Returning champions lead the way at Powerade wrestling tournament
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Repeat visitors led the way to the top of the medal stand at the Powerade Christmas Wrestling Tournament.
Six wrestlers returned to the top of the medal stand, the most since 2007, and 170-pound senior Chance Marsteller of Kennard-Dale became just the fifth four-time champion in tournament history Saturday night at Canon-McMillan High School.
Kittanning's Jason Nolf, Franklin Regional's Michael Kemerer and Josh Shields, and Latrobe's Zack Zavatsky and Luke Pletcher won their second Powerade titles on a night in which 10 of 14 titles went to WPIAL wrestlers.
Marsteller was the most decorated star on display, and the Oklahoma State-bound senior improved his career record to 142-0 in quick fashion with a 17-1 technical fall at the 2:35 mark over Chartiers Valley's Noah Wilps.
Marsteller joins North Allegheny's Ty Moore, Central Dauphin's Marshall Peppelman, Franklin Regional's Nico Megaludis and Derry's Jimmy Gulibon as the only four-time champs in the tournament's 47-year history.
“It's a big steppingstone for me. I came in here looking to join the other four guys, but I just had to take it one match at a time,” Marsteller said.
Though he battled a head cold through the two-day tournament, that didn't stop Marsteller from recording three pins and an 8-1 decision to reach the final.
“This is definitely the best tournament (of the high school season) for me because it lets me know what I need to work on,” Marsteller said. “Last year I found out I needed to work on my riding. I've always been a takedown guy, so I spent a lot of time working this summer on my riding.”
For Nolf, it was the second Powerade title in as many attempts, and the Kittanning senior upped his career mark to 149-1 with a 13-7 decision over Franklin Regional's Josh Maruca in the 145-pound final.
Nolf was clinical in his winning performance, as the Penn State recruit recorded six takedowns and controlled the action from start to finish without looking for much in the way of riding time.
“I'm trying to open guys up because my goal is to pin them,” Nolf said. “If I take a guy down a few times, it will open him up, and I think it's easier to pin them that way.”
Nolf won all five of his matches with ease and shrugged off missing out on a potential national No. 2 vs. No. 3 matchup with injured Canon-McMillan senior Solomon Chisko.
“It would have been nice to wrestle him, but you can't do anything about it. He got hurt,” Nolf said.
Franklin Regional won the team title on the strength of five titles, including wins by Tyler Smith (132), Devin Brown (106) and Spencer Lee (113), the nation's top-ranked freshman at any weight and the only freshman Powerade winner this year. Latrobe finished second.
Latrobe's Dom Scalise won the 160-pound title with a 3-0 win, and Canon-McMillan's Dalton Macri — named Most Outstanding Wrestler — thrilled the home crowd with a late takedown and near fall for an 8-6 win at 126 pounds.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.
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