Snyder Does It Again, Named Best In B1G

By Jeff Rapp, June 28th, 2018

Kyle Snyder’s amazing amateur wrestling career is now complete but first the Ohio State superstar was able to rake in one more prestigious award.

On Thursday, the Big Ten Conference announced that Snyder as the repeat winner of the Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year award. He becomes the first two-time male recipient in conference history.

Highly accomplished Indiana University swimmer Lilly King also won for the second straight year, standing alongside Snyder as the B1G Female Athlete of the Year for both 2017 and 2018.

Snyder’s recognition was the third for and Ohio State wrestler in the last four years. Former Buckeye teammate Logan Stieber won the award in 2015.

Ohio State owns nine total Big Ten Athlete of the Year awards (six male, three female) since the honor’s origination (1982 for men, ’83 for women), ranking second all-time. Michigan leads the way with 10 recognitions despite the most recent coming in 2006. Meanwhile, OSU athletes have won it six times in the last dozen years.

The Big Ten Athletes of the Year are selected by a panel of conference media members from nominations submitted by each institution. All 14 member schools produced a male and female athlete of the year for consideration of the conference awards. OSU’s female winner was basketball standout Kelsey Mitchell, who now toils for the Indiana Fever in the WNBA.

Mitchell, Snyder and King were among a field of nominees that included 10 national champions, 26 All-Americans, 16 individual Big Ten champions, 16 individuals who won Big Ten Player of the Year honors and five who collected a National Player of the Year accolade.

A fierce competitor and nearly unbeatable heavyweight, Snyder is widely-considered one of the most accomplished collegiate wrestlers of all-time. He is the only American to ever finish college as a three-time NCAA champion (including 2018), Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion.

He lifted the Buckeyes to Big Ten titles in three of his four seasons and joined Stieber in leading the Buckeyes to the 2015 NCAA title while delighting the home crowd at St. John Arena.

During his senior campaign, Snyder posted a 17-1 mark that included seven of his wins coming over nationally-ranked opponents. He garnered four top-five triumphs, capped by a defeat of second-ranked Adam Coon of Michigan in the NCAA finals bout.

Snyder also won the 2018 AAU Sullivan Award, which is presented to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. He became just the fourth wrestler to seize the prestigious honor, joining fellow Olympic gold medalists John Smith (1990), Bruce Baumgartner (1995) and Rulon Gardner (2000).

The Woodmine, Md., native concluded his collegiate career with an overall record of 75-5 and a lone loss in the last three seasons combined – which came at the hands of Coon. Snyder also leaves Ohio State as a four-time Academic All-Big Ten performer.

A two-time Olympic gold medalist, King became the first IU female athlete to claim Big Athlete of the Year honors in 2017 and she repeated the feat this year after her junior season. She won the NCAA Championship in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke for the third year in row, collecting a total of four All-America accolades in 2018. King also captured the Big Ten Championship in the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard medley relay.

The complete list of all-time winners for each award can be found below:

1982 – Jim Spivey, Indiana, track and field/cross country
1983 – Ed Banach, Iowa, wrestling
1984 – Sunder Nix, Indiana, track and field
1985 – Barry Davis, Iowa, wrestling
1986 – Chuck Long, Iowa, football
1987 – Steve Alford, Indiana, basketball
1988 – Jim Abbott, Michigan, baseball
1989 – Glen Rice, Michigan, basketball
1990 – Anthony Thompson, Indiana, football
1991 – Mike Barrowman, Michigan, swimming
1992 – Desmond Howard, Michigan, football
1993 – John Roethlisberger, Minnesota, gymnastics
1994 – Glenn Robinson, Purdue, basketball
1995 – Tom Dolan, Michigan, swimming
1996 – Eddie George, Ohio State, football
1997 – Blaine Wilson, Ohio State, gymnastics
1998 – Charles Woodson, Michigan, football
1999 – Luke Donald, Northwestern, golf
2000 – Ron Dayne, Wisconsin, football
2001 – Ryan Miller, Michigan State, ice hockey
2002 – Jordan Leopold, Minnesota, ice hockey
2003 – Amer Delic, Illinois, tennis (co)
2003 – Matt Lackey, Illinois, wrestling (co)
2004 – Damion Hahn, Minnesota, wrestling
2005 – Luis Vargas, Penn State, gymnastics
2006 – Peter Vanderkaay, Michigan, swimming
2007 – Cole Konrad, Minnesota, wrestling
2008 – Brent Metcalf, Iowa, wrestling
2009 – Jake Herbert, Northwestern, wrestling
2010 – Evan Turner, Ohio State, basketball
2011 – David Boudia, Purdue, diving
2012 – Draymond Green, Michigan State, basketball
2013 – Derek Drouin, Indiana, track and field
2014 – David Taylor, Penn State, wrestling
2015 – Logan Stieber, Ohio State, wrestling
2016 – Denzel Valentine, Michigan State, basketball
2017 – Kyle Snyder, Ohio State, wrestling
2018 – Kyle Snyder, Ohio State, wrestling

1983 – Judi Brown, Michigan State, track and field
1984 – Lisa Ishikawa, Northwestern, softball
1985 – Cathy Branta, Wisconsin, cross country/track
1986 – Stephanie Herbst, Wisconsin, cross country/track
1987 – Jennifer Averill, Northwestern, field hockey/lacrosse
1988 – Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, track and field/cross country
1989 – Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, track and field/cross country
1990 – Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, track and field/cross country
1991 – Julie Farrell-Ovenhouse, Michigan State, diving (co)
1991 – Joy Holmes, Purdue, basketball (co)
1992 – MaChelle Joseph, Purdue, basketball
1993 – Lara Hooiveld, Michigan, swimming
1994 – Kristy Gleason, Iowa, field hockey
1995 – Laura Davis, Ohio State, volleyball
1996 – Olga Kalinovskaya, Penn State, fencing
1997 – Kathy Butler, Wisconsin, track and field (co)
1997 – Gretchen Hegener, Minnesota, swimming (co)
1998 – Sara Griffin, Michigan, softball
1999 – Stephanie White-McCarty, Purdue, basketball
2000 – Lauren Cacciamani, Penn State, volleyball
2001 – Katie Douglas, Purdue, basketball
2002 – Christie Welsh, Penn State, soccer
2003 – Perdita Felicien, Illinois, track and field
2004 – Kelly Mazzante, Penn State, basketball
2005 – Jennie Ritter, Michigan, softball
2006 – Tiffany Weimer, Penn State, soccer
2007 – Jessica Davenport, Ohio State, basketball
2008 – Hannah Nielsen, Northwestern, lacrosse
2009 – Maria Hernandez, Purdue, golf
2010 – Megan Hodge, Penn State, volleyball
2011 – Shannon Smith, Northwestern, lacrosse
2012 – Christina Manning, Ohio State, track and field
2013 – Amanda Kessel, Minnesota, ice hockey
2014 – Dani Bunch, Purdue, track and field
2015 – Taylor Cummings, Maryland, lacrosse
2016 – Rachel Banham, Minnesota, basketball
2017 – Lilly King, Indiana, swimming
2018 – Lilly King, Indiana, swimming