SHORT GAP - 35-12, 44-10, 32-5 and 50-4. If you tally up Noah Kiszka's four-year numbers from his wresting career at Frankfort, you'll see the talented grappler accumulated an impressive record of 161-31 in total. That's a winning percentage of 84 percent over four years. More impressively, in his junior and senior seasons combined, Kiszka's combined 82-9 record ups that mark in his final two years to 90 percent.
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - 35-12, 44-10, 32-5 and 50-4. If you tally up Noah Kiszka’s four-year numbers from his wresting career at Frankfort, you’ll see the talented grappler accumulated an impressive record of 161-31 in total. That’s a winning percentage of 84 percent over four years. More impressively, in his junior and senior seasons combined, Kiszka’s combined 82-9 record ups that mark in his final two years to 90 percent.
As an upperclassman, Noah finished his junior season as a regional finalist in arguably the state’s toughest region, and advanced to the state wrestling tournament in Huntington, where he reached the winners podium in sixth place. As a senior, Kiszka again finished as a regional finalist in West Virginia’s brutal Region I, and again advanced to the state tournament in Huntington, this time climbing higher on the winner’s podium to finish third in the state.
After his storied wrestling career at Frankfort, Noah Kiszka now turns his eye and focus to the collegiate level. After much thought and deliberation, Kiszka is excited to announce that he will continue his academic and wrestling careers at Division II Fairmont State University where he will major in Criminal Justice. Transitioning from a Columbia Blue and Silver-clad Falcon to one of Maroon and White, Noah signed on the dotted line, officially committing Wednesday night, April 15.
Wrestling was added back as the 17th sport for Fairmont State Athletics in 2019, after a hiatus dating back to the 1982-1983 seasons. The Fighting Falcons compete in the Division II Mountain East Athletic Conference. While really just getting things off the ground, Fairmont finished sixth in the Mountain East Conference Championships in their first season back on the mat in 36 years.
The newness of the program appeals to Kiszka, as he feels as if he really has a chance to leave his mark while becoming successful at the next level. According to Kiszka, “They have good academics, and it’s a new program, so you have that motivation to be the first conference champion, national qualifier, or All-American.”
After the doldrums set in at the conclusion of the state wrestling tournament this year, Kiszka was somewhat uncertain as to what his next step would be. Those doldrums turned to excitement when Fairmont State popped unto Noah’s radar.
“After states I was getting down on myself and didn’t know if I was even going to wrestle in college. I had talked to some schools but didn’t commit and like two or three days after I got a message from Coach Freije, and I knew pretty much that day that that’s where I was going to go,” Noah explains.
Wrestling, as much if not more than any sport, requires extreme self-discipline and commitment, traits that Kiszka has exhibited in spades in his career at Frankfort, doing everything possible to better himself.
According to Frankfort head wrestling coach Jason Armentrout, “Noah is one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever coached. He did everything to make himself a better wrestler that he could do. For the last four years he ate and breathed wrestling, he lived on the mat. His hard work paid off as he went further up the ladder each year. Only three points separated him from the state champion in his weight class.”
According to Armentrout, “I think he will do well at Fairmont State. He and I talked a little about this last winter. I really felt Fairmont would be a perfect fit for him, and it’s close to him. Proximity was one of the points I made when I talked about this with him. He made the choice, and I think he made a good one. I think he will do well there, and I think he will wrestle well at the Division II level.”
For his part, Kiszka knows wrestling at the collegiate level and just college life in general will be a challenge, but these are challenges Noah is willing to accept, “I feel most of what I’ve been doing will stay the same, the workouts, dieting, etc. The challenge will be taking all of it to the next level and being more disciplined with everything. I know I’m there for two reasons, to get my education and to win wrestling matches.”
It’s a journey that began when Noah was young, but eventually he knew wrestling and wrestling collegiately was the ultimate goal. “I started in Frankfort Mat Club and fell in love with it from the start. When I went to a camp my freshman year, I got to wrestle college guys for the first time. I got beat up pretty good, but it was so cool to see how good they are, and I’ve wanted to be that good since I went.”
As for his career at Frankfort, Kiszka’s proud of the legacy he’ll leave behind and there’s an assurance that he did everything possible to become a better wrestler. Noah met most of the goals he set for himself, falling short only by not winning a state championship. “I would say my career was pretty consistent. I won tough matches, wrestled the best, and I trusted my coaches. I achieved most of my goals for myself, except for one, which will sting for a while,” Kiszka explains.
In terms of his experience as not just an athlete but rather a student-athlete, Kiszka feels as if his time at Frankfort High School has prepared him for the rigors of college academia, “FHS prides themselves on academic success, I don’t think you will find another school that has as much care for their students as Frankfort. The staff also makes sure every student gets every opportunity they can get, it’s a great school.”
While the driving force and reason behind Kiszka’s success on the mat and in the classroom is hard work and dedication, Noah is the first to admit that he’s received a tremendous amount support throughout his journey.
“I could write a book on how much everyone has helped me through it all. I started wrestling for Frankfort assistant coach Coach Dave Peer in the seventh grade when I started practicing with the high school. If you’ve been to a match you can see what our relationship is like. Goofy, but serious when it’s time. We did so much together, and I am going to miss him so much. I don’t think you will be able to see how much of a blessing he is, until you wrestle for him,” Kiszka stated.
According to Noah, “Coach Armentrout has been there from the start as well, pushing me every day to be the best wrestler I can be. The community helped me so much too, I never felt like I went into a match alone. I carried the support of everyone with me when I went out on the mat.”
But of course, most important in the chain of support is Kiszka’s family, “My mom and my sisters have been the most important things to me since I can remember. They supported me with every little thing I did, wrestling or not. I always got super nervous before all of my matches, but looking up and seeing them before I go out was what helped the most out of everything, because I knew no matter what my family wasn’t going to be upset with me over a wrestling match.”
Noah Kiszka leaves behind a wrestling legacy at Frankfort that will rank him among many of the best to don the Columbia Blue and Silver singlet in Short Gap. His accomplishments, the numbers at least, speak for themselves. Like every ultra-competitive wrestler, a rare breed even amongst the most dedicated of athletes, for Kiszka, there’s always that feeling as if there’s unfinished business to tend to.
With high school drawing to a close and college on the horizon, Noah now looks to Fairmont State where a new set of goals, this time at the collegiate level, awaits. In many ways, a golden opportunity awaits for Kiszka to make his mark in a program at Fairmont State that’s really just getting started. Way back when, Noah Kiszka was just getting started as well. 161 career high school wins and two trips up the winner’s podium at the state wrestling tournament later, there’s no doubt as to what Noah Kiszka is capable of. Is it wresting season yet?