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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

Knott Arena – Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers

Photos by Gregory Koch and Richard Smith, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

Knott Arena 16300 Old Emmitsburg Rd Emmitsburg, MD 21727

Year Opened: 1987

Capacity: 3,121


Basketball on the Mount

Located in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in the Catoctin Mountains, Mount St. Mary's University is the second-oldest Catholic college in the United States. The school's athletic teams, known as the Mountaineers or simply The Mount, compete at the PNC Sports Complex across Route 15 from the main campus. In addition to fields for the baseball, softball, lacrosse, and soccer teams, the Complex is home to Knott Arena, where The Mount's basketball team plays.

The Mountaineers currently compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) but previously competed in the Northeast Conference for many years. They won the NEC Tournament six times, most recently in 2021. Before joining Division I, they had five Final Four appearances at the Division II level, including a national championship in 1962.

Food & Beverage 3

There is one concession stand operating out of a window in the lobby by the entrance, and another, smaller one on the other side. Menu items include pizza rolls (more similar to sandwiches than the tiny microwavable pockets of the same name that you can buy at supermarkets), hot dogs, nachos, hot pretzels, and a wide variety of baked goods including fresh-baked cookies and homemade Rice Krispie treats. Bottled water and Pepsi products are also available. Prices are reasonable as nothing costs more than $6 and most of the items are much less. Beer is also available at a separate table for those of age.

Atmosphere 4

One of the more unique characteristics of Knott Arena is the roof. A low, sloping roof hangs over the seating area, trapping in noise, while the roof over the court is significantly higher. Glass windows line one baseline, letting in some light from the outside. Most of the seats are wooden bleachers, although there are some reserved padded chairbacks on one side.

A pep band and the Mount St. Mary's students sit in the bleachers behind one baseline, and the mascot, a costumed mountaineer, tends to hang out there as well. When they are not on the court performing, the Mount cheerleaders will usually be found in this area as well.

However, before the opening tip, the cheerleaders will stand in the aisles in the seating area and bang their pom poms together until the game is underway. While this is an interesting tradition, it can obstruct the views of fans if they are sitting too close to the aisles. Fortunately, once the game gets underway, they move away quickly.

There are promos on the court during some of the media timeouts and at halftime, to keep fans engaged. During other breaks, the cheerleaders will perform on the court and the pep band will play music. The pep band is small but passionate and features instruments not often seen, including an electric guitar.

Neighborhood 2

Emmitsburg is a small town in Maryland just south of the Pennsylvania border, and there is nothing within walking distance of campus. If you make the short drive into town, you will find a few places to eat and stay, as well as some interesting sites such as the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial and various Catholic shrines. Thurmont is a short drive away, about 10 minutes south on Route 15, and offers more options than Emmitsburg itself. However, this is a very rural area, and while it’s scenic, there isn’t a whole lot to do here.

Fans 4

Mount St. Mary's draws reasonably well to their home games, and the stands are mostly full even if they don't completely sell out. As mentioned above, the shape of the roof traps the sound from the crowd and so it can get extremely loud here at times. The crowd goes wild after big plays, made baskets, and the like, and the Mount erupts into mayhem. The cheerleaders, dance team, and pep band also launch into cheers during games and help get the rest of the crowd into it. While Knott Arena may not be the largest arena in college basketball, it certainly is not quiet.

Access 3

The PNC Sports Complex, including Knott Arena, is located right off US Route 15, and signs are directing you to gameday parking once you get there. Some lots are paved while others are gravel. From there, you will walk to the upper doors of Knott Arena to enter the lobby. The wooden bleachers can get uncomfortable, and the drop between rows is unusually large. While this does improve sightlines, it also makes getting up and down the bleachers rather tricky.

Restrooms are available in the lobby and are of sufficient size for the crowd. There may be a short line at halftime or after the game, but otherwise, you should have no problem.

Return on Investment 3

Reserved chairbacks at Knott Arena cost $20, while the wooden bleachers, which are general admission, cost $12. Youth (age 5-17) get in for $5. Discounts are sometimes available, such as a Family Four Pack to select home games, which includes four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas, and four candy bars for just $49. The opportunity for discounts offers enhanced value, but if paying full price for tickets, it's about what you would expect for this level.

Extras 3

The unique shape of the roof in Knott Arena helps trap sound and almost makes the building feel like a literal cathedral of basketball.

Look for the banners on the walls honoring Mount St. Mary's basketball history, including the 1962 Division II championship.

Programs are available at the entrance for $1.

Final Thoughts

Basketball on The Mount is well worth checking out for any fan in the area. Although it's pretty far removed from the other Division I schools in Maryland, it is still worth making the trek out to Emmitsburg for a game at Knott Arena.


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