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Penn State Wrestling’s Jason Nolf To Face John Van Brill At NCAA Championships

The last time Jason Nolf lost a match, he was limping on one leg at the Rutgers Athletic Center, and both his and Penn State’s seasons were up in the air.

Nolf led John Van Brill 5-4 in the Nittany Lions’ dual against the Scarlet Knights last winter before being forced to medically default out with injury. A questionable series of events led to the injury, but basically, the two were caught in a physical scramble and Nolf’s leg got caught underneath. The exact nature of the exchange remains debated — although members of both sides are more than willing to tell you what they think. You can decide for yourself.

The two will meet again for the first time since the controversial match tonight in the second round of the NCAA Championships. Nolf pinned Duke’s Ben Anderson in his first round match, while Van Brill advanced off a major decision over Virginia Tech’s BC LaPrade.

Their one other meeting was a technical win by Nolf in the 2017 dual.

After sitting out nearly two months due to the injury, Nolf returned for the Big Ten Championships, which he forfeited out of after securing an autobid to nationals. At the NCAA Championships, Nolf completed his comeback by going 5-0, winning by decision three times and tech fall twice. His return made the difference in the team race that came down to the final bouts as Penn State narrowly held off Ohio State.

Van Brill, on the other hand, failed to place at NCAAs.

That return by Nolf from what remains an undisclosed leg injury was one of the most impressive feats in recent memory and perhaps a defining moment in his decorated career.

“Jason Nolf is one of a kind,” Cael Sanderson said in November. “Him returning and winning a national title under the conditions that he did last year was nothing short of a miracle.”

What’s more while fighting his way back to the finals, Nolf needed to adopt a modified, less aggressive style in order to protect his leg. Nonetheless, the normally nimble and daring Nolf relied more on skill than his “secret moves.”

“Obviously Nolf had to believe and had to be patient, and if you watch him wrestle, he’s not the most patient kid,” Sanderson said. “We just saw more than anything how tough he is as an individual and the strength of character he has.”

Here’s to hoping he doesn’t need to prove how tough he is this time around.

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About the Author

Anthony Colucci

Anthony Colucci was once Onward State’s managing editor and preferred walk-on honors student who majored in psychology and public relations. Despite being from the make-believe land of Central Jersey, he was never a Rutgers fan. If you ever want to know how good Saquon Barkley's ball security is, ask Anthony what happened when he tried to force a fumble at the Mifflin Streak. If you want to hear the story or are bored and want to share prequel memes, follow @_anthonycolucci on Twitter or email him at [email protected]. All other requests and complaints should be directed to Onward State media contact emeritus Steve Connelly.

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