Kittanning's Nolf gains more prestigious gold
With two WPIAL crowns and a state title already to his name, Kittanning junior Jason Nolf added another line to his résumé.
Nolf won a title 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 Saturday 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.
“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. You have to wrestle the way you know how to wrestle.”
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.
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 by becoming a two-time champion at 182 pounds. His second-period takedown of Blair Academy (N.J.) junior and Manor Township native Addison Knepshield gave him 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 Regional 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.
The 106-pound weight class featured the only champion in the event to come from an unseeded position, Latrobe freshman Luke Pletcher. He 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.
Kittanning senior Taylor Jack exceeded his seed's expectations. Slotted No. 8 in the 152-pound weight class, he placed sixth. Jack won his first two consolation bouts but then lost two in a row — the latter was an 8-7 overtime setback to Cedar Cliff junior Jake Colello.
As a team, the Wildcats tied Blue Mountain and Waynesburg for 28th with 67 points.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830.