Not Satisfied Yet

Dec. 10, 2004

Two consecutive NCAA Championship appearances, a Big Ten title and 75 career wins entering his senior season would be considered by many to be a successful college career. Those are just a few of the accolades that Illinois senior wrestler Mark Jayne has on his resume entering this, his senior season. But, in his mind, he still has a long way to go to consider his college career a success.


"Looking back, I am not satisfied with where I'm at," explained Jayne. "I came up a little short these past years of what I want to accomplish. My goals have always been to win an NCAA Championship and bring home a team trophy and I haven't done either yet."


Despite these voids in Jayne's and the Fighting Illini's Trophy case, Jayne has experienced a great deal of success in his nearly five years in Champaign. After red shirting in 2000-01, the Elyria, Ohio native saw action at both the 133-poundand 141-pound weight classes the following year. Jayne was not only successful on the mat, earning his first varsity letter, but off it as well, being named to the 2001-02 Academic All-Big Ten squad. The education Jayne is receiving is a big reason why he picked Illinois in the first place.


"All around I thought it was the best fit for me, especially academically," added Jayne. "I liked the campus and I felt that the team was headed in the right direction. The coaches are also some of the best in the country and could help make me a national champion."


Jayne continued to make a push toward achieving his goals in his sophomore campaign. After placing fourth in the Big Ten at 133 pounds, he went on to qualify for the NCAA Championships, where he came within one match of reaching all-American status. Jayne also became one of the elite wrestlers in the country after reaching as high as eighth in the national polls. Reaching that level was a challenge for Jayne, but one he took on full-force.


"Wrestling at a high level can be like a full-time job at times," noted the senior. "With practice, extra practices, lifting, watching tape and making weight, it can be very time consuming. With all that going on, you still have to focus on school and do the best you can there."


Maintaining the proper weight can be a challenge for a wrestler, but Jayne has been disciplined and kept his body in check throughout his college career.


"I've been a 133-pounder throughout my collegiate career, except for a few weeks my freshman year when I moved up to 141-pounds," Jayne said. "I've maintained proper weight through extra workouts and cutting back on the calories I consume."


All the extra work that Jayne put in paid off big-time in 2003-04 when he claimed a Big Ten title and seventh place finish at the NCAA Championships. That season was also highlighted by a victory over two-time defending national champion Johnny Thompson of Oklahoma and All-America honors. Despite this success, Jayne still thirsts for more and is on his way to a stellar senior season after already claiming a win at the NWCA All-Star Duals in early December.