Gophers wrestler Gable Steveson has added yet another accolade ahead of the Olympic trials this week.
On Monday, Steveson was named co-winner of the 2021 Hodge Trophy, given to the nation's best college wrestler. He won the award alongside Iowa's Spencer Lee, the 2020 winner. They make history as the second co-winners of the award in its 27 years.
"Someone tell Spencer Lee to wrestle me!" Steveson tweeted. "Winner takes home both Hodge trophies!! Haha, I'm playing don't pin me in a tilt!"
Steveson has two remaining years of college eligibility, but his future with the Gophers wrestling team remains somewhat uncertain. Coach Brandon Eggum said Monday that Steveson has "full intentions" of returning to the team next season, but Steveson messaged the Star Tribune that he is "in discussions … taking it one step at a time and will come to a decision. Focused on Olympic run first."
Steveson, who won the NCAA heavyweight championship on March 20 in St. Louis, is a first-time Olympic hopeful. He received the No. 2 seed in heavyweight for men's freestyle in the Olympic trials, per USA Wrestling's release. Two-time world bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski received the No. 1 seed. And the two have a history: Steveson edged Gwiazdowski 4-1 in the RTC Cup.
The Olympic trials are set for Friday and Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas.
Steveson tweeted that it's his great honor to win the Hodge Trophy alongside Lee, whom he called the "epitome of greatness." Lee also congratulated Steveson on Twitter and said it's an honor to be co-winners.
"It was a bit of a surprise when I got the news because Spencer Lee is such a great wrestler," Steveson said in the news release. "But winning the Hodge Trophy is something I thought about all year."
Steveson, who won four state championships for Apple Valley, has a 34-match winning streak since he lost in the semifinals as a freshman at the 2019 NCAA championships. He went undefeated last season before the pandemic canceled the NCAA tournament and went 17-0 this year. He defeated Michigan's Mason Parris 8-4 for the heavyweight title.
"Winning the NCAA was first but then I wanted to win the Hodge, too," said Steveson, a three-time college All-America. "It was a childhood dream and now it's crazy to see that it's happened."
Steveson is only the fourth heavyweight to ever win the award. He's also the second Gophers wrestler to win the Hodge Trophy after four-time All-America Jayson Ness (2010).
"Gable is special,' Eggum said in a statement. "He's very hard to wrestle because he is always on offense, always ready to change levels and has a variety of moves from the feet. He does all the little things right in his training, with his nutrition and weight training and things like that."