IOWA CITY — Iowa’s Spencer Lee dominated competition this season.
The junior 125-pounder won everything he could and has a chance for one more triumph.
Lee was named a finalist Friday for the WIN Magazine Hodge Trophy, which is awarded to college wrestling’s most dominant wrestler. Fan voting begins Monday and ends on March 27. The honor will be announced March 30.
The Hodge Trophy was first awarded in 1995. Lee could be the first Hawkeye to win it since Brent Metcalf in 2008.
The two-time NCAA champion added to his already impressive wrestling resume. He was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, winning his first conference title. He posted an 18-0 record with 17 bonus-point victories. Lee finished with four first-period falls, nine technical falls and four major decisions, outscoring his opponents by a total of 234-18. Only five matches lasted the entire seven minutes of regulation.
Before the Big Ten tournament, Lee was asked by reporters what was the biggest takeaway from the regular season.
“Scoring points,” Lee said. “Don’t stop. No matter what. Even if the other guy doesn’t want to score points, keep scoring points.
“You’ve got to have a game plan and be ready to go. I don’t really game plan for anybody. I don’t care. I just go out and wrestle.”
Lee went 5-0 in January, outscoring foes, 84-1.
“That’s staggering,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said after Lee’s 18-0 first-period technical fall over Ohio State’s Hunter Lucas at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
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Record, pins, dominance, past credentials, quality of competition, sportsmanship/citizenship and heart are the criteria. Results of the fan vote and the Hodge Trophy Voting Committee will determine the winner.
The other finalists include West Virginia’s 197-pounder Noah Adams, Northwestern’s Ryan Deakin (157), Princeton’s Pat Glory (125), Stanford’s 165-pounder Shane Griffith, Ohio State’s Kollin Moore (197), Minnesota heavyweight Gable Steveson and Cornell University’s Charles Tucker at 133.
Some previous Hodge winners include Iowa’s Mark Ironside in 1998, three-time winner Cael Sanderson, of Iowa State, and Simpson’s Nick Ackerman. Sanderson and Ackerman shared the honor in 2001.