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Mark McKnight among large group of U.S. freestyle finalists at Dave Schultz Memorial International
Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
02/01/2013

Mark McKnight executes the winning turn in his semifinal win over Frank Perrelli. John Sachs photo.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Mark McKnight knows there is a wide-open battle for the No. 1 spot in the U.S. at 55 kg/121 lbs. this year.

And he plans to make a run at the top spot in freestyle wrestling.

McKnight took another step toward that goal by advancing to the finals of the Dave Schultz Memorial International on Friday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

McKnight knocked off returning champion Amit Kumar of India in the quarterfinals before edging past NCAA All-American Frank Perrelli in the semifinals.

McKnight, who trains with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club at Penn State University, will face Japan’s Mamoru Handa in the finals. The finals are set for approximately 5:30 p.m.

“That’s been a big part of my success, having the workout partners and the facilities we have at Penn State,” McKnight said. “On top of it all, is the coaching staff we have. I’m surrounded by guys who want to win. That challenges me to want to win and that’s why I’m able to have success like I’m having right now.”

The finals at 84 kg/185 lbs. and 96 kg/211.5 lbs. will feature Americans. Austin Trotman will face Jon Reader at 84 with Wynn Michalak matching up with Deron Winn at 96.

World University bronze medalist Colt Sponseller landed a spot in the finals at 74 kg/163 lbs. against Aliamaz Sanakoev of Russia.

American Adam Hall advanced to face Russia’s Magomed Kurbanaliev in the finals at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. Kurbanaliev beat two-time Schultz champion Haislan Garcia of Canada in the semis.

American Devin Carter will battle Bajrang Bajrang of India in the finals at 60 kg/132 lbs.

World bronze medalist and Olympian Tervel Dlagnev of the U.S. won his first match at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. before pulling out of the tournament with an illness.

Past NCAA champion Zach Rey landed a spot in the finals at 120 against Sunny Dhinsa of Canada.

The final day of competition for the three-day event is set for Saturday with women’s freestyle wrestling taking place. First whistle is scheduled for 9 a.m. in Colorado Springs.

FINALS MATCHUPS

55 kg/121 lbs.
Mark McKnight (Nittany Lion WC) vs. Mamoru Handa (Japan)

60 kg/132 lbs.
Devin Carter (Hokie Mat Club) vs. Bajrang Bajrang (India)

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Adam Hall (Titan Mercury WC) vs. Magomed Kurbanaliev (Russia)

74 kg/163 lbs.
Colt Sponseller (New York AC) vs. Aliamaz Sanakoev (Russia)

84 kg/185 lbs.
Austin Trotman (Titan Mercury WC) vs. Jon Reader (Sunkist Kids)

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Wynn Michalak (Titan Mercury WC) vs. Deron Winn (Cyclone Wrestling Club)

120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Zach Rey (Lehigh Valley AC) vs. Sunny Dhinsa (Canada)


 
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