Kittanning wrestler Nolf wins 4th WPIAL individual crown
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The crowd of at least 1,500 at Chartiers Valley High School roared louder than at any other point Saturday night as the PA announcer rattled off Jason Nolf's career accolades. The Kittanning senior never flinched as he stood atop the WPIAL Class AA individual championship's medal stand.
Nolf, owner of a 169-1 career record, two PIAA titles, three PIAA Southwest Regional crowns and now four WPIAL championships, apparently never breaks from focusing on the next opponent he intends to dominate.
On the mat for just one minute, 22 seconds in his 145-pound title bout, top-seeded Nolf (37-0) pinned Beth-Center sophomore Tony Welsh (32-4) to become the 23rd wrestler in WPIAL history to claim four individual championships.
“It felt pretty cool when everybody started cheering,” said Nolf, who will wrestle at Penn State. “It's still just another step, though.”
Of his four WPIAL finals appearances, his last ended with the most authority — likely one reason he went home with the tournament's Most Outstanding award.
“My goal is to pin everybody,” Nolf said. “I wanted to pin (Welsh) as soon as I took him down. Then he got an escape, so I had to take him down again.”
Two other wrestlers might follow in Nolf's footsteps in the next two seasons. South Fayette junior J.J. Walker (37-1) became a three-time WPIAL champ with his second-period pin of Jefferson-Morgan senior Ryan Zalar (30-5) in the 160-pound final. Derry sophomore Mickey Phillippi (34-4), a returning PIAA champion, won his second title in as many tries with an 18-3 technical fall over Freedom freshman Kody Komara (29-6).
The lopsided result set a different tone than the 1-0 win Phillippi had against South Fayette's Seth Carr in the finals a season ago.
“Coming in, I guess I had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder,” Phillippi said. “Last year, I was a freshman, and I was nervous. I worked real hard all summer and kept it going. I think it's a mentality. I think I, as a person, am more mentally strong. I believe in myself a lot more this year.”
Other second-time champions included Burgettstown junior 113-pounder Austin McDermitt (36-2), Avella senior 220-pounder Jake Temple (36-0) and Burrell junior Al Beattie (37-5).
In the only final featuring two unbeaten wrestlers, Jefferson-Morgan senior 126-pounder John Demaske (37-0) claimed gold with a 6-0 decision over Valley senior Patrick Dewitt (36-1).
Jefferson-Morgan, Valley, Burrell, South Fayette and South Park each had two champions.
Two Valley wrestlers never had claimed WPIAL gold in the same season. But seniors Terrell Fields and Marcus Davenport — brothers by way of adoption — went back-to-back with wins at 182 and 195.
Fields (30-1) pinned West Greene senior Dalton Wildman (24-4) midway through the first period of his bout. Davenport (31-3) pulled off a takedown with no time left in the third period to win the 195-pound title match 5-3 over Ellwood City senior Brad Grinnen (30-3).
“He's lost so many matches by one point, and we really worked this year on just finishing and getting out from bottom,” Fields said of Davenport, whose previous best finish was sixth. “He puts so much pressure on himself, so I have to calm him down every day in practice.”
The top seven finishers in each weight class advanced to the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional tournament, which begins Friday in Johnstown. Burrell had a tournament-high nine regional qualifiers. Jefferson-Morgan followed with eight, and Bentworth had seven.
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.
- Powerade wrestling tourney welcomes biggest field ever
- Burrell, Kiski Area wrestling teams set to battle for bragging rights