Kittanning's Nolf wins Powerade title
With WPIAL and state titles already to his name, Kittanning junior Jason Nolf added another line to his résumé.
Nolf won in his first appearance at the Powerade Christmas Wrestling Tournament and improved his career record to 104-1 with a 10-5 win over Tyler Smith of Franklin Regional in the 132-pound final at Canon-McMillan.
Nolf scored two first-period takedowns to race out to a 4-1 lead against Smith, one of his regular training partners. The Franklin Regional junior was consistently able to escape, but he was never able to connect with a move to take control of the bout or cut into Nolf's lead.
“We train together just about every day,” Nolf said. “Even though you know him, you just have to go hard, the same as in every match.”
Though the Powerade Tournament is generally regarded as one of the best high school tournaments in the nation, Nolf downplayed the significance of adding the gold medal to his ever-growing collection.
“It's just another step. I've got to keep going, still. Winning in Hershey again is my goal,” Nolf said.
Nolf's match was part of a strong slate before the 170-pound final that ended the night and guaranteed a three-time Powerade champ.
The nation's top two 170-pounders, Kennard-Dale junior Chance Marsteller and Canon-McMillan senior Cody Wiercioch, put on an overtime show to end the night, with neither wrestler scoring a takedown in back-and-forth action.
After both scored escapes in overtime, Marsteller earned the title and defended his top rank with an escape four seconds into the ultimate rideout period for a 3-2 win.
Burrell senior Dakota DesLauriers opened the finals session by becoming a two-time champion at 182 pounds. His second-period takedown of Addison Knepshield from Blair Academy (N.J.) allowed him to get a 3-1 decision, but only after a late takedown by Knepshield was ruled to have come after time expired.
Canon-McMillan senior Connor Schram also became a two-time Powerade champ with a win in the 126-pound final by injury default over Franklin Reginal sophomore Michael Kemerer. Schram took a 4-2 lead with a takedown, but Kemerer landed on his head as a result of the move and was unable to continue.
Hampton senior Jake Hart was unable to join DesLauriers and Schram as two-time champs, as Blair's Frank Mattiace won the 195-pound final, 3-2, with an escape in the ultimate rideout.
The 106-pound weight class featured the only champion in the tournament to come from an unseeded position, Latrobe freshman Luke Pletcher.
Pletcher won all five of his matches by six points or more, and he capped his run with a 7-1 decision in the final against top-seeded Devan Brown of Saegertown.
“(Being unseeded) gives you a little more drive to go out and beat the other guys,” Pletcher said. “This tournament is a lot different than what I've been doing before. I was hoping for this, and I worked hard to get it.”
Pletcher's Latrobe teammate, Zach Zavatsky, joined him atop the medal stand with a 2-0 win over Greensburg Salem's Zach Voytek in the 160-pound final.
Franklin Regional sophomore Josh Shields won his first Powerade title with a 4-3 win over Blair's Dylan Milonas in the 145-pound final, which gives Franklin Regional a Powerade champ in each of the last six years, the longest active streak for any school.
Blair Academy won its second consecutive team title on the strength of seven finalists and four champions, while Canon-McMillan was the top-finishing WPIAL school in third behind Moeller (Ohio).
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.