Kittanning's Nolf wins fourth wrestling title

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It wasn't a question of whether Jason Nolf would make history Saturday night at the WPIAL Class AA championships at Chartiers Valley. It was a question how fast it would occur.

The answer was not very long.

Nolf, a senior at Kittanning, pinned Beth-Center's Tony Welsh 1:22 into the first period of the 145-pound championship to become the 23rd wrestler to win four WPIAL titles.

"My goal is to pin everybody," said Nolf, whose three matches lasted a total of 5:03 with all ending in pins.

Nolf was named the tournament's most outstanding wrestler and improved to 37-0 this season and 169-1 in his career. He will be attempting to win his third PIAA championship, and he said the WPIAL title, while historic, is only a part of making that goal a reality.

"It kind of felt pretty cool when everyone started cheering," Nolf said. "But it's still just another step."

Nolf might be joined in the four-time WPIAL champion club in coming years by South Fayette junior J.J. Walker and Derry sophomore George Phillippi.

Walker (37-1) won his third championship in three tires, pinning Jefferson-Morgan's Ryan Zalar in 3:33 to win the 160-pound championship.

"After the first time I won it, everyone was telling me about that and every year when WPIAL comes around, everyone says 'Oh, you've got to go for four,' " Walker said. "It's something I try to think about in the offseason and not think about much during the season."

Phillippi, who won the 113-pound WPIAL and PIAA championships as a freshman in 2013, defended his WPIAL title with an 18-3 technical victory against Freedom freshman Kody Komara at 120 pounds. Phillippi was one of four wrestlers to win a second WPIAL title Saturday, joining Burrell junior Allan Beattie (37-5) at 285 pounds, Burgettstown junior Austin McDermitt (36-2) at 113 and Avella senior Jake Temple (36-0) at 220.

Temple is one of four undefeated wrestlers this season along with Nolf, 132-pound champion Mike Carr (37-0) of South Fayette and 126 champion John Demaske (37-0) of Jefferson-Morgan. Demaske ruined the unblemished record of Valley's Pat Dewitt (36-1) in the title match, beating the 2012 106-pound WPIAL champ, 6-0. It was Demaske's first WPIAL title, and he won it with an injured left shoulder, which he hurt earlier Saturday in his semifinal against Bentworth's Matt Vickless.

"I went over to the trainer, and they were twisting my arm and stuff and something popped," Demaske said. "They said it was a deltoid or a torn biceps or something.

"I wasn't going to wrestle because we figured we see him at regionals, but due to [Dewitt] being undefeated and me being undefeated and I didn't want to get a loss on my record, I just went out there and wrestled."

Two Valley wrestlers also won their first titles. Terrell Fields (30-1), who lost in the WPIAL final to Burrell's Dakota DesLauriers the past two seasons, pinned West Greene's Dalton Wideman in the first period. In the next match, Valley's Marcus Davenport (31-3) got a takedown as time expired to beat Ellwood City's Brad Grinnen, 5-3, at 195.

Other first-time winners were South Park's Dallas Bulsak (24-4) at 106 pounds, South Park's Jake Wentzel at 138, Burrell's Steve Edwards (39-4) at 152 and Jefferson-Morgan's Bill Bowlen (37-3) at 170. Bulsak, cousin of 2013 champion Greg Bulsak at 126, was the lone freshman to win a title Saturday. The top seven finishers from each weight class advance to the Class AA Southwest Regional Friday at Johnstown. Burrell had the most regional qualifiers with nine.

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