Photo: Keagan Mattes took third place to help the Knight effort on Saturday. Kaneland took fourth as a team thanks in large part to Mattes’ performance in the 189-pound group. Photo by Mary Herra
ROCHELLE—Like KHS coach Monty Jahns said a week ago, Kaneland wrestling might just be a better tournament team than a dual team at this point.
That was put into action with the Knight grapplers leaving the Rochelle mats with a top-third finish at the first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII tournament.
With 161 points, Kaneland earned fourth out of 12 teams. Sterling hit a total of 219, edging Sycamore by a half-point. DeKalb was third with 170.5 points, ahead of KHS.
Yorkville was fifth at 154, followed by Morris at 125.5.
Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Dixon , Rochelle, Ottawa and Streator rounded out the rest of the lineup.
The five top finishers for the Knights have been proven stalwarts through the campaign thus far.
Dan Goress took home the championship for 130, thanks to a 12-5 decision over DeKalb’s Evan Jones.
Goress went to the final after a 10-6 win over Sterling’s Dylan Devers.
In the 152-pound bracket, Kyle Davidson lost a 14-4 major decision to Sterling’s Stevie Dewitt. Davidson reached the final with an 8-2 win over DeKalb’s Robbie Miller and a previous pin over Rochelle’s Bradley Mendez in two minutes, 11 seconds.
At 215, Ben Kovalick got to the finals by pinning DeKalb’s Alex Roach in 3:09 and Sycamore’s Matt Copple in 2:03, before losing to Sterling’s George Canales by 12-8 decision.
Third-place nods were gathered by heavyweight Jimmy Boyle and Keagan Mattes in the 189 group.
Boyle beat Rochelle’s Nate Rodefelt by 1-0 decision and Sterling’s Curtis Lilly in the third-place match, 3-0.
Mattes went to the third-place match by beating DeKalb’s Cullen Banta , 8-2, and solved Sycamore’s Jacob Davis in an 8-4 affair.