Penn State junior wrestler Zain Retherford has been named the 2017 winner of the Hodge Trophy, presented to the nation's top collegiate wrestler. It is widely considered collegiate wrestling's top individual honor.
Retherford's outstanding season was capped with an NCAA national championship and a 29-0 record with 17 pins, seven technical falls and a major decision. He went 5-0 in the NCAA Tournament this year with a pin and four technical falls. The title was his second NCAA Championship. He was also named the 2017 Outstanding Wrestler of the NCAA Championship Tournament and the NCAA's Most Dominant Wrestler for this past season. Retherford came in second for the Hodge Trophy in 2016.
Retherford was not only dominant on the mat, but also with the Hodge Trophy fan voting, ending up with 49 percent of the fan vote (11,260) and 33 of 45 first-place Hodge Trophy committee votes to win the award known as wrestling’s version of the Heisman Trophy.
Retherford, Penn State’s 26th three-time All-American, is now tied for 17th on Penn State’s all-time NCAA wins list with 14 and heads into next year having won 63 straight bouts. He was instrumental in Penn State winning its sixth NCAA team national title in seven years.
He is the third Nittany Lion to win the Hodge Trophy with Kerry McCoy winning in 1997 and David Taylor (a two-time winner) in 2012 and 2014. Penn State's head coach Cael Sanderson is the only three-time winner of the honor.