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Penn State Wrestling

Penn State Wrestling Legend Aaron Brooks Wins Hodge Trophy

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Aaron Brooks

Penn State wrestling legend Aaron Brooks’ career is now wrapped in a bow.

Less than two weeks after becoming the seventh wrestler in history to win four national titles— teammate Carter Starocci proceeded him two bouts prior— Brooks is now the 2024 Hodge Trophy winner which is wrestling’s Heisman.

On a team full of stars— four national champions, six national finalists, eight All-Americans— Brooks was the biggest of all.

He ended his fifth and final season 22-0. Brooks had six pins, 11 tech falls and just under 91 percent of the wins coming with bonus points. Brooks went 9-0 against top 16 competition. Seven of those were bonus-point wins.

Coming into the voting— in which four of the five finalists were Penn State wrestling stars— it seemed that either Brooks or Northern Iowa’s 184-pound national champion Parker Keckeisen. Keckeisen— who Brooks is 3-0 against, competing at 184 for all but the last season of his college career— went 29-0 with 90.3% of his wins being of the bonus point variety. But Brooks’ past success against Keckeisen and his four national titles to Keckeisen’s one, as well as Brooks’ success this season, were all likely factors in Brooks winning.

The margin wasn’t close, either.

Brooks picked up 48 of the 59 first-place votes.

Of the remaining 11, Keckeisen got eight. Starocci got two and heavyweight champion Greg Kerkvliet— another Penn Stater— got one.

Brooks is the first Penn State wrestler to win the Hodge since Bo Nickal accomplished that feat in 2019. Four other PSU wrestlers, Kerry McCoy (1997), David Taylor (2012, ‘14), Zein Retherford (2017, ‘18) have done it. Penn State coach Cael Sanderson is the only wrestler to win the award three times. Kyle Dake, now part of the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, won it in 2013.

Sanderson and Dake are also four-time national champions.


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