There have been some crazy matches that have went down this season. Multiple National Champions going down and essentially eliminating them from the Hodge Trophy race. What does the Hodge race look like right now and who is the favorite.
#1 Wrestlers Pre-Season:
125- Spencer Lee
133- Roman Bravo-Young
141- Cole Matthews
149- Yianni Diakomihalis
157- Quincy Monday
165- Keegan O’Toole
174- Carter Starocci
184- Aaron Brooks
197- Max Dean
285- Cohlton Schultz
#1 Wrestlers Who Have Lost:
This was against Andrew Alirez at the All Star Classic. Even though it was considered an exhibition match and does not count towards the record Matthews is a guy where if you had to pick the most likely not to retain the ranking it would be him. Should he somehow go crazy for the rest of the season dominating everyone and win a national title then he is maybe still in the talk.
The most shocking for most people as Austin Gomez dominated the 3x National Champion Diakomihalis 9-3 in their dual meet match. Yianni has since then defeated Paniro Johnson who was Gomez’ sole loss on the season so their is a circle at the top of 149 essentially.
This one does not really count being that it was an exhibition at the All Star Classic and it was up a weight class. Maybe looked at like a match that was done for views as it would be a “battle of legacies”
After his performance at the All Star Classic nobody thought Brooks would be touched this season. Last night that all changed when Marcus Coleman caught a big move for 6 points and Brooks would fall 9-7.
197 is in shambles, looking at this weight it was doubtful that anyone would go undefeated. There are a couple wrestlers still holding that to their name but not anyone in the Hodge conversation to be brutally honest. Dean dropped a controversial match to Ethan Laird of Rider and former teammate Michael Beard of Lehigh.
Since then Beard did pick up a win over #2 Yonger Bastida of Iowa State which makes this weight more interesting with all of these guys trading rankings.
Schultz losing was not the shocking part being a majority of people had Kerkvliet being the champ here. The way in which he lost was shocking as AJ Nevills of South Dakota State seemed to just shut him down entirely at the CKLV. Schultz did not drop in the rankings that much being that the loss didn’t carry a lot of weight do to Nevills’ criteria.
Obviously Spencer Lee is here but he did not look great in his first match against Iowa State’s back up. In all fairness that was the first match and he should only be getting into better shape and recovering more as the season goes on.
RBY is the front runner right now in my opinion based on his ability to put up bonus points and not really be contested in any position. He has not faced Vito Arujau or Daton Fix yet who are the two guys that are looking to knock him off this year but should he take care of that the Hodge might be his.
Winning his first title last season he has just been a staple in the college wrestling scene. Mizzou of course does not get as much coverage as the Big Ten so people don’t really see how good he is. Should he get through Shane Griffith and David Carr getting the Hodge is very possible.
Starocci is good and pretty much dominated every match that he is in shutting down his opponents offense. He has not been contested too much in any match this year except by Mekhi Lewis in the All Star Classic where it looked like Lewis was beaten in every position.
There are a few guys who if they come out on top of their weight class they could possibly win the Hodge. They are just not ranked #1 right now or they are in a stacked weight and don’t have the accolades just yet.
Just a shot in the dark here but if Glory somehow pulls this off who knows what happens. He has had a few close matches but he also looks to be levels above pretty much everyone at this weight when he wrestles good.
Vito is a very interesting one as he is ranked 3rd in this weight. He has the ability and everyone in the country knows that, but he will need to beat Daton Fix and Roman Bravo-Young to win the title and then possibly.
After losing 3 times in the national finals a lot of people look like they have given up hope in Daton Fix. He is still a top guy and he has been for years, maybe if he can put it together and stop RBY’s 3 peat he could win.
2021 National Champion and was very close to winning the title this past year dropping a 1 point match to O’Toole. He was tested recently going into tiebreakers against an opponent who was not that high ranked so it’s a wild card.
He has been in some close matches already this season so winning a title up at 165 might be a long shot but he has proven he can win in the past and if he does there is a good shot.
Kerkvliet has seemed to be the only consistent #1 that has not been at the top for the entire season. He has bonused every opponent except Cassioppi who he beat pretty handedly at the All Star Classic. Now in all honesty in order to make this possible he might need to put a major on Parris and Cassioppi like Gable did to make this happen.
This season is crazy enough and if somehow everyone else loses here is a list of guys that could possibly win their weight classes.
125- Patrick McKee
133- Michael McGee
141- Andrew Alirez / Real Woods
157- Quincy Monday / Peyton Robb
174- Mikey Labriola
197- Rocky Elam
285- Mason Parris
Who Wins The Hodge:
It is only December, however should all go the way I think it will it’s between Spencer Lee and Roman Bravo-Young. O’Toole is very good and so is Carter Starocci but neither of them show the bonus rate that these two have.
It most likely won’t happen but Iowa vs Penn State dual meet this could all be settled..
A guy like Kerkvliet who has been cruising is a legitimate threat with no prior national titles. He has not been touched so far this season and showed a decent gap between #3 Cassioppi.
RBY vs Lee will most likely be what it comes down to being that Lee is going for 4 and RBY for 3. Both of these guys have high scoring exciting styles which will inevitably play to their voting.
Starocci, O’Toole, Carr, Griffith, Vito, Fix. If one of these guys comes out on top of their weight class while not dropping a match they are definitely very close to winning it. Starocci and O’Toole the two most likely to do that.
Brooks, Yianni, and Dean out of the Hodge race this early in the season is insane. It’s is only December and all three of these guys may come back to win their weight classes but that does not undo the loss and their run at the Hodge is pretty much done.