Nolting, a senior who had 14 pins through his first 16 matches, is the Class 5A defending champion at 220 pounds. He is ranked second behind St. Thomas Aquinas’ Ben Ewing.
What matters more to you, the pins or the wins?
“I’d say it’s more about being unbeaten. Pins are OK, but in the end, it just matters to me to win. Pins are just a way to win to me. It makes it easier, but winning is winning to me.”
If you could pick one way to win a match, would it be with a pin or overtime?
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“That’s a hard question. I guess an overtime win would probably be more fulfilling because I’d have to work harder for it.”
Is being a bit crazy important in order to be a successful wrestler?
“You have to learn to love the pain a little bit. A coach told me that one time, and it’s true because you have to learn to embrace the grind. Basically, you have to live, eat, breathe wrestling. It’s your life when you want it that bad.”
You were an All-Metro defensive lineman in 2013, but you left the football team before the 2014 season. Why?
“I realized I wanted to take the next step and focus on wrestling. I decided I really loved wrestling, and I decided that if I wanted to go to the next level with wrestling, I needed to change.… I’d say around the middle of last season, I decided that I wanted to strive to be the best wrestler in the world. I wake up every morning around 5:50 so I can be to school by 6:20. I’m there running in the morning, doing stairs, various exercises that no one else is doing. I’m giving it the extra push in practice when, in the back of your mind you want to quit, that’s when you take it up a notch and go a little harder.”
How much do you pump yourself up before a match?
“Sometimes I don’t really listen to music at all. I like to be calm when I go onto the mat. I feel like a lot of people get too psyched up. They’re out of composure and it’s like they’re not focused. (Being calm) helps me stay focused. I visualize the match, especially if it’s a big opponent. I go over what me and my coach have been working on that week.”