’s Jason Nolf, whose domination at 157 pounds this season was stride


school or whatever you’re doing… you need to be giving your best and not holding back on any- thing,” he said. “You need to keep scoring and looking for the pin. But, giving your best is the most important part of it. If you can pin or tech the guy, then do it. If 2-1 is your best result, then it’s your best.” Only two opponents all winter kept Rether-


• A wrestler’s record • Number of pins • Dominance

• Quality of competition • Past credentials

• Sportsmanship/Citizenship • Heart

stride with Retherford’s stats. Snyder, a two-time NCAA champ, Olympic and World gold medalist, only wrestled a portion of the college season because he was wrestling overseas in Senior-level freestyle events. 7KH RIÀFLDO +RGJH &RPPLWWHH LV PDGH XS

(First four criteria are primary; the others used when stats are similar.)

ford from scoring bonus points. Iowa’s Brandon Sorensen took the Nittany Lion into the second set of tiebreakers in January before Retherford won 9-8. And one month later, in the Nation- DO 'XDOV ÀQDO 5HWKHUIRUG GHIHDWHG 2NODKR- ma State’s Anthony Collica, 2-1. Otherwise, he pinned 17 of 28 opponents for a .610 pinning percentage while also get- ting

seven technical falls

and one major decision. At the NCAA Cham-

pionships, Retherford was a scoring machine. He had WHFK IDOOV LQ KLV ÀUVW WKUHH matches, pinned Sorensen in the semis, then teched Missouri’s No. 3-seed Lavi- RQ 0D\HV


For this NCAA tourney run he was also named Out- standing Wrestler tournament.


of every past Hodge winner, members of the national wrestling media, a retired college coach


J’den Cox, Missouri Jason Nolf, Penn St.

State’s three-time champ Alex Dieringer in the 2016 Hodge race. Now winning the Hodge as a junior with a year left, he’ll start next season as the favorite to repeat as the 2018 Hodge winner. However, both Snyder and Nolf will be back next season as well. Growing up on a small Pennsylvania

: / 3LQV 7) 0' 3LQ 28-0 6 6 7 21% 27-0 14 8 3 52%

• Zain Retherford, Penn St. 28-0 17 7 1 63% Kyle Snyder, Ohio State 17-0 4 5 4 24% • Retherford’s record includes one forfeit

farm, Retherford said his perspective on life and wrestling goes back to his parents Sarah and Allen and what he learned through long days of physical labor working as a family on that farm. “Growing up on a farm, I learned to be grateful for everything I’ve been

Zain Retherford appeared on the cover of WIN Magazine in April.

given. My whole family worked really hard so I learned there was more to life than just wrestling and I needed to be grateful for every opportu- nity,” Retherford said. “So I looked at it like this year was the second opportunity I had to win a title. My mindset was to be grateful for the ex- perience, that it was another chance I had rather than something I had to defend.” Sanderson said most people don’t understand

Zain’s perspective, that “getting to” wrestle is a key part in how he continues to improve. “Gratitude is a big part of it. He looks at it

as a blessing to be able to go and wrestle. That keeps it fresh,” Sanderson said of his junior team leader.

(For more information on the Hodge, including fea- tures on past winners, go to Q



2017 Zain Retherford 2016 Alex Dieringer 2015 Logan Stieber 2014 David Taylor 2013 Kyle Dake 2012 David Taylor

2011 Jordan Burroughs 2010 Jayson Ness 2009 Jake Herbert 2008 Brent Metcalf 2007 Ben Askren 2006 Ben Askren 2005 Steve Mocco

2002 Cael Sanderson 2001 * Cael Sanderson

Penn State

Oklahoma State Ohio State Penn State Cornell

Penn State Nebraska Minnesota

Northwestern Iowa

Missouri Missouri

Oklahoma State

2004 Emmett Willson Mont. St.-Northern 2003 Eric Larkin

2001 * Nick Ackerman Simpson College 2000 Cael Sanderson 6WHSKHQ 1HDO

1998 Mark Ironside 1997 Kerry McCoy 1996 Les Gutches 1995 T.J. Jaworsky • — co-winners

Arizona State Iowa State Iowa State

Iowa State

&68 %DNHUV¿HOG Iowa

Penn State

Oregon State North Carolina


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