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Nolf Focused on Improvement

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By Brandon Pelter, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There's certainly no denying Penn State's Jason Nolf has already made a name for himself among Penn State fans. Just two dual meets into the 2017-18 campaign though, the redshirt junior remains as hungry for more as ever.

"He's just a student of the game," head coach Cael Sanderson said. "He's improving in all areas. You see him wrestling he's always trying new things."

Nolf has consistently treated the Nittany Lion faithful to a variety of unique and different moves.

That even includes a "secret move" Nolf broke out last Thursday to start his season out with a win by fall in the opener against Army. He followed with the same outcome in Sunday's win against Bucknell, totaling seven takedowns before pinning Christian Bassolino at the 3:33 mark to crack into the Penn State top 10 in all-time falls with 31 in his career.

Sanderson is nothing short of impressed with what he's seen from Nolf through the years.

"Some of the stuff that he's doing are the kind of moves that you don't really do until you're done wrestling and you're playing around as a coach," Sanderson said. "He's fearless enough that he'll master it and throw it out there and he enjoys that." 

In his freshman season, Nolf came one win shy from winning a national championship, but last season took home the title at 157 pounds on a truly memorable night in St. Louis.  

While fans may love to see the bonus point victories, it's all about improving for Nolf.

"Nolf's just a guy when you talk about expectations people just expect to come and watch him score a ton of points," Sanderson said. "And if he doesn't you're wondering well what's wrong with him. You can see he's constantly working and playing with the sport and that's why he's better now than he was a year ago. Next year he'll be better than he is this year."

After his NCAA national championship in 2017, Nolf then turned to Team USA wrestling over the summer, placing third in US World Team trials and fourth in the US Open.

"I'm doing about the same stuff I've always been doing," Nolf said. "Just learning a lot of different things and working with my coaches on strength and on techniques. Just learning about new stuff." 

While dedicated to his craft day in and day out, it's a combination of things that make someone like top-ranked Nolf so unique. 

"Nolf's special," Sanderson said. "We'll probably never see anybody ever like him again. He's just unique and special and we're glad he's on our team."

Although out to a 2-0 start along with his team, for Nolf, it is individual success that motivates the group.

"I think we motivate each other as a team and as teammates," Nolf said. "The more one person does well, the more everyone else wants to do well. Our coaches are really good at getting us focused on what we need to be focused on. I think we all know what we want to do and that's what it comes down to."

The top-ranked Nittany Lions return to action Friday, on the road taking on Binghamton at 7 p.m.

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