The Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic selection committee will meet Saturday at the conclusion of the PIAA championships to choose the Pennsylvania and WPIAL all-star teams.
It's rare for the committee to choose a member of the Pennsylvania team before meeting, but Kittanning senior Jason Nolf and Kennard-Dale senior Chance Marsteller are exceptions to that rule.
Marsteller, a three-time PIAA Class AAA champion who boasts a 162-0 career record, was chosen as the Pennsylvania squad's 170-pounder in December before winning his second Powerade Christmas Tournament title.
Nolf, a three-time PIAA Class AA finalist and two-time champ, was added to the Pennsylvania squad last week before winning a fourth consecutive WPIAL title.
"Ever since I was a freshman in high school, wrestling in the Classic has been one of my goals, so I'm pretty excited," Nolf said after pinning Beth-Center's Tony Welsh in the 145-pound WPIAL final. "I've attended the Classic the past few years."
Nolf, who has a career record of 169-1, will face Tyler Berger, a three-time Oregon state champion from Crook County High School in the 145-pound bout. Berger (152-3 going into this season) beat Nolf, 2-0, in April in the 132-pound final at FloNationals.
When asked if he's looking forward to the rematch, Nolf replied simply, "Yes."
The Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic will be March 16 at Pitt's Fitzgerald Field House. The United States all-stars will face Pennsylvania's all-stars in the feature match at 6 p.m. A team of WPIAL all-stars will face the Oklahoma all-stars in the preliminary match at 4 p.m.
The Classic is produced and sponsored by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Dapper Dan Charities and local volunteers. Proceeds support a youth wrestling program for inner-city children through the Dapper Dan Youth Sports Leagues at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania. The reserved seat ticket price is $15 and general admission is $10.
Tickets can be purchased at Wright Automotive Group on Route 19, Monroeville Chrysler Jeep, Canon-McMillan High School or by calling Dapper Dan Charities at 412-263-3850. For more information or to order tickets, visit www.wrestlingclassic.com.
Nolf is one of five returning champions in the Class AA Southwest Region tournament, which begins Friday at War Memorial Arena in Cambria County. In fact, Nolf is a three-time regional champion, with his other three appearances coming at 103, 113 and 132 pounds.
The other four returning champions are Huntingdon sophomore Collin Glorioso, South Park sophomore Greg Bulsak, Avella senior Josh Temple and Burrell junior Allan Beattie.
Glorioso (33-0), a two-time District 6 champion, has moved to 113 after winning at 106 last year. Bulsak (33-3), a champ at 126 last year, will be hard-pressed to repeat after placing third in the WPIAL at 152. Temple (36-0) is a two-time regional finalist and defending champ at 220. Beattie (37-5) is the defending heavyweight champion.
Eight of last year's silver medalists are also back: Forest Hills junior Triston Law (27-4 at 120), Bedford senior Ryan Easter (25-3 at 132), Jefferson-Morgan senior John Demaske (37-0 at 126), Johnstown Richland senior Nick Naglic (27-6 at 145), Blairsville junior Andrew Doak (30-3 at 152), South Fayette's Jared Walker (37-1 at 160), Blairsville junior Scott Thompson (32-1 at 182), and West Branch senior Morgan Selepack (28-6 at 285).
Easter and Doak are two-time regional runner-ups. Easter won a fourth consecutive District 5 title Saturday.
Doak and Bulsak are in the strongest weight class. Also entered at 152 is Burrell senior Steven Edwards (39-4), the WPIAL champion, and South Fayette senior Grant Fetchet (36-3), the WPIAL runner-up.
Burrell has nine wrestlers entered in the Southwest Regional, while Jefferson-Morgan and Bentworth each have seven. South Fayette and Kittanning have five entries.
Nolf, Demaske, Temple, and South Fayette's Mike Carr (37-0 at 132) are the only remaining unbeaten WPIAL wrestlers in Class AA. Demaske handed Valley's Patrick Dewitt (36-1) his first loss of the season Saturday in the WPIAL final.
Class AAA story lines
Eight wrestlers enter the Class AAA WPIAL/Southwest Region tournament this weekend as returning champions, including Canon-McMillan senior Solomon Chishko (19-3 at 145), who has won three previous titles. Chishko is hoping to become the 24th wrestler in WPIAL history to win four titles.
Hempfield junior Sam Krivus (35-2 at 126) and Latrobe senior Zack Zavatsky (34-0 at 182) are two-time WPIAL champions. Krivus' previous titles came at 113 and 120. Zavatsky moved to 182 after making three consecutive title appearances at 160 pounds and winning a title the past two years.
The other returning WPIAL champions are Latrobe sophomore Luke Pletcher (35-0 at 120), Waynesburg senior A.C. Headlee (31-4 at 126), Kiski Area senior Shane Kuhn (32-1 at 285), and Franklin Regional juniors Michael Kemerer (37-1 at 138) and Josh Maruca (33-4 at 145).
Pletcher and Krivus won WPIAL and PIAA titles last year at 106 and 120. Krivus and Headlee are in the same weight class, so at least one returning champion will not repeat. Kuhn is a strong favorite to repeat at 285.
Kemerer won a WPIAL title at 106 in 2012, then placed second at 126 last year. Maruca has moved from 138 to 145 and is now in the same weight class with Chishko. Kemerer and Maruca's Panther teammate, Tyler Smith (30-0 at 132), is a three-time WPIAL runner-up.
The Class AAA WPIAL/Southwest Region tournament begins Thursday and concludes Saturday at Canon-McMillan High School.