Joey McKenna (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Regional Training Center is excited to announce that Joey McKenna (Towaco, N.J.) will be pursuing his post-collegiate wrestling career as a resident athlete with the PRTC. McKenna is a graduate of Ohio State University, where he majored in Business Administration with a specialization in Operations Management, and was a three-time All-American and three-time academic All American.
McKenna started college at Stanford University and placed third at the NCAA Championships as a freshman in 2016. Following his sophomore season, he transferred to Ohio State where he would earn All-American honors twice more, placing third in 2018 and finishing as a runner-up in 2019.
Additionally, he is a two-time Pac-12 champion and a two-time Big 10 champion.
McKenna brings a wealth of international experience to the PRTC. He is a four-time age group World Team member. In 2018 McKenna was a member of the Senior National Team and the No. 2 wrestler in the country at 65 kg. He was also the 2018 U.S. Open champion. He is a 2014 Junior World silver medalist and a 2017 U23 World bronze medalist.
McKenna is a product of the prestigious Blair Academy where he was a three-time National Prep champion. He selected the PRTC to train because he believes it offers him the best opportunity to achieve his goals in life and in wrestling.
"I believe the Pennsylvania RTC has exactly what I am looking for in a place to continue to pursue my wrestling and life goals at the highest level. It encompasses all of the components that I feel are necessary to grow: coaching, mentorship, training, fellowship and educational and leadership opportunities." McKenna said.
Another draw for McKenna was the opportunity to be coached by 2000 Olympic gold medalist Brandon Slay and work with a stable of PRTC athletes.
"I had the opportunity to work with Coach Slay for the Junior World Championships in both 2014 and 2015 when he was coaching with USA Wrestling. He helped me bring home a Junior World silver medal alongside longtime coach Jeff Buxton, and I am excited to work with him again. I have senior level training partners like fellow PRTC athletes, Dan Vallimont, Ethan Lizak and Brent Fleetwood, and wrestlers from the rapidly rising programs at Penn and Drexel." He said.
Slay is also looking forward to having Joey at the PRTC and is excited about what he will bring to the program.
"Joey is an ambitious leader who exemplifies character in all he does. At the PRTC, our mission is to enrich lives locally and globally through the sport of wrestling. Joey will be a fantastic fit for our team culture, and I believe he will have a long lasting impact on this community for many years to come." Slay said.
The unique infrastructure supporting the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center and the surrounding Philadelphia wrestling community was another factor in McKenna's decision, as well as the hotbed of wrestling in the region.
"The excitement surrounding our sport in Philadelphia is tremendous. The inclusive involvement in Philadelphia's wrestling ecosystem allows me to serve Beat the Streets Philadelphia and give back to this amazing sport. Moreover, the PRTC provides an incredible network to become involved in phenomenal leadership and world class educational opportunities within the University of Pennsylvania. To me, there is so much to look forward to. I am excited for this incredible opportunity to pave a new path as a PRTC athlete!" McKenna said.