Knights send one of their own to State

Levita finishes second at sectional in 145 lbs. category
by Mike Slodki
While Champaign and its Assembly Hall are ususally tinged in orange-and blue, it will also have a black-and-white presence.

It comes in the form of Kaneland senior Jay Levita, who finished second in the 145-pound category during Saturday’s IHSA Class 2A Sectional at LaSalle-Peru High School.

Levita now adds his name to a sizable list of Kaneland State qualifiers.

Last year, Sean Szatkowski (112) and Jeff Stralka went to State. In 2006-2007, Szatkowski (103) was joined by 125-pounder Quinn Jahns and 189-pound entry Jake Goedken.

Goedken went for the first time as a junior in the 2005-2006 school year, while brother Marcus represented the Knights in 2004-2005.

Levita, who entered the gathering with a 29-10 record, faced Ottawa’s Anthony Brown in the second round after a bye. Levita solved Brown with an 11-1 major decision victory. Levita then defeated Rock Island’s Teighlor Echolds by a 12-5 margin before losing to Washington’s Dylan Reel in the final by a 2:45 pinfall.

Levita will face Springfield High School’s Dane Atwood (34-5) in the first round, with the winner facing Bremen’s Terrell Webster in the second. Webster comes in with a 30-2 record to Champaign.

Normal University High School freshman Alex Bee is also going to State, having finished third.
For Levita, the reasons are simple for his traveling down to wrestling’s elite group.

“It comes down to conditioning. Most of my matches are won that way. It’s my basic moves and that’s what I have to stick with.”

Wins over Sandwich’s Jake Hankes and Sycamore’s Sean Akins in the regional provided another needed boost for the senior.

“The two big wins at regionals really motivated me and kind of showed me that I could do it,” Levita said.
Heavyweight representative Jimmy Boyle was eliminated in the second round after receiving a bye by Bloomington’s Kyle McAvoy.

In the 215-pound group, Knight A.J. Wagner closed his career out with 4:38 pinfall loss to Mahomet-Seymour’s Charles Miller.

J.T. Webb, at 152 pounds, was defeated by Galesburg’s Ben LaFollette with a 20-5 technical fall.

Photo: Jay Levita makes life difficult for competition at the Sandwich Regional on Feb. 7. The senior faces Springfield’s Dane Atwood in Champaign this weekend. Photo by Ben Draper