Luke Nichter simply had no good reason to hold off on his college decision.
Nichter, who is finishing up his junior year at Chambersburg and is already a three-time PIAA placewinner in wrestling, took his first official visit this past weekend to his No. 1 school, Drexel University.
He will have no need to take any more visits, because he has decided to become a Dragon.
“They were the first school to contact me when it was allowed (Sept. 1), and they’ve always been my No. 1,” said Nichter, who also considered Maryland, Virginia Tech, Rutgers and Pitt. “I met the guys on the team this weekend and they were awesome — it seemed like they’d known me for years.”
Nichter has also known about the Dragons for years. For one thing, Drexel has developed a pipeline into Franklin County — former Chambersburg wrestlers Tanner Shoap and Garett Hammond have wrestled there, and Shippensburg’s Chandler Olson will be a junior next year.
For another, Drexel coach Matt Azevedo and especially top assistant Zach Sheaffer have visited the Lincoln Highway Wrestling Club for years.
“I’ve watched Garett and Tanner at Drexel and I wanted to follow them,” Nichter said, “and Zack Sheaffer has always come to the club to help out.”
Trojan coach Matt Mentzer said, “The Drexel guys were the first ones at his door, and they showed a lot of interest in him. And he feels comfortable with their staff, and so does his family.”
The Dragons are getting a good one. In his three years, Nichter has compiled an impressive 111-23 record. He has won two sectional titles, has a first and two seconds in District 3 Tournaments, and has placed sixth, runner-up and fourth in three PIAA Championships.
Drexel, which was the top academic wrestling team in the nation this past season with a 3.63 GPA, also offers a unique program that enables students to work in a co-op situation for a year and earn money. Nichter, who plans to study business, liked that idea.
“That’s good, because you can get experience at a real job and you can make some money doing it,” he said.
It also didn’t hurt that Philadelphia, where Drexel is located, is not that far from Chambersburg. His father Brian grew up in the Upper Darby area and Luke’s grandparents live within 30 minutes of Philly.
Nichter plans to wrestle again at 170 for his senior season, then at 174 or 184 in college.
“I know I’ll need to get stronger,” he said. “I’ll need to use my hands more to attack and score points. And just maturing, too.”
And the best part of having made his decision — he doesn’t have to make a decision anymore.
“I was planning to wait closer to when school starts up again,” Nichter said, “but I went there and liked it so much that it made it easy. I didn’t want to wait anymore.”
Four Trojans who graduate this spring are expected to wrestle in college next year: Cole Grove at Pitt-Johnstown, Spencer Runshaw at Shippensburg and Seth Runshaw at Seton Hill — all Division II schools — and Guy Lozius at Div. III Southern Virginia.