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Kittanning puts 2 in Powerade semifinals

| Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, 11:21 p.m.

Kittanning fans have more than just Jason Nolf to cheer for Saturday.

Defending champ Nolf advanced to the 145-pound semifinals, and 195-pound teammate Jake Robb did the same to give the Wildcats two title hopefuls after the first day of the Powerade Christmas wrestling tournament Friday at Canon-McMillan.

The top-seeded Nolf cruised through his bracket with two pins and a 26-12 major decision in the quarterfinals against Saegertown's Matt Humes. He will face Canon-McMillan's Malachi Krenzlak in the semifinals.

Robb also got his tournament started by pinning his first opponent, and he backed that up with 8-3 and 12-4 decisions to set up a semifinal against the top seed in his weight class, Chip Ness of Buford (Ga.).

“It feels really good to move on,” Robb said. “I just had to go out on the mat and wrestle, and let whatever happens, happen.”

Robb, the No. 4 seed at 195, took control early in all of his matches. That included pulling out to a 7-1 lead in the quarterfinals against Mifflin County senior Timmy Pearce, who already had beaten the No. 5 seed in the bracket.

“I was just trying to wrestle my way,” Robb said. “I want to make it to the finals, but if I don't, I want to wrestle as long as I can.”

Burrell also has a shot at being represented in a Powerade final after Al Beattie pinned all three of his opponents on the way to the 285-pound semifinals.

Beattie entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed in a bracket that had all eight seeds reach the quarterfinals. His third-period pin of No. 6 Derek Brumley from St. Vincent-St. Mary's (Ohio) set up a semifinal against No. 7 Scot Augustine of Erie McDowell.

“It's always good to still have a kid in the championship,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said. “We also have a freshman (113-pounder Dillan Jeffery) that's going to be wrestling on the second day of Powerade, which is always tough to do.”

The Bucs are tied for sixth with St. Vincent-St. Mary's in the team standings with 83 points by virtue of strong performances in the consolation bracket.

Burrell had a scary moment in the 152-pound quarterfinal between Steve Edwards and Altoona's D.J. Hollingshead when Edwards appeared to be knocked unconscious when Hollingshead recorded the pin. Afterward, Edwards was attended to by coaches and trainers before going to the hospital.

The loss of Edwards will hurt the Bucs' shot at a high team finish, but some of Burrell's less-heralded wrestlers still have a chance to earn a medal in the consolation bracket.

“Some of our kids didn't wrestle to their goal or their potential, but a lot of the kids that don't have the credentials in their background really showed up today. That was a good thing to see for the team,” Shields said.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mgrubba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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