After 1st loss, Kittanning's Nolf is only looking ahead
TribLIVE Sports Videos
No longer able to become an undefeated four-time PIAA champion, Kittanning sophomore wrestler Jason Nolf aims to achieve what he considers the next best thing.
Asked whether that means finishing his career with three state titles and one loss, the standout answered, "Exactly."
A loss Friday in the PIAA Class AA semifinals at 113 pounds ended Nolf's career winning streak at 85 and eliminated his chances of earning a spot on the list of four-time champions, which now has 10 members. But it failed to break Nolf's faith in himself.
"I don't want to just be the best in the WPIAL," said Nolf (86-1), who declined interviews over the weekend but agreed to answer questions Wednesday. "I want to be the best in the state."
Trinity junior Ryan Diehl stood in Nolf's way. Diehl, who won two West Virginia state titles as a freshman and sophomore, knocked off Nolf, 6-4, and then claimed his first PIAA title with an 11-5 win Saturday.
Diehl said he considered Nolf the most difficult opponent of his high school career. But Nolf, who ultimately placed third, didn't want to hear such praise. Even yesterday, he declined to discuss that semifinal match.
His eyes are solely on the future.
"I want to learn from the loss and get better at what I didn't do well -- mostly on my feet," Nolf said.
Kittanning coach Brandon Newill has no plans of taking time off. Preparation for offseason tournaments awaits.
"We've got to keep training," Newill said. "We've got to get better on our feet. We've got to stay active. We've got to put more shots together. We've got to re-attack. We're just going to continue to get better. ... Hopefully next year, we'll be at the top of the podium, because that's our goal every time."
Nolf's aspirations for his final two high school seasons aren't unreasonable. Two WPIAL wrestlers lost just once in their careers. In time, both considered the setback a blessing in disguise.
"I'm kind of glad it happened, to be honest," said 2011 Franklin Regional graduate Nico Megaludis, who lost as a freshman in the PIAA Class AAA semifinals. "I think I would've been pretty nervous if I had to go into every big match knowing that if I lost, it'd be over."
Megaludis finished his high school career with a 170-1 record and three state titles. Now a freshman at Penn State, he is the No. 10 seed in the 125-pound weight class at the NCAA Championships, which begin today in St. Louis.
"It made me a better wrestler," Megaludis said of his lone high school loss. "At the time, of course, I was ticked off, and it kind of felt like the end of the world, but I had to start focusing on the matches I had coming up."
His advice to a wrestler in Nolf's position: "Just have fun. ... Everyone comes up to you and asks, 'What's your record?' But honestly, they can't tell much from that."
Ty Moore, a 1990 North Allegheny graduate who lost in the WPIAL final as a junior, echoed Megaludis' sentiments.
"My senior year, I don't think I would've had the same type of season," said Moore, who finished 146-1, won four PIAA titles and continued his career at North Carolina. "It was all about going out and having fun and just wrestling."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Founder of Z&M Cycle Sales in Hempfield killed in Florida motorcycle crash
- State Supreme Court: Highmark Medicare Advantage members to retain in-network access to UPMC
- New Florence man charged with killing police officer
- Eight Pitt players named to All-ACC team
- Regoli won’t seek recount in Westmoreland County judge election
- Steelers stalled by Seahawks, on outside of AFC wild-card picture
- Appeals court upholds sentence of man convicted of fatal shooting outside ‘The O’
- Steelers players say they support Tomlin’s attempts at deception
- Sports Deli is latest tenant to say goodbye to Parkway Center Mall
- Baseball America names Pirates as organization of the year
- Rossi: It’s past time for NFL to protect players