HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING: Rural Valley native Nolf avenges lone career loss at Dapper Dan Classic
PITTSBURGH — With his future coach in attendance, Kittanning’s Jason Nolf pulled off a first in his illustrious high school career by avenging a loss.
The Rural Valley native exacted revenge on Tyler Berger, of Crook County, Ore., with an 8-5 win in the featured bout of Sunday’s 40th annual Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic at Pitt’s Fitzgerald Fieldhouse.
Nolf won the match with former Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson in attendance. Sanderson is the head coach at Penn State, where Nolf will attend on a scholarship.
In the 145-pound headliner, Nolf avenged his loss last year to Berger, a four-time Oregon state champ. At the unsanctioned Flo Nationals tournament at IUP’s Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex last April, Berger nipped Nolf, 2-0, in the 132-pound title match.
Nolf finished his career with a record of 176-1, with his only high school career loss coming against four-time state champ Ryan Diehl of Trinity, in 2012.
Since 1974, the Dapper Dan Classic has pitted the rest of the country’s top recruits against Pennsylvania’s best.
The United States team earned its third straight win, 25-16, upping its record to 22-18.
The Pennsylvania team has only won twice since 2000.
Nolf scored four takedowns on Berger, including two in the opening period.
The top-ranked 145-pound wrestler in the country, according to Flowrestling.com, Nolf said he knew after last year’s loss that he’d have to evolve and be willing to take more risks in order to get payback against Berger, an owner of 198 career wins.
“Yeah, definitely,” Nolf said when asked if last year’s loss to Berger served as a motivator for the Dapper Dan. “I didn’t open up last time. This time I tried to open up. I gave up some points at the end that I shouldn’t have gave up, but other than that it was all right, I guess.”
Before the event, former three-time state champ Troy Dolan, a graduate of Derry High School, (2004-07) was inducted into the Southwestern Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame.