E.A. Sports Today

Knop run hits 100

Alexandria sophomore becomes second county wrestler in two weeks to run his winning streak to century mark, but Weaver downs Valley Cubs

Alexandria’s Christian Knop waits for the referee to officially call his pin of Kyle Clapper Thursday night for his 100th consecutive victory. On the cover, Knop acts like a cornerman fanning teammate Fletcher Swindall after his exhibition match with Nick Souder.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Christian Knop was having one of those mixed emotion days.

On the outside he was down because his Alexandria wrestling team lost a tough match to county rival Weaver, but on the inside he was pretty stoked having reached a pretty significant personal milestone.

Knop’s Valley Cubs lost 42-33 Thursday to a team they just haven’t been able to solve since founding their program four years ago, but during the match Knop ran his individual winning streak to 100.

“A hundred straight wins, I’ve certainly worked my butt off to get here,” he said. “I knew this streak was coming soon, I’ve been counting matches, counting days. I’ve been kind of scheduling it to see when I’d do it and what my reaction would be.

“I’m not very excited on the outside, but definitely on the inside I’m ecstatic. It’s unbelievable, 100 straight wins. Certainly as a seventh-grader I wouldn’t have imagined myself being a state champ and having 100 straight wins going into the next season, and I wouldn’t imagine myself my sophomore year just completely pinning everybody.”

Knop became the second Calhoun County wrestler in two weeks to run his streak to the century mark. Weaver’s Nick Souder did it two weeks ago.

Knop was 56-0 in his state championship season a year ago and is 44-0 this year. His last high school loss came in the consolation finals of the 2015 state championship tournament — as an eighth-grader.

“You know, I didn’t think about it until the other night,” Alexandria coach Frank Hartzog said. “I knew he was undefeated. You did the story on Souder and I thought, hey, Christian should be close. I didn’t see him losing any time soon. It’s kind of, oh, cool, we’ve got one of those.

“I thought how neat is that we have somebody who’s been able to accomplish that when we’ve only been a program for four years. It’s just neat and cool, at least something to make you smile when you’ve maybe not had the best night.”

Knop reached the milestone with a second-period pin of Kyle Clapper at 182. It was his 36th pin in 37 matches on the mat; Weaver’s Caleb Russell is the only wrestler to take him the distance this season, and that was 17-0. He has 71 pins in the 90 matches he has won the mat during the streak (the other 10 wins came by forfeit). He is 186-32 as a varsity wrestler.

His pin Thursday tied the match at 33 before the Bearcats won the final two bouts to win the day.

To keep the streak alive he had to beat another undefeated wrestlers in last year’s state championship match. There were a few tough matches last season he needed to dig deep to win, and, of course, he’s had some good fortune in his match-ups.

“He’s a wizard on the mat,” Weaver coach Andy Fulmer said. “He gets it done and he loves the sport, and when you love the sport and continue to work, you’re going to have favorable results. He’s tough, that’s all there is to it.”

Now that Knop has cleared this hurdle, he already has a new number in mind.

“The next number I want is 200; I just want to keep the streak alive,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s all about staying undefeated and staying humble and just going out there working my butt off like I do every single day at practice.”

The match also was Alexandria’s Senior Day. The Valley Cubs recognized lone senior Gannon Womack before the match, and he went on to pin Taylor Ward at 147 right before the end of the second period to tie the match at 21.

Weaver 42, Alexandria 33
108 – Jaden New (A) def. Cody Souder, 3-1 (W 12-A 9)
115 – Caleb Mathews (A) pinned Dylan DeLoach, 1:43 (12-15)
122 – Ian Markham (W) pinned Nolan Jones, 4:42 (18-15)
128 – Fletcher Swindall (A) won by forfeit
134 – Christian Pettus (W) dec. Dakota Medders, 12-10 (21-15)
140 – Nick Souder (W) won by forfeit
147 – Gannon Womack (A) pinned Taylor Ward, 3:59 (21-21)
154 – Aaron Whittaker (A) pinned Drake Monroe, 4:54 (21-27)
162 – Billy Whitson (W) pinned Connor Hall, 0:28 (27-27)
172 – Stefan Kirby (W) pinned Randall Purdy, 0:51 (33-27)
182 – Christian Knop (A) pinned Kyle Clapper, 2:29 (33-33)
197 – Caleb Russell (W) pinned Dalton Sexton, 1:50 (39-33)
222 – Caleb Allison (W) won by forfeit (12-6)
285 – Connor Uesry (W) def. Skylar Payne, 3-0 (42-33)

Gannon Womack, Alexandria’s only senior, works to turn over Weaver’s Taylor Ward on the way to a Senior Day pin.

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