Former Franklin Regional wrestlers keep Olympic dreams alive

Saturday, May 28, 2022 | 11:01 AM

Josh Shields and Nico Megaludis aren’t ready to hang up their headgear just yet.

The Franklin Regional grads recently competed in the U.S. Open freestyle wrestling tournament and the World Team Trials and just came up short of making the team.

But they’re looking for another shot down the road at making the World Team or the Olympic team.

Shields finished second in the U.S. Open, falling to Kittanning grad and former Penn State wrestler Jason Nolf in the 74-kilogram finals.

He also competed in the World Team Trials where he was hoping for another shot at Nolf, but came up short.

Megaludis won the 61-kg title at the U.S. Open, but fell in the semifinals in the World Team Trials.

“It was a tough tournament,” Shields said before boarding a plane and flying home to Pittsburgh. “I’m glad I competed. I learned so much about myself and it will make me a better coach.”

Shields, 28, coaches high school wrestlers at the Ahwatukee Club in Phoenix. He graduated from Arizona State.

“I learned how to be a better hand fighter, and I have to work on perfecting two or three offensive moves,” Shields said. “I have to learn how to keep my opponents from scoring. It’s a lot different at this level. I have to feel comfortable in 1-0 matches.

“I have to be confident in those matches, and I think I’m getting closer. I felt myself getting better.”

Shields said he has to credit Mark Perry, a coach at Arizona State, for making him a better wrestler. He’s a two-time All-American and was a PIAA champion in 2015.

“I’ll just keep working hard,” Shields said. “My goal is to at least keep the dream going until 2028.”

For Megaludis, he’s back on working hard to get back on the mat after a few injuries sidelined him.

Megaludis was a national champion, a three-time finalist and a four-time All-American at Penn State. He was a three-time PIAA champion. His high school career record was 170-1.

Both wrestlers have had to overcome some injuries. Shields injured his ribs in the World Team Trials.

Another former Franklin Regional grad is on the move. Michael Kemerer, who recently graduated from Iowa, said he’s headed to Ithaca to train at Cornell. He made the announcement on Twitter.

Kemerer was a five-time All-American at Iowa. He will join Spartan Combat RTC as a resident athlete and to assist with coaching.

He said Spartan Combat RTC provides him with an opportunity to develop on and off the mat.

Kemerer recently had shoulder surgery.

He said his No. 1 goal is to get healthy and back on the mat. He’s looking forward to sharing his knowledge and influencing younger wrestlers.

Kemerer finished in the top four of the NCAA four times.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .


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