Kittanning star Nolf knocks off pal for 4th regional title
JOHNSTOWN — Of the 12 individual WPIAL and PIAA Class AA postseason medal matches Kittanning senior 145-pounder Jason Nolf wrestled during his first three seasons, none pitted him against anyone he regarded as a friend.
In the twilight of his senior campaign, Nolf has finally clashed for hardware against an opponent he willingly chats with during tournament downtimes.
For the second time in three weeks, Nolf met and defeated Burrell senior Corey Falleroni in a tournament title bout. With gold on the line in the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional Championships Saturday at Cambria County War Memorial, the Kittanning standout pinned Falleroni in the second period.
One week after becoming the 23rd wrestler to win four WPIAL titles, Nolf emerged as only the fifth wrestler in the regional tournament's 28-year history to claim four Class AA Southwest championships.
The pin against Falleroni caught no one off-guard, as Nolf also beat the Burrell senior that way in the Section 3-AA finals.
“It's pretty cool, because we both train at the Mat Factory together,” Nolf said of squaring off against Falleroni. “I don't think it's much different than wrestling anybody else. I treat it the same way. I talk to him, but not before the match.”
Nolf, a Penn State recruit and two-time PIAA champion, enters his final state tournament with a career record of 172-1.
Kittanning sophomore 220-pounder Jacob Robb will join Nolf as he recovered from a close semifinal loss to take third. Robb lost to unbeaten West Branch junior Reynold Maines, 6-5, but he then rolled to a 12-0 win over Yough's Tom Sever in the consolation semifinals and beat South Allegheny's Seth Hitchens, 4-2, for third.
Robb can use his state qualification as a one-up any time his older brother, Nate, a 2013 Kittanning grad who now serves as a junior high coach and helps the varsity, tries to bug him about his performances. Nate Robb, who had a promising career as a lightweight, struggled with injuries and never reached Hershey.
“It's weird when he coaches me,” Jacob Robb said. “He'll try to teach me, and at times I'm just like, ‘Don't talk to me.' But other times, I'll take his advice.”
Said Nate Robb: “He should (taunt me). But I beat him when we wrestled like two weeks ago.”
The top five finishers in each weight class advanced to the PIAA championships, which begin Thursday in Hershey.
West Shamokin junior 182-pounder Brendon Glover's first regional tournament experience ended just a bit earlier than he hoped, as he lost 5-1 to West Greene's Dalton Wildman in the consolation quarterfinals Saturday. Glover needed to win that match and one more to qualify for Hershey. Wildman, the WPIAL runner-up, ultimately placed fifth in the weight class.