Photo: Sonny Horn won his first match with a pin against Burlington Central during the IHSA DeKalb Regional on Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna
by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—When it comes time for postseason wrestling, a preferred mentality is “survive and advance.”
For KHS, it’s seven of its grapplers that put that mode of thinking to use and will live to pin another day.
At Saturday’s DeKalb Regional, the 2A grouping saw Kaneland finish third with 119 points, thanks to a couple of regional crowns to go along with second- and third-place finishes.
Sycamore’s 178-point total was king of the regional, allowing a sectional berth, while DeKalb was second with 145.5 points.
Rounding out the top five in the eight-team regional were Burlington Central with 109 and Belvidere North with 85 points of its own.
The two Knights claiming regional titles were heavyweight Zach Theis and 138-pound entry Dan Goress.
For Kaneland, the junior Theis continued Kaneland heavyweight fortune staked by graduate Jimmy Boyle and won the group with a pinfall in four minutes, 37 seconds over Rockford East’s Michael Estergard.
“Zach and Jimmy have a similar wrestling style,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “Theis is a bit bigger, about four inches taller and there’s not much difference in their footwork.”
Meanwhile, Goress, a junior, snagged his second consecutive regional nod with a 12-3 major decision victory over DeKalb senior Jacob Sommer in the final.
In the 220-pound final, senior Ben Kovalick lost to Sycamore’s Matt Copple in :43, but still moves on to Saturday’s action.
Stephen Gust secured a third-place finish in the 106-pound category after edging Belvidere’s Alex Ramirez by a 2-1 decision.
Teammate Connor Williams’ third place came as a result of a 7-5 win over Belvidere North’s Psalm Fambro in the 113-pound clash.
KHS 126-pound cornerstone Esai Ponce continued his strong season with a third-place win over Burlington Central’s Jon Wright by pinfall in 2:57.
Sonny Horn punched his ticket to Sterling, Ill., with a 12-4 major decision win to earn third place over Sycamore’s Zach Munro.
The next stop for Kaneland is the Sterling Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 11.