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Well-rounded senior leading Hampton wrestling to playoffs

| Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, 10:06 p.m.
Valley News Dispatch
Hampton's Noah Shulman attempts to pin Fox Chapel's Tyler Lever in their 285-pound bout during the Allegheny County Wrestling finals at Fox Chapel High School on Saturday, January 12, 2013. Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Valley News Dispatch
Hampton's Noah Shulman controls Fox Chapel's Tyler Lever in their 285-pound bout during the Allegheny County Wrestling finals at Fox Chapel High School on Saturday, January 12, 2013. Shulman won the match, 9-0. Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Valley News Dispatch
Hampton's Kevin Synan, top, grapples with Central Catholic's Chris Nuss in their 145-pound bout during the Allegheny County Wrestling finals at Fox Chapel High School on Saturday, January 12, 2013. Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review

Coming off his second consecutive 285-pound title at the Allegheny County Championship this past weekend, senior Noah Shulman appears on track to make a run at his goal of qualifying for the PIAA championships.

Get to know Shulman, though, and you begin to understand there is much more to this Hampton senior than just wrestling.

A lot more.

How much more? Try a football standout talented enough that coaches at Penn State have encouraged him to walk on after he enrolls next year.

The 6-foot-2 Shulman also is a capable enough discus thrower that he narrowly missed out on a PIAA championships berth.

Hampton wrestling coach Joe Bursick says Shulman has Division I ability in his sport, too. Shulman nearly qualifying for the PIAA championships last season suggests as much.

Strong and powerful, Shulman plays three sports at a high level. But he's much more than just an athlete.

Try Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra musician. River City Youth Brass Band tuba player. National Honors Society-caliber student with a 3.75 grade-point average. Aspiring veterinarian and part of a family heavily involved in animal rescue.

“He's a great guy off the mat with a lot of interests,” said Bursick, who also teaches Shulman in an honors calculus class at Hampton. “He works extremely hard at practice and is a vocal leader ... just the type of kid you enjoy working with.

“I can say of all his extracurricular activities, wrestling is probably about fourth on his list. He could go to a small D-I school (for wrestling) and be successful if he wanted.”

Shulman twice has placed among the top six at the Powerade tournament, an event considered one of the top high school tournaments in the nation.

Shulman is being driven, in part, by what happened at last season's WPIAL championships. During a consolation-round match in the 285-pound bracket, he was put in an illegal and potentially dangerous headlock by Montour's Ty Haddock.

Shulman won that match by disqualification, leaving him only one victory short of the third-place match that decides a PIAA berth. But Shulman was forced to forfeit the next match after the headlock incident.

“Had that not happened, who knows, he might have qualified for states last year,” Bursick said. “But one of our goals is to get him qualified this season. And he's having a great year.”

And not just in wrestling. His two-way play on the lines helped Hampton's football team stay in the Greater Allegheny Conference race until the season finale.

Shulman will study animal science at Penn State — and plans to walk on as a linebacker. His choice of field of study is no coincidence — his family is heavily involved in animal rescue.

“We have four collies, a Chihuahua, six cats, and we have about 10 parrots,” said Shulman, who has three older brothers who also were athletes at Hampton (Jordan is a sophomore wrestler at Pitt).

“Over the years, we've been involved with and support different rescue agencies. When I'm not playing sports or playing the tuba or working on academics, we spend a lot of time moving animals around, finding them homes.”

Shulman also wants to find a way to help get the Talbots to Hershey for the PIAA team championships.

“Us seniors have been wrestling since we were in elementary school together,” Shulman said. “We want to come out on top this year, so we're wrestling real hard and doing everything we can do.”

Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.

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