3’s a welcome crowd
Photo: Senior varsity wrestler Esai Ponce gets pulled down during his winning match against Freeport on Saturday. Kaneland hosted a quad tournament against Freeport, Wheaton-Warrenville and Burlington Central. Photo by Patti Wilk
Wrestlers get on right side of mat with sweep at KHS
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Coaches and wrestlers have often said the Knights tend to be a different tournament team than a dual team.
Freeport, Wheaton-Warrenville South and Burlington Central probably wish neither showed up on Saturday in Maple Park.
The Knights took it to the Pretzels 54-18, the Tigers 51-16 and the Rockets in a slim 34-33 affair to go 3-0 on the young 2012-13 season.
In last year’s head-to-head clashes, the Knights went 11-12.
Against the NIC-10 staple Pretzels, two forfeits gave the Knights an early 12-0 lead before Adam Mish was beaten 7-2 in the 106-pound encounter. KHS 113-pound entry Stephen Gust continued his trajectory from a year ago with a pin, and teammate Connor Williams won his 120-pound encounter in :50 over Brett Spradlin to go up 24-3.
Williams felt good about the ending, with his skills ready to give the team a boost.
“I’m feeling good; I’m taller this year,” Williams said. “The chance for six points is always there. We have to fill out a lot of weights, but I think we’ll be a pretty solid tournament team.”
Adding to the solid nature of the Kaneland group is Gust, who looks to capitalize on the sixth-place finish at 106 a year ago.
“It’s the first meet and so you get kind of nervous, but as soon as the whistle blows, you just start going,” Gust said.
After David Barnhart dropped a 5:26 pin against Nate Anderson in the 126-pound match, four more forfeits went the Kaneland way.
Zach Parker lost a 4-2 match against Brian Meiborg in the 170-pound match, with a double forfeit and a forfeit in the 195-pound match completing the scoring.
Against the DuPage Valley Conference rep Tigers, Kaneland got on the board with three straight forfeit wins for an 18-0 lead before Barnhart was pinned to make it 18-6.
Dane Goodenough emerged with a 7-5 win in 132-pound action, followed by a Sonny Horn win by 7-0 count at 138 to make it 24-6.
Knight 145-pounder Dan Goress took a 3-1 win for a 27-6 edge before a forfeit win and a 160-pound pin by Kaneland’s Zach Russell in 2:54 for a 33-6 lead.
After WWS secured a major decision, followed by a double forfeit and a 195-pound forfeit, 220-pounder Nick Sharp pinned his way to a win in 1:48, and Zach Theis’ 3:13 pin in heavyweight action closed the scoring and 35-point margin.
Facing the Rockets, KHS enjoyed an opening 17-0 lead after an 11-9 overtime win by Mish, a 13-2 major decision by Gust, an 8-2 decision by Williams, a 12-4 major decision for Barnhart and a 4-0 decision for Esai Ponce at 132 pounds.
Sonny Horn dropped a 7-3 encounter at 138 to make it 13-3, before Goress’ 1:51 pin gave KHS a 23-3 edge.
BC then went on a tear, earning pins at 152, 160 and 170 before taking forfeits in the 182 and 195 categories.
Down 33-23, Sharp stuck a three-minute pin at 220 to make it 33-29 before Theis’ 11-0 major decision tied the score, allowing the tiebreaker of most decisions to go Kaneland’s way for the win.
Ahead for Kaneland is a trip to Sycamore for dual action on Thursday, Nov. 29.