Do not be complacent about your achievements and not to strive for continual improvement when you get to the top. As soon as you let success go to your head, you sink into following familiar patterns and play it safe. In other words, you risk losing your edge. -Roy T. Bennett

Jason Nolf. Nolf. Widely known as a “winner”. And you know why? He despises nothing more than losing. Training to keep it from happening. And for those who have followed his career, it hasn’t happened a lot. No stranger to the top of the mountain, the wrestling mountain, he doesn’t rest. He’s training. Working. Even the best can get better. One of the beautiful things about this sport. And that’s his mindset, who he has been from a young age.

And Jason doesn’t just take this approach to the mat, but off it as well. He graduated with a 4.5 GPA in high school. Won Kittanning’s Physics award, the Principal’s Award, and I’m sure more awards they had to invent just to meet his excellence. And so his time at Penn State was about wrestling, and the glory from winning competitions, national championships, sure. But he also earned a Kinesiology degree.

Like a lot of kids in PA, Jason got into wrestling at the ripe young age of 6. It’s a way of life here. And like many of those young wrestlers, he took some early losses. But these losses motivated him. “After getting beat, all I could think about was getting to practice and improving.” And the work that he put in started paying dividends over the next few years.

Jason won his first Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling title at age 10. And that success snowballed into more and we know where he ended up and the Nittany Lion legacy he left behind. That drive. Just get better and better.

He’s quick to credit the club scene in Western Pa for helping get him to where is is today. He spent his time betweenThe Mat Factory, Young Guns, and All American Wrestling clubs. “I stayed almost every summer with Coach Waller at All American, I learned so much and had great partners. We all pushed each other.” A few of those partners were Luke Pletcher (Ohio State), Sammy Krivus (Virginia), and Freddy Stroker (Minnesota). 

That diligent work definitely paid off. Haha, oh yeah, I’d say so. In high school, he finished with a record of 176-1. Won three Pennsylvania State Championships, and four WPIAL titles. 

During this same time, Nolf snatched himself one of those prestigious Super 32 championship belts in 2013. The same tournament about to pop off this weekend. His finals match was a 17-7 major decision over a fellow PA kid, showing just how much separation he had created between himself and the closest competition.

A lot of times Nolf just makes it look easy, it isn’t. Anyone who has ever competed in this sport knows that. After high school, it would only get harder. Penn State. The Penn State. The one. You’ve heard of it. Your 3rd cousin twice removed who has watched a wrestling match before has heard of it by now. And it was there where he would cement a legacy as dominant as any before him –  and that’s saying something. He finished his college career with a record of 117-3, winning 3 individual NCAA titles. 

But all good things come to end, and Jason’s collegiate career is no different. So, what’s he been up to now. Training. At the NLWC. Or you might find him working on his new business venture, AthletesOcean, with former teammate Geno Morelli.

AthletesOcean is a series of online training modules, that include a variety of wrestlers. It offers video tutorials that can be used by coaches, teams, parents, and athletes themselves. When asked about the idea for it he said, “We realized there was an opportunity when Covid began because most athletes had to shut down group practices. We were trying to offer a solution to that problem.” The platform offers instructional videos with athletes teaching their best techniques, subscription groups where you can join and receive exclusive content from your favorite athletes, and a social network where you can follow your favorite competitors – as well as your friends who are on there.

Obviously, learning from a variety of past and present Penn State wrestlers, other beasts like Keegan O’Toole, Nathan Tomasello, and Amit Elor is a fantastic opportunity. But if you wanna be like Nolf, if his level of dominance is something you aspire to, you’re gonna need that drive. And there’s no app for that.

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Meet Todd Wightman

Based in Western PA. Right in the heart of WPIAL country, Todd brings an insider’s view from the country’s epicenter  of wrestling. He’s excited to build on the TKDWN tradition of starting with the story first. The athletes, the coaches, their families and supporters, there is no shortage of stories to tell. And Todd will bring his unique perspective to help us continue to deliver top notch content for the world’s greatest sport!