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March 18, 2017

Jason Nolf

St. Louis, Missouri

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by 157-pound national champion Jason Nolf from Penn State.

JASON NOLF: Pretty excited as you can tell by my face. But no, I'm more of a mellow, stoic kind of guy. But I was really excited scoring a lot of points out there. I still think I could have scored more. But that would just keep me ready for next year. And I'm really looking forward to watching my other teammates wrestle. Zain did a great job, and hopefully we can keep getting more bonus points.

Q. Jason, you're very much, personality-wise it seems, like Coach Cael Sanderson. You got the same kind of personality -- stoic guys, dry sense of humor, but you're fun to watch. You wrestle like him. You make up moves. You've got such a crazy high pace. How do you do it, man?
JASON NOLF: I think it's just having fun out there and just trying to create openings to score. Doesn't matter how you get on top of them, you just gotta figure out a way. So play wrestle a lot in practice, and I think that's where it comes from. And just wanting it.

Q. You and Zain all year have played a game of one-upmanship with bonus points and playing back to back. How much does it really drive you and motivate you to push for even more when you see him putting up big scores and big team points?
JASON NOLF: Yeah, I wanted to get the pin there in the finals. He was kind of hard to open up. I didn't really get a pinning combination up except for the one take -- I didn't even get the takedown either. But I had, in the third period, I had him on his back a little bit, but he fought it off, and the ref didn't really know what was going on.

So, yeah, I am looking to get a pin out there every time no matter what. And I'm kind of upset a little bit when I don't. So even though I just won the national title, I'm still looking to improve. But I'm really grateful for all of this.

Q. You guys must go some matches in practice. I mean, is it more difficult to beat your teammates who are all around the same size or the opponents, even here in the NCAA finals?
JASON NOLF: Yeah, I mean our guys are pretty good, as you can see. We've got five guys in the finals back to back to back to back to back. So those guys are definitely some of the toughest guys I get to wrestle.

We get to learn each other's -- how we wrestle. We're continuously evolving because we're competitive and we want to keep getting better and better and we all just help each other do that.

Q. We saw you give Cody a hug in the tunnel here. I think maybe a couple of other coaches as well. Can you talk about the importance of Cody and Casey to the team? And Cael credits the staff quite a bit. What do they bring that maybe we don't see all the time.
JASON NOLF: Those guys, they just do more individualized workouts. Cael kind of talks to the team as a whole and tries to help out everybody. And Cael and -- or Cody and Casey are more like individualized guys, so they're the ones that kind of tell us what we should be and what we should be doing, what time we should start warming up.

And so I mean a lot of the credit goes to those guys because they take a lot of time, they look back past years what they've done. And they know what they're doing. So I love my coaches and I'm excited for another few years with them.

Q. After the last season, getting to the finals and not getting in --
JASON NOLF: Yeah, there's a video of it right there.

Q. How much of was it a motivation and does it still motivate you?
JASON NOLF: Yeah. It was super heartbreaking last year. That was my goal, it was my goal to be a four-time national champ. That obviously stopped that. So Martinez is a great competitor, and I have a lot of respect for the way he wrestles. And I just, I didn't score more points on him that day.

So I just continuously look to score more points and create opportunities like I keep saying. But that's what it's about. You can't have a close -- you can have a close match, but you don't want to if you can help it. I could have ridden that guy out a little bit longer and try to work on top a little bit and won the match 5-3. But that's not what I want to do.

I don't want to leave it up to a last-second takedown kind of like it was last year. I guess we were tied last year and took me down with like 30 seconds left. So I don't want to leave it up to that. I want to be able to get taken down at the end of the match and still be up 13 points. I guess that wouldn't really work out, but 12 points.

So, although I don't want to ever get taken down, but it doesn't matter to me if I do. I just keep scoring and scoring and scoring and keep the pace.

Q. Could you talk about this group of five or whoever this is, do you call yourself like a fraternity? Like today during the All-American round, a lot of you were here, why is it? Is it just a tradition? And I need to ask you more about this personality, this stoic, have you always been like this?
JASON NOLF: Yeah, I used to be really, like, when I would get interviewed I would just say yes or no the whole time. The guys would be, like, give us some answers. But I kind of guess I've always been that way.

I've opened up a lot more. And, yeah, I mean our team's really good. I'm just going to keep saying that. But we've got a lot of really good guys on our team, even guys that aren't even starting, guys like Jimmy Gulibon -- I still think he's the best 141-pounder in the country even though he didn't compete. I thought he wrestled really well. And guys like Nick Suriano, who weren't even in the lineup. We just had -- we have a really good training program. And it's a lot of fun to be a part of.

Q. There's so many just freaks in your room, David Taylor. Obviously Coach Sanderson, both of them. And Coach Cunningham. I hear myth and folklore of him. The guy has got a motor. He trains. Is that who you train with the most? Who is your main workout partner? What are the goes like with Zain? Who are the main two, three guys? Is Coach Cunningham one of them?
JASON NOLF: He's not one of them. He's usually going with one of the bigger guys like Mark or Bo. They asked him, like, three weeks ahead of time. No, but anytime I ask Coach Casey to go, he's like, I got Bo or Mark or Nevills. I work out with Coach Cody a lot because he's a guy who knows what he's talking about, and he kind of knows know how to wrestle like these other guys do. And it's just great experience, and I've also wrestled Zain a lot. We go hard. So a lot of fun.


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