All-stater Gust caps KHS wrestling’s Champaign trip

Photo: Stephen Gust took sixth at the Class 2A State meet last weekend. File photo

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.—As the 2011-12 wrestling season rolled on, it became apparent that this was a season that many Knights could be proud of.

Most notably, the efforts of Stephen Gust, Esai Ponce, Dan Goress and Ben Kovalick, or as you can call them, “State-level wrestlers.”

In the 106-pound grouping, Stephen Gust finished sixth overall for Class 2A.

Gust, coming into the three-day festival at 27-7, lost a 4-1 decision to Montini Catholic’s Tommy Pawelski, the eventual state champ.

Gust came back to beat Bloomington’s Steven Bradford in an 8-0 major decision wrestleback.

The quarterfinal wrestleback had Gust beat Johnsburg’s Branden Peshek in a 4-3 overtime matchup, before losing to Triad’s Cole Wysocki, 6-0 in the semifinal. Gust finished his weekend with a 6-5 loss to Richmond-Burton’s Grant Sutton in the fifth-place match.

In the 126-pound group, Ponce, who came in with a record of 39-5, lost to Lemont’s Jake Latanski in a 4-2 affair.

Dan Goress came into the 138-pound section at 32-4 and started in the prelims with a 10-6 handling of Lemont’s Bobby Bromberek, before succumbing to Triad’s Kyle Graumenz in an 11-6 meeting.

Sent to the wrestlebacks, the Knight rep came away with an 11-4 win over Niles Notre Dame’s Tim Donnelly, before finishing with a 9-7 overtime loss to Fenton’s Sean Havlovic.

220-pounder Kovalick began his State tour with a 1-0 win over Niles Notre Dame’s Ryan Walsh in the first round. However, Kovalick was defeated in 9-3 fashion by Nazareth Academy’s Malcolm Watson in the quarterfinals.

The senior cornerstone rebounded with a 3-2 overtime win over Decatur MacArthur’s Derek Schultz, but the day ended with an 11-3 major decision loss to Sycamore rival Matt Copple in the quarterfinal wrestlebacks.

The Knights’ dual record ended at 11-12 for the year, matching the win total of a year ago, and with four competitors to the gathering in Champaign, Ill., sent their biggest number in 18 seasons.