Ruth and gold medalist Jake Varner heading to World's for the NLWC
11 Lions and 4 club members compete in Vegas
The highs and lows of any given collegiate wrestling season can be drastic and severe. For senior 125-pounder Mark McKnight, 2006-07 was a microcosm of all that can go right and all that can go wrong. After bolting out to a 16-1 record and a No. 2 national ranking, McKnight suffered through a rough patch as the dual meet season wound down. Still, not to be denied a trip to nationals, he turned a No. 7 seed at the Big Ten Championships into a sixth-place finish and his third trip to naitonals. Now, with a year of rugged Big Ten action under his belt, McKnight looks to cap his collegiate career with the All-America medal that has been within his grasp three times. A two-time finisher in the NCAA `round of 12' and an Academic All-Big Ten selection, McKnight will enter his senior campaign with an 88-34 career record.
2006-07: Earned third trip to nationals after placing sixth at Big Tens...McKnight made his Penn State debut with three wins, including a pin and two majors, in the Pennsylvania Duals on Nov. 19...downed No. 5 Franklin Gomez of Michigan State in the finals of the Nittany Lion open to claim the 2006 NLO crown, going 5-0 on the day...downed No. 8 David Tomasette of Hofstra 5-2 on Hofstra's home mat...dropped tough 9-8 dec. to No. 6 Obe Blanc of Lock Haven....beat No. 2 Troy Nickerson of Cornell 5-2 on Jan. 7, getting two takedowns to Nickerson's zero...opened up the Va. Duals with 7-3 win over No. 16 Eric Hoffman of North Dakota State....downed No. 10 Mike Sees of Bloomsburg 5-2 four hours later...went 4-0 at the Virginia Duals...went 3-3 at Big Tens to place sixth....went 2-2 during third trip to nationals...ranked as high as No. 2 nationally, ended season ranked No. 18 by the NWCA...ended year with 23-11 record.
2004-05: A sophomore at the University of Buffalo, McKnight qualified for his second NCAA Tournament and once again came within one victory of earning All-America honors...finished runner-up in the MAC Conference Tournament...led the Bison with a 31-15 record and 10-3 dual meet mark...placed in five tournaments on the year including taking the title at the NYS Collegiate Championships...finished second at the Beast of the East, second at the Oklahoma Gold Classic, fifth at Mat-Town, and eighth at the Las Vegas Invitational.
2003-04: Had arguably the finest freshman season in UB wrestling history...earned Freshman of the Year honors from the New York State Collegiate Wrestling Coaches Association and the MAC... went 34-8 overall and 14-2 in dual meets, including a flawless 4-0 in MAC meets... his 34 single-season wins rank sixth in UB history and his .810 win percentage is 16th...his 11 3-point Near Falls rank seventh in single season history and 39 takedowns rank 10th... won 125-pound weight class at MAC Championships to earn bid to NCAAs...named MAC Wrestler of the Week for the week of Nov. 17 after going 3-0 in dual meets... finished 3-2 at U.S. Wrestling National Championships, only one win from placing in the top eight...competed at U.S. Olympic Trials...earned a gold medal in freestyle 55-kilo (121 pounds) weight bracket at the Junior Pan-American Games in Maracabio City, Venezuela in July...also earned a bronze medal in Greco-Roman at the games.
High School/Personal: Posted a 35-1 mark during his senior season (2003) on the way to a Pennsylvania State Championship at 119 pounds...was a one-time captain and four-time letterwinner for coach Mike Johnson... Set school record with 133 career victories...a 2003 USA Dream Team selection and Dapper Dan participant...born on March 7, 1985... parents are Cheryl and Mike...nickname is Weasel... favorite book is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas... favorite TV Show is That 70s Show.