Photo: Kaneland’s Dan Goress wins the Class 2A State Wrestling Championship in the 145- pound weight class at the University of Illinois Champaign on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk
Goress wins state title for 1st KHS wrestling crown in 20 years
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland last saw one of its wrestlers crowned an individual state champion before current KHS senior Dan Goress was born.
After this weekend in Champaign, Ill., Goress has assured his name will be remembered for a long time.
For the first time since Scott Brewer captured the 145-pound title in 1993, Goress (41-3) became the seventh State champ in school history by taking the 145-pound category after Saturday’s action at Assembly Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois.
“It was really exciting,” Goress said. “During my match, I did what I needed to do to take the lead and didn’t want to make any mistakes. Once I won, I looked up into the stands and saw everybody cheering. It was a feeling that I can’t describe.”
Other State reps for Kaneland included heavyweight Zach Theis taking fifth place, and Esai Ponce in the 132-pound group.
In the preliminary opener, Goress’ skill carried him to a 4-2 decision over Springfield Haratio Austin.
“After my first match, I was really disappointed. They were like, ‘You gotta keep your head up, that’s what the matches are going to come down to.’ You can’t be mad because you won by two points,” Goress said.
Goress then got past Crystal Lake Central foe Kyle Fugiel in the second round by a 4-3 decision.
As part of semifinal competition, Goress defeated Mt. Vernon’s Chase Vosburgh, 5-3, giving Vosburgh just his second setback of the season.
For 145-pound glory in the final, Goress knocked off Montini Catholic counterpart Michael Sepke by a 3-2 margin.
“They’re all solid wrestlers. Every single one of those kids deserved to be down there,” Goress said. “I wasn’t going to get tech falls or major decisions; I was going out there to win. I wasn’t going to try to impress anybody.”
At 285 pounds, Kaneland’s Zach Theis (35-8) earned a 2:11 pinfall over Vernon Hills’ Joe Blitstein in the first round, then lost to Springfield Southeast’s Copache Tyler in 3:06.
Maneuvering his way into wrestlebacks, Theis took it to Tinley Park’s Danny Korycki in 2:09 and Freeport’s Kendal Parker in 3:09. In the semifinal wrestleback, Theis was edged by Chicago’s Lavontay Cobb of King High School by a 5-2 margin.
Theis earned redemption in the final match of his season, beating Northside Prep of Chicago’s Ben Mauk-O’Connor in 2:26 to earn fifth place.
At 132 pounds, Kaneland teammate Ponce (33-5) was defeated in his only match of the journey, losing 5-2 to Mike Gussarson of Antioch, the eventual fifth-place winner.
With the end of the 2012-13 campaign, the Knights say goodbye to David Barnhart, Goress, Stephen Gust, Sonny Horn, Ponce, Nick Sharp, Theis and Connor Williams.