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Kittanning standout wrestler Nolf selects Penn State

| Friday, July 19, 2013, 8:21 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Kittanning's Jason Nolf (top) controls Bethlehem Catholic's Lee Todora during their 132-pound match during the opening round on Thursday, March 7, 2013, at the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling championships at Giant Center in Hershey.

As the list of Division I colleges that offered him scholarship money expanded to almost a dozen, Kittanning wrestler Jason Nolf continued to consider all options.

He refused to rush to a decision. He met coaches at his house, at camps, at wrestling club practices. Last weekend, he flew to the west coast to see Stanford in person.

And after much thought, he chose the NCAA's current go-to destination for elite grapplers.

Nolf, a rising senior, verbally committed to three-time defending NCAA team champion Penn State Friday evening. A two-time PIAA Class AA champion with a career record of 132-1, he accepted a scholarship offer from the Nittany Lions over those made by Stanford, Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Lehigh, Cornell and others.

“It's close to home,” Nolf said, “it's where I have the best chance of becoming a four-time national champion, it's a nice campus, and I have a lot of friends there.”

Nolf won his second PIAA title and third WPIAL championship competing in the 132-pound weight class this past season. The only loss of his high school career came during his sophomore season, when he dropped a 6-4 decision to Ryan Diehl, a Maryland recruit, in the PIAA semifinals.

At the Disney Duals earlier this month, Nolf avenged his loss to Diehl as a member of the Young Guns Wrestling Club. The 10-3 win was a part of a dominant tournament performance that earned Nolf the Outstanding Wrestler award and further bolstered his resume.

Nolf's father, Mike, encouraged the standout to start cutting down his list of choices just after the tournament. They needed to start turning coaches away, otherwise the flood of phone calls would continue. They also planned to visit several campuses to trim the list — Stanford was the first stop on the tour.

Earlier this week, Nolf indicated he likely needed weeks if not months to make his decision.

“I'll commit when I find the right place and I'm ready,” he said.

But that time came Friday, as Nolf considered the bevy of talented training partners, including former Young Guns club members, on the team's roster. He tabbed former WPIAL standouts Nico Megaludis (Franklin Regional), Jimmy Gulibon (Derry) and Matt McCutcheon (Kiski Area) as close friends with which he wished to remain connected.

Nolf also emphasized the important of attending a school that would allow family and friends to see him in person.

“My parents can come and watch me there,” he said.

Nolf adds another gem to Penn State's list of incoming recruits. Kennard-Dale rising senior Chance Marsteller, an unbeaten three-time PIAA Class AAA champion who is considered the top wrestler in the country, committed to the Nittany Lions on July 4.

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at wwest@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

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