Noah Wilps has been very busy since school finished -- in fact, its surprising to find him home at all this summer.
Wilps, who recently completed his junior year at Chartiers Valley High School, spent two weeks in The Netherlands, and is now on a 10-day trip to Minnesota. He even has wrestling penciled in on his schedule.
"I have a friend from The Netherlands who was a foreign exchange student last year," Wilps said. "It was my first time out of the country. It was an awesome place, very different. A lot of people ride bikes there and I was too short for the bikes."
Wilps, who stands only 5 feet 8, began another trip as soon as he got home from The Netherlands.
"I'm going on a 10-day mission trip with my mother [Lisa]," said Wilps, who flew to Minnesota last Friday. "We will be helping at [a Native American] reservation."
Wilps, a Collier resident, is a member of the youth group at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Bridgeville.
"This is my third mission trip," Wilps said before leaving for Minnesota. "I went to Puerto Rico last summer and Chicago the previous summer. It's always a good experience and I'm getting to do some traveling."
Next on Wilps' summer travel schedule is a trip to Fargo, N.D., for the USA Wrestling Junior National Championships, which begin July 12 at North Dakota State University's Fargodome.
"I leave for training camp at Pitt-Johnstown the day after I get back from my mission," Wilps said. "I've never been to Fargo before.
"I did wrestle for Pennsylvania's team at the Cadet Duals last summer, and we placed 10th in the country. I didn't have time for the Junior Duals this summer, so I decided to go to Fargo."
Wilps does not have tremendously high expectations for his trip to Fargo.
"I'm not very good at either style [freestyle and Greco-Roman], so I just want to get more experience," Wilps said. "I don't really have any goals. I just want to wrestle my best and try to become an All-American."
Wilps is a three-year starter who enters his senior year at Chartiers Valley with a 78-44 career record. He placed second in the Class AAA WPIAL/Southwest Regional and sixth in the PIAA last season as a 170-pound junior. His only loss in the WPIAL tournament was to Canon-McMillan's Cody Wiercioch, a three-time WPIAL and PIAA champion.
"We're very proud of everything Noah is doing," Chartiers Valley coach Bill Evans said. "He's taking the right steps to wrestle in college."
Wilps hasn't decided on a college yet, but Pitt is certainly at the top of his list. That's understandable, considering his dad, Jeff, and two older brothers, Matt, who graduated this spring, and Tyler, who will be a junior, all wrestled for the Panthers.
"I would like to continue the family tradition, but I haven't received a formal offer from Pitt yet," Noah Wilps said. "I have quite a few other schools that are interested, but I haven't made any official visits yet."
That's not surprising, considering he's been traveling all summer.
"I will most likely wait until after the wrestling season is over to decide," Wilps said. "My performance in the postseason tournaments will play a big part in my decision, especially if I place high in the state tournament."sportsother