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Penn State Wrestling’s Aaron Brooks Wins 2024 Hodge Trophy

Make some room in the trophy case, folks.

Penn State wrestler Aaron Brooks was named the 2024 Hodge Trophy winner after clinching a national championship against NC State’s Trent Hidlay and maintaining a 22-0 record.

The trophy is given to the top collegiate wrestler at the end of the season. The wrestler is judged on their “record, number of pins, dominance, past credentials, quality of competition, sportsmanship/citizenship, and heart,” according to the NCAA website. Brooks earned 48 of 59 total first-place votes. Additionally, teammates Carter Starocci earned two first-place votes and Greg Kerkvliet earned a vote.

Brooks tallied the highest portion of fan votes at 13,416 of 26,928 fan votes cast. Starocci claimed 1,868 votes.

Additionally, it was established in 1995 and was given its name in honor of Dan Hodge who was an NCAA champion, Olympian, and NWA champion.

“Winning the Hodge Trophy is a blessing,” Brooks said in a release. “It is like the Heisman Trophy in football, so to know the hard work and dedication I’ve put in is being rewarded with such a historic award is really cool.”

Brooks’ award is the seventh Hodge Trophy claimed by a Penn Stater. Others to take home the honor are Zain Retherford, David Taylor, Bo Nickal, and Kerry McCoy. Retherford and Taylor clinched the trophy twice during their time at Penn State.

Along with these historic program wins, head coach Cael Sanderson is the only collegiate wrestler to win the Hodge Trophy three times in his career. Within the last decade, Sanderson has coached a Hodge Trophy winner six times.

“I never heard Aaron talk about winning the Hodge, but one of his many strengths is his faith and knowing he is going to go out and give a tremendous effort and everything else will work itself out,” Sanderson said of Brook’s achievement. “…Winning and losing is a lower standard than performance. You could win and not wrestle your best. Performance is a permanent mentality. It is hard for kids because there can be so much pressure and emphasis on results. Aaron has a higher vision on why he competes.”

Overall, Brooks finished his Penn State career with an 89-3 record and is a five-time All-American and four-time NCAA champion.

The Hodge Trophy presentation will be held on Sunday, April 7, at the Penn State wrestling banquet in State College.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a senior staff writer majoring in English and public relations. She loves all things sports and anything that has peanut butter. You can usually find her obsessing over country music or Penn State wrestling and counting down the days until she gets to see Luke Combs in Beaver Stadium. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected].

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