Kittanning gets 2 PIAA medalists for 1st time in program history
TribLIVE Sports Videos
HERSHEY — Most other wrestlers who win PIAA titles drop to their knees, jump into their coaches' arms or at least smile and throw their hands in the air moments after the big match, but Kittanning junior Jason Nolf sees no need for a show.
For Nolf, clinching a championship — to complete an undefeated season, nonetheless — apparently is the norm.
Ever stoic in the midst of success, he became Kittanning's first two-time state champion Saturday afternoon with a 4-2 win over Keystone Oaks senior Nick Zanetta in the 132-pound weight class finals of the PIAA Class AA Individual Championships at the Giant Center.
A winner at 103 pounds as a freshman, Nolf added his second gold by edging Zanetta for the fourth time in four weeks. He completed his season with a 45-0 record and improved his career mark to 132-1.
“I kind of felt better about (this title) because I lost last year,” said Nolf, who placed third in 2012 at 113 after a 6-4 setback to eventual champion Ryan Diehl of District 3's Trinity in the semifinals. “I just didn't want to lose again.”
Zanetta, who previously lost by scores of 1-0, 3-0 and 8-6, again tested Nolf for all three periods. The Pitt-bound senior hit a takedown — his first in their four meetings — 28 seconds into the first period to go ahead, 2-0.
“He took me down, so I had to have the same mindset that I did last week, whenever he caught me on my back: Just get up and get points,” said Nolf, who escaped 11 seconds later.
Nolf took the lead with a takedown that came just two seconds before the end of the first period. He added another point with an escape early in the second. Then, showcasing impressive leg strength, he rode out Zanetta, who chose the bottom position, for the entire two minutes in the third.
Just as he did two years ago, Nolf remained businesslike in the minutes that followed his match.
Asked if he has ever jumped into his coach's arms, Nolf acknowledged an instance: In 2006, when he won a bout to qualify for the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling state tournament.
“I was just so happy I made it to states, and then I ended up winning (the PJW state title),” said Nolf, whose coach at the time was his dad, Mike.
Mike Nolf described his son's ability to win a second PIAA title Saturday as “amazing.” But he knew Jason would skip a celebration and casually walk off the mat.
“He expects to win every match,” Mike Nolf said. “And it's not a surprise that he won — not to himself.”
For the first time in Kittanning's history, two Wildcats went home with medals. While Nolf left Hershey with a championship, senior 195-pounder Zac Croyle departed as a first-time place-winner.
On the tough end of a heartbreaker for a second straight match, Croyle finished sixth, as he lost his medal match to Bethlehem Catholic senior Josh Alpha, 2-1, in the tiebreaker period of overtime.
Croyle, who lost 4-3 in an ultimate tiebreaker Friday night, was on bottom for the first half of the tiebreaker period and failed to escape. Alpha earned his escape six seconds into the latter half, and Croyle came up short in his efforts to score a takedown.
Though he desired a better finish, Croyle admitted his final season exceeded all of his expectations.
“I didn't even think I'd make it to states,” he said. “It was a lot different. I was really nervous through the whole thing. I feel I should've been in the top four.”
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.
- Steelers WR Bryant’s suspension upheld
- Reports: Steelers trade for Jaguars kicker Scobee
- Prisoner mistakenly released from Allegheny County Jail to fight extradition
- Aliquippa RB Bronaugh to miss season after cancer diagnosis
- Animal welfare groups see opportunities in dialogue about Vick signing
- RB Williams believes he’s making seamless transition to Steelers
- Steelworkers scoff at ATI earnings claim
- Butler home heavily damaged by fire
- Engine roar lures fans to Fayette County Fair Demolition Derby
- Trump & free speech
- Coal’s health hazards