Led by Kittanning's Nolf, 3 locals win Class AA state wrestling titles
TribLIVE Sports Videos
HERSHEY — A force on the mat like few to ever come through the WPIAL, Kittanning senior Jason Nolf showcased one of his other great talents — understatement — as he spoke about wrapping up a career that included three PIAA Class AA titles and a 176-1 record.
“I guess it was pretty good,” Nolf said minutes after pinning his opponent, previously unbeaten Williamson junior Billy Barnes, in the 145-pound weight class' title bout Saturday afternoon at Giant Center. “I lost (sophomore year in the PIAA semifinals), so it's not like I was undefeated.”
Describing his career as something other than or even less than special — a trademark of his since his undefeated freshman season — Nolf capped a fine four years and earned Class AA's Outstanding Wrestler award to highlight an afternoon in which only two other WPIAL Class AA wrestlers, Avella senior 220-pounder Jake Temple and Burrell senior 152-pounder Steve Edwards, claimed gold medals.
In the only final featuring two undefeated wrestlers, Nolf (44-0) needed just 1 minute, 42 seconds to pin Barnes (42-1), who ended up inverted and hanging off of Nolf's back when Nolf leaned back a bit to execute a quasi-defensive pin.
“I was trying to just get him out of position so I could take him down, but I got the pin,” said Nolf, who had three pins and a 16-4 major decision in the tournament. “I really haven't pinned anybody like that.”
Nolf is the 13th WPIAL wrestler to finish his career as a three-time state champ. Among the three-timers, Nolf has the second-most wins and the second-highest winning percentage.
Edwards (46-4), a friend and training partner of Nolf's, became the sixth Burrell grappler to win a PIAA title, as he won the only title bout that went to overtime.
Tied or trailing during all three periods, Edwards, a first-time finalist, scored a takedown with 30 seconds left to prevail 7-5 over Southern Columbia sophomore Blake Marks (35-6).
“Our coaches like to talk about Mr. Murphy and Murphy's Law — where everything that can go wrong will go wrong,” Edwards said. “And I think, definitely, at points in that match, it seemed certain to take a turn for the worse, but I just kept staying positive and telling myself I was going to win.”
Early offense paid off for Temple (43-0), who delivered the Eagles their first PIAA title since 1988. Matched up against West Branch junior Reynold Maines — the same opponent he beat last week in the Southwest Region finals — Temple scored a takedown late in the first period and leaned on defense to prevail 3-1.
“Really then and there, I knew I was in a good spot to win that match,” Temple said of the takedown. “I wanted to be in a position where I knew he'd have to keep coming after me.”
Temple is Avella's fourth PIAA title winner.
“Twenty-six years, that's a long time to go without having a state champ,” Temple said. “So, I'm putting Avella back on the map with that.”
South Fayette junior 160-pounder J.J. Walker (43-2) was the WPIAL's only other finalist. He lost 9-3 to Coudersport senior Kyle Bova.
Led by Edwards, Burrell placed fifth in the team standings with 53 points, the highest finish of any WPIAL team. Bethlehem Catholic ran away with the team title, tallying 138.5 points.
Sixteen WPIAL wrestlers medaled in Class AA.
Burrell junior 285-pounder Al Beattie, who placed third, had the most pins in the least amount of time, securing three in 6:14.
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.
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.
- Hackers’ new Dyre malware infects W.Pa. computers, vexes FBI cyber agents
- Oakland man pleads guilty to smuggling drugs from Mexico
- Fingerprint expert says defendant’s prints were on cyanide bottle
- Veteran LB Harrison: Steelers must play to way defense is set up
- Foundations’ deal to buy August Wilson Center could be in jeopardy
- Attorney General Kane injured in auto accident
- Pirates likely to seek pitcher, catcher when free agency starts
- 5 Cal U football players arrested for assault; Saturday’s game canceled
- Economy woman sentenced to 15 months for Medicare fraud
- Space tourism rocket explodes, killing one person aboard
- Rossi: The best Penguins defense is ... a potent offense