The measuring stick just changed around college wrestling: Gable Steveson is coming back.
The two-time NCAA heavyweight champion and Hodge Trophy winner confirmed with FloWrestling Monday that he plans to be back on the mat for Minnesota this winter after a year away from college wrestling.
Get excited NCAA wrestling fans; we likely haven't seen the last of Gable Steveson on a college mat!https://t.co/kITIoNQEqZ
— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) June 19, 2023
To do this, FloWrestling wrote, Steveson will have to work out his scheduling with the WWE, where he signed before his hiatus from Minnesota.
Steveson was away from NCAA Wrestling this season, which opened the door for Michigan’s Mason Parris to win the NCAA heavyweight championship and Hodge Trophy. Parris’ title win came against Penn State’s Greg Kerkvliet, who now seemingly has a much more difficult path to what would be his first national title. Kerkvliet would also have to go through Steveson to win the Big Ten, which he hasn’t done yet.
Steveson has one year of eligibility left because of COVID-19 and plans on using it.
Named after the great Dan Gable, Steveson is one of five wrestlers to win multiple Hodge Trophy.
All four of the other winners have ties to the Big Ten, and three have ties to Penn State. PSU coach Cael Sanderson is the only wrestler to win the award three times. Two of Sanderson’s Penn State pupil, Zain Retherford and David Taylor, won it twice, as is Iowa’s Spencer Lee, who wrestled his last match at the NCAA Championships this past March.
Through four seasons, Steveson is 85-2. He’s never lost in 48 dual-meet matches. Both of his losses came against Penn State’s Anthony Cassar.
The first one took place in the 2019 Big Ten Championship match. The second in the NCAA Semifinals. Cassar ended up winning the whole thing.
But Steveson’s success isn’t limited to college wrestling.
He won a Gold Medal at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo at 125-kilograms.
Steveson returned to amateur wrestling this spring. He competed at both the U.S. Open Championships and the Final X, coming out with victories in both.
Penn State’s wrestling schedule likely won’t be out until the fall, so we won’t know for a while whether Penn State will be taking on Minnesota in a dual meet this season. The teams haven’t met since the 2019-20 season. Regardless, if Steveson ends up wrestling, he’ll likely see Kerkvliet in either the Big Ten or National Championships, if not both.