Category Archives: Wrestling

Wrestlers compete at preseason Nationals

Photos: Kaneland sophomores Riley Vanik (above, left) and Colin Gussman (below, left) earned All-American honors at Saturday’s preseason Nationals meet in Iowa. Photo submitted by Stephanie Vanik to sports@elburnherald.com

CEDAR FALLS, IOWA—Six Kaneland students competed in the annual preaseason Nationals meet, which took place on Oct. 25 at the UNI-Dome at the University of Norther Iowa.

A pair of KHS sophomores earned All-American status with their efforts. Riley Vanik placed fifth in the 160-pound division, while Colin Gussman was seventh in the 170-pound division.
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Also taking part in the tournament were Kaneland juniors George Strang and Austin Parks, as well as eighth-grader Nathan Orosco and seventh-grader Brenden Parks.

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Summer basics

Orosco’s offseason spent making imprint on grapplers
KANELAND—With his hiring in late-May, new Kaneland Knights wrestling coach Joe Orosco could be spotted last week in the Wisconsin Dells area.

It was anything but a breezy four days.

Orosco helmed the Knights through the Malacek Team Wrestling Camp—through clinics and duals—and feels good in the offseason before the 2014-15 campaign.

“There isn’t going to be a big learning curve,” Orosco said. “It’s just about getting to know the kids, and I’ve seen and worked with 10 or 12 of these kids already through various levels and clubs.”

With the Monty Jahns era coming to an end after seven seasons, the good news is Orosco, an Aurora police officer, doesn’t have to deal with a complete reteaching of what it means to have success on the mat. The last two seasons have seen an uptick in dual and conference success and a steady stream of qualifiers for the Champaign mats. Orosco, a former East Aurora mat warrior, is taking the summer to build a steady foundation.

“It’s a lot easier to go at it with this group,” Orosco said. “It’s less about teaching the sport than it is building up the basics.”

Orosco has worked as an assistant with Martinez Fox Valley Elite Wrestling Club, Knights Wrestling Club and East Aurora wrestling, as well as being head coach for Waldo Middle School in Aurora.

The Knights coach got acclimated pretty quickly in the Badger state setting.

“My voice is hoarse from yelling so much on the sidelines. You’re working a lot, especially with your kids in there,” Orosco said.

Orosco has four months until the ramp-up to the season starts in earnest, but his experience and his learning process stand to serve him admirably.

“Steve Kenyon of East Aurora and Joe Martinez of the Martinez Wrestling Club are who I looked up to the most,” Orosco said. “They really helped me in a lot of ways.”

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KHS wrestlers hope to raise funds for camp, volunteer 500 hours of community service

Photo: Members of the Kaneland High School wrestling team have volunteered nearly 500 hours of community service throughout the Kaneland area this spring. Here, the Knights spread mulch for a Sugar Grove resident. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—The Kaneland High School wrestling team will be at both the Sugar Grove and Elburn Jewel-Osco stores this Saturday in an effort to raise funds for members of the team to attend the Malecek Team Camp in Wisconsin during the week of June 23. The team is making a final push to raise the funds needed to send 24 wrestlers to the camp. The team is seeking monetary donations during its time at the Jewel-Osco locations, and will be telling their stories of the community service they have provided this spring throughout the Kaneland area.

In its third year, the team’s spring fundraiser has seen the Knights volunteer over 1,400 hours of community service—ranging from helping seniors with spring cleaning to volunteering at the Northern Illinois Food Bank—and the team is close to its goal of 500 hours this spring alone.

If you are unable to meet the wrestlers at one of the Jewel-Osco locations on Saturday, you can send monetary donations of any amount to Kaneland Knights High School Wrestlers (an Illinois not for profit), 104 Maple Street, Sugar Grove, IL 60505. All funds are used to assist the wrestlers directly.

Just one try for Justin

Heavyweight Knight’s opening match his only one as part of State field
CHAMPAIGN, ILL.—There would be no repeat performance for KHS wrestling in 2014’s version of the State tournament.

On the State Farm Center mats on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill., the Kaneland presence didn’t include an individual state title, like Dan Goress at 145 pounds a year ago.

However, the Knights still boast a state qualifier in heavyweight senior and future Indiana State Sycamore Justin Diddell, now by definition one of the top 16 285-pounders in Class 2A.

Diddell, who was a first-time qualifier, finished his 2013-14 campaign with a record of 32-9 after a Friday first-round loss to Taylorville competitor Blake Hooper. Hooper bested Diddell 3-2, and was the eventual sixth-place finisher at 285.

The finals of the heavyweight field came when Highland’s Tanner Farmer beat Montini Catholic’s Michael Johnson with a pinfall in 2:25.

Lone Knight Diddell had originally advanced to State thanks to a second-place finish at the Pontiac Sectional, while teammate Austin Parks was the next-best finisher for Kaneland in the 160-pound field at fifth.

A year ago, the Knights sent Goress, Stephen Gust, Esai Ponce and Zach Theis, Diddell’s predecessor, to the Champaign dance.

With the end of the 2013-14 season in the books, Kaneland says goodbye to seniors Brian Endrenal, Cullen Murray, Dane Goodenough, Jonathan Terry, Diddell, Kegan Workman, Sam Madriz and Zach Russell.

Encouraging for the Knight attack is the potential return of the remaining eight sectional qualifiers in juniors Nick and Adam Mish, freshman Matthew Redman, freshman Riley Vanik, sophomore George Strang, Parks, junior Tom Price and sophomore Zack Parker.

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A better State

Diddell powers through for lone Knight Champaign berth
KANELAND—Pontiac’s Class 2A Sectional can dampen the dreams of most any wrestler wishing to advance to the individual State tournament this weekend.

Fortunately for Kaneland High School, the wrestling dream remains alive for one.

Heavyweight contender Justin Diddell was the lone Knight to make it through the Pontiac gathering to become the 285-pound runner-up.

“I just knew I had to wrestle my hardest every step of the way,” Diddell said. “I had great friends there backing me up that weren’t even wrestling, which helped a lot with the nervousness and calming me down. Then I had to go through two honorable mention kids to make it into the finals.”

Six other Knights’ seasons were stopped in their tracks after tournament action.

In 2012-13, three Knights made it, including 145-pound State champ Dan Goress.

At 32-9, Diddell, bound for I-AA Indiana State for football, is set to face Taylorville entry Blake Hooper at 36-5, according to brackets released on Sunday.

Hot off capturing a Belvidere Regional title the previous week for the third-place Knights, Diddell got down to business with a quarterfinal win over Pontiac’s Andrew Mays in 2:59. In the semifinals, the Kaneland rep took a pinfall over Peoria Notre Dame’s Dom Tudor with 34 seconds remaining in regulation.

The final brought sectional glory for Diddell, despite the loss in 2-1 fashion to Geneseo’s Nick Verbeck.

At 113 pounds, Adam Mish lost in the consolation second round by 9-3 decision to Lincoln-Way West Larry Cozzo. In the 145-pound consolation bracket, Knight Riley Vanik was defeated by Dixon’s Kylian Lally by 12-4 major decision to see his season end. At 152 pounds, George Strang was ousted by Belvidere’s KC Pavlak by 5-0 count in the consolation second round. In 160-pound action, Knight Austin Parks defeated Morton’s Kartal Bakirdan by 10-0 major decision, but lost in the semi to eventual State-goer Rigo Fraire of Sandwich by 3:45 pinfall. 170-pound transfer Tom Price got a 6-0 win over Scott Schulte, but lost in the consolation semifinal to Crete-Monee’s Brandon Hannigan, 6-3. At 182 pounds, Zach Parker saw his season end by 10-3 decision to Sterling’s William Canales.

While the entire 2A field is, by definition, great, Diddell views everyone on somewhat equal footing.

“This is the first time I’ve qualified, and I’ve been wrestling since my sophomore year. If you just get in, you have an equal shot because everybody can be beat. Nobody is a God,” Diddell said.

The State tournament goes from Thursday to Saturday, Feb. 20-22, at the State Farm Center mats in Champaign, Ill., with tickets either $8 or $10 per session. The action can also be viewed on www.IHSA.tv.

Senior Justin Diddell place first at the Belvidere Regional

In proper position

Photos courtesy of Stefanie Vanik
Third-place at tough sectional paves way for potential state berths
KANELAND—Call them the lucky seven.

After a third-place finish at the Class 2A Belvidere Regional, however, the rest of the field at this weekend’s Pontiac Sectional might see their fortunes run out, once they face the Knights.

Paced by heavyweight regional king Justin Diddell, the Knights’ 124-point total was good for third in the nine-team setup.

Sandwich took the regional with 174 points, followed by rival Sycamore’s 130. Belvidere (122.5) and Marengo (92.5) rounded out the top five. Belvidere North and Boylan Catholic of Rockford tied for sixth with 80. Burlington Central and Joliet Catholic brought up the rear with 34 and 31, respectively.

A year ago at the Sycamore Regional, the Knights finished second and also advanced seven.

While the regional championship mantle was less full this go-around, the Knights still maintain enough to do damage the rest of this postseason.

Besides Diddell, the Knights plan to brandish 160-pound second-placer Austin Parks, 170-pound runner-up Tom Price, and third-place grapplers Adam Mish (113), Riley Vanik (145), George Strang (152) and Zac Parker (182).

Diddell’s day began with a :41 second fall over Deon Roby of Belvidere, with the finals going the Knights’ way after a 1-0 edging of Sycamore rival, Devin Knight.

Parks beat Sycamore’s Michael Beaudoin by 12-0 major decision in his semi challenge before falling to capable Sandwich Indian Rigo Fraire by 3:45 pinfall in the final.

Price, who has had a productive first year as a transfer, got past Boylan’s Austin Middleton by 1:01 stick and Marengo’s Brandon Dierkes by 1:34 pinfall. In the finals, Price was upended by Sycamore’s Austin Armstrong in 51 seconds.

In the 113 category, Mish found his way to the consolation bracket, where he pounded Belvidere wrestler Jonathan Sanchez in a 15-2 major decision.

Vanik, getting a taste of the postseason attrition as a freshman, beat Spartan counterpart Andrew Larsen 14-6 in a major decision win. After a semifinal loss to Boylan’s Joey Bartolino and a consolation slot, Vanik recovered by beating BC’s Ray Coklan in 3:05 and beat Hilltopper Cameron Haney in a 17-10 slugfest for the invite to next weekend.

Strang wrote his ticket for this weekend by placing third in the 152-pound category. Beginning with a 13-7 win over Sandwich foe Jesse Brunoehler, Strang was then defeated by Sycamore’s Michael Ernster, 3-0. In the consolation bracket, the Knight recovered with a 3:17 pin of a Marengo opponent before outlasting BC’s Christan Quiles in a 4-3 final.

Parker’s journey began with a 6-2 win over Belvidere’s Gage Brewer, but after a tech fall loss to Sycamore’s Christopher Malone, the KHS sophomore beat BC’s Kyle Blankenburg by 7-3 count before solving Brewer once again in 5-2 fashion.

The Knights’ journey for statehood continues on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15, on the Pontiac High School grounds with the eligible qualifiers from the LaSalle-Peru, Geneseo and East Peoria Individual Regionals.

All cylinders

KHS continues to roll in duals, ends regular season with close win vs. Batavia

BATAVIA—It doesn’t matter the caliber of opponent—Kaneland wrestling makes sure the foe has its mat work cut out for it.

The latest example was a 37-32 win over former conference rival Batavia at the Bulldogs’ refurbished fieldhouse on Friday.

The notch in the Knights’ favor cements their dual record for the 2013-14 season at a stellar 15-7, up from 13-13 last year and 11-12 in 2011-12.

“As a dual team, we’re a little bit better than the last two years,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “The frosh/soph guys are doing great, and the upperclassmen are hanging in there.”

The win also bests last year’s 42-30 regular season ender in Maple Park to Batavia. Two years ago saw Kaneland earn a tiebreaker in a 31-31 contest.

There were wins aplenty for KHS, beginning at 106 pounds, with Austin Kedzie pinning Mike Orlow at 1:57. Matthew Redman took a 12-11 decision in the 126-pound battle, followed by an 11-2 major decision for 132-pound entry Hayden Patterson.

At 138 pounds, Dane Goodenough earned a 60-second pinfall over Marc Goodin, while teammate Riley Vanik took the 145-pound mantle in 2:06. George Strang took a 3-2 decision over 152-pound rival Eric Wallerstein, while Austin Parks won the 160 match over Derek Nutley, 11-6 and fellow Knight Tom Price worked to a 3:35 pinfall at 170 to complete the Kaneland run.

“It’s a solid team,” Jahns said. “They are constantly improving, and we have guys like (285-pound) Justin Diddell leading the way with 28 wins. Our goal is to get down to Champaign (Ill., site of dual team finals).”

Up next for the Knights is postseason territory on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Belvidere Regional. Teams include Belvidere, Belvidere North, Burlington Central, Joliet Catholic, Marengo, Boylan Catholic, Sandwich and Sycamore. Last year’s postseason journey yielded a 145-pound State crown for graduate Dan Goress.

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Diddell wins conference crown

Team places sixth
STERLING, ILL.—Sterling High School housed quite the collection of wrestling talent on Saturday, as Kaneland found out firsthand.

Earning some individual glory and having to deal with capable talent in both Northern Illinois Big XII divisions, the Kaneland Knights wrestling squad finished in sixth place with 112.5 team points.

The kings of the conference turned out to be Yorkville with a total of 237 points, followed by Geneseo with 219.5. Rounding out the top five schools were DeKalb at 180, Sycamore at 127.5 and LaSalle-Peru at 120. After Kaneland, Sterling finished seventh with a 110 score, and Ottawa took eighth at 96. Morris, Rochelle and soon-departing Dixon and Streator completed the lineup with 67, 60.5, 37 and 21, respectively.

A year ago, Kaneland finished fifth at the NIB-12 meet in Sycamore.

The Knights saw one of their own get to the first-place promised land, as 285-pound juggernaut Justin Diddell owned his weight class, much like graduate Dan Goress did a year ago at 145.

Austin Parks managed a third-place finish in the 160-pound category, and teammates Matthew Redman (126) and Nick Mish (106) took fourth-places for their afternoon effort.

Other KHS action featured Adam Mish (113) managing a fifth, while Zach Parker (170) and Riley Vanik (145) took sixth places.

For Diddell, action began with a win over L-P foe Jon Hewitt in 31 seconds, and a semifinal win over Geneseo’s Nick Verbeck in 3:49. In the heavyweight final, DeKalb’s Alex Roach fell victim to a Diddell pinfall in 3:21.

In the 160-pound landscape, Parks began with a win over L-P rival Mike Milasuski by 1:02 fall before falling to Yorkville Fox Tyler Wilkinson in 2:51. Parks recovered in the consolation semi by beating Sycamore’s Michael Beaudoin in 2:30 before acing Cole Hunzeker of Geneseo in the third-place match by a final of 7-2.

Redman beat Logan Mathey of Sycamore, 5-2 to kick things off, before losing to Geneseo’s Hunter Grau by 20-5 count. In the consolation semifinal, Redman recovered sufficiently to beat Dixon’s Jake Johnson by 8-0 major decision. In the third-place match, Redman fell to DeKalb foe Izaiah Webb, 15-13.

Nick Mish began the day with a loss to Geneseo’s Tumbo Tumbarello by 8-4 count, and then regained composure by beating Morris’ Tony Menozi in 5:11. Moving on to the consolation semi, Mish beat Sterling host Tyrone Long in :41 before losing to Yorkville’s Hunter Vester by 4-0 count.

Ahead for the Knight roster is the traditional end-of-regular season tussle with former conference rival Batavia in the Bulldogs’ newly refurbished fieldhouse on Friday, Jan. 31.

Photos by Patti Wilk:

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Wrestlers continue to roll

Photo: Riley Vanik throws his opponent to the mat during Saturday’s Tournament at KHS. Vanik took second place in the 145-pound bracket. Zach Parker (below) was Kaneland’s lone tournament champ, winning the 182-pound bracket. Photos by Patti Wilk

KHS takes second at Flott, hands Morris convincing loss
KANELAND—Kaneland High School wrestling is 16-7 in dual competition, which is a decent story in itself.

It’s the convincing way the grapplers have won 16 of 23 duals that has been the main detail.

Before KHS battled its way to a second-place finish at its own Flott Memorial Tournament on Saturday, the Morris Redskins learned firsthand what talent the Knights bring to Northern Illinois Big XII duals, with Kaneland on top 45-15.

At the Flott gathering in Maple Park on Saturday, the Knights’ 170.5 point total was 18.5 points behind Central Suburban Conference mainstay Niles North’s champion-worthy total. At 155 points, Larkin was third, followed by Elgin in fourth at 148 points. NIB-12 rival Rochelle was fifth at 130.5 points, while Plainfield North brought up the rear with 103.5 points.

The Knights had one first-place entry on the afternoon in the form of 182-pound Zach Parker, as well as seven others with a second-place finish.
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Parker defeated Niles North’s Zac Khaya by 4:35 pinfall and stuck Rochelle’s Eli Keating with a 60-second pinfall in the championship final.

The plethora of second-place honorees on the Kaneland side began with 113-pound entry Adam Mish, who beat Larkin’s Edgar Trejo by 7-0 count before dropping a 9-5 final to Hub Jeff Board. At 126 pounds, Matthew Redman finished second by beating Niles North’s Maykel Potros 6-1 and losing to Larkin’s Duke Bogicevic in 1:15. 138-pound asset Dane Goodenough took second by beating Larkin’s Joey Rahn in :54 and Plainfield North’s Dan Valenzio in 5:08, before losing to Joe Pazmino of Niles North 5-3.

Riley Vanik of the 145-pound group mowed through Niles North’s Joe Broton by technical fall before dropping a 12-4 major decision to Rochelle’s TC Hager in the final. At 160 pounds, it was Zach Russell finishing as runner-up after a 3:56 solving of Niles North’s Thomas Gaul and 11-8 loss to Elgin rep Devin Syavong. Tom Price of the 170-pound range began with a 1:17 pin of Plainfield North’s Bryan Bott, and beat Larkin’s Victor Cuevas in :38 before losing by DQ to Plainfield North’s Mark DiNardo in the final. In the heavyweight category, Justin Diddell beat Elgin’s Ariel Barraza in :38 and Niles North’s James Edmond by 4-3 count, before losing to Plainfield North’s Nick Wolf in 1:27.

In the dustup with the Redskin rivals, Kaneland got on a roll early with a 7-2 win for Parker over Ryan Kowalczyk and a 195-pound win for Cullen Murray over Morris’ Victor Toissant, 10-3. After a forfeit, Diddell picked up the slack with a 2:45 pinfall over Andrew Faught to begin a five-match win streak for KHS. Nick Mish won a 10-4 decision over Tony Menozi at the 106-pound mark, followed by Adam Mish at 113 pounds taking a 6-1 decision over Morris’ Andrew Smith. KHS teammate Jacob Shearer, at 120 pounds, took a 1:39 pin, followed by Matthew Redman winning his 126-pound match with Dominic Byerly just 34 seconds before regulation ended.

“I don’t really know what to say, we’re just having a really good year and we have a young team,” Redman said. “We’re succeeding with it.”

The Knights ended up with three more victories in the form of Luke Eggenberger at 132 pounds over Morris’ Hunter Herman (2:42 pin), Vanik with a 6-0 win over AJ Vota, and a 1:17 Russell pin over Ryan Olsen.

It was a satisfying win for the group, especially on Senior Night.

“It was nice for the seniors and for the underclassmen to get the pins where they needed them,” KHS coach Monty Jahns. “It was huge and fun. It’s been a really good year so far.”

Ahead for the Knights crew: the Northern Illinois Big XII meet housed by Sterling on Saturday, Jan. 25.

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Kaneland wrestlers see Hub of action

Photo: Medal-winners from the Sycamore Invite. Photo submitted by Stephanie Vanik via email

Grapplers also partake in Sycamore Invite
KANELAND—Before the deep freeze that hit the roads toward the weekend, it was Kaneland High School wrestling that put the chill on Rochelle’s road to victory.

A Northern Illinois Big XII dual in Ogle County on Thursday yielded a 53-18 win for Kaneland, which improved its record to 15-7 through 22 duals. Kaneland was 10-12 after the same amount of head-to-heads in 2012-13.

KHS also took to the Sycamore Invite mats on Saturday and took 12th of 25 outfits.

Two forfeits and a loss for Kaneland were quickly thrown to the wayside when 126-pounder Matthew Redman took a major decision victory over Hub Julian Hernandez, 11-0. At 138 pounds, Dane Goodenough won his own major decision by 8-0 count over Joe Goshko. 152-pound entry George Strang bested foe Alex Eckhardt by a 7-2 final, followed by Austin Parks taking the 160-pound match over Jacob Scarbrough in 3:27. Teammate Tom Price, at 170 pounds, put the hurt on Cole White with a 2:28 pinfall. Three matches down the weight list, heavyweight asset Justin Diddell took home a :24 pin.

In Sycamore, it was Hononegah, Grant and Bloomington taking the top three spots with 634, 584.5 and 498.5, respectively. Kaneland’s total encompassed 309 points, seven ahead of Cary-Grove.

The top three finishers for the Knights outfit were Diddell finishing fifth, Redman taking sixth and Price taking seventh in their categories.

In the heavyweight category, Diddell started with a 9-1 major decision over Rock Island’s Daveonte Jackson, before beating Marian Catholic’s Mitchell Taylor in 2:29 via pinfall. After getting dropped by Bloomington’s Ryan Rembert in 2:29, Diddell came back in the consolation bracket by outlasting Cary-Grove’s Michael Gomez by 5-2 count. In the final action, Diddell captured fifth by beating Belvidere North’s Jake Rodgers in 5:41.

Redman’s day began with a 9-0 major decision over Pontiac’s Billy Burns, followed by a 4-2 win over Sycamore rival Logan Mathey. The Kaneland rep fell to Belvidere North’s Psalm Fambro in 3:01, before nabbing a 7-1 decision over Rock Island’s Drew VanDeWoestyne. In the fifth-place encounter, Redman was defeated by Cary-Grove’s Sean Cullen by 3-0 count.

For Price, the invite began with a 5:04 pin over Woodstock North’s Randall Kline, but the quarterfinal match went the way of Hononegah’s Tyler DeMoss by 18-3 technical fall. Price then lost to McHenry’s Hayden Carey in 3:28 before claiming seventh place in a 13-5 major decision win over Willowbrook’s Elijah Rochel.

On Thursday, Jan. 16, the Knights host NIB-12 rival Morris in Maple Park.

Photos submitted by Stephanie Vanik via email

Slimming them down

KHS grapplers take close win from Plano, fall to Mundelein
KANELAND—Kaneland wrestling has had holes in its lineup in recent years, with some close wins going the other way that could have been in the pocket of the Knights.

This year, the six minutes of aggression is paying off more and more, showing itself in duals like Saturday’s encounter with Class A State qualifier Plano off of Route 34 that ended in a 30-29 win.

On Friday morning, Kaneland traveled to Richmond-Burton for a meet featuring multiple schools and fell to Lake County outfit Mundelein 48-16, but beat Woodstock 36-22 and Richmond-Burton 39-16.

Kaneland was 14-7 after the win over the Reapers and loss to Mundelein. The Knights were 10-11 after the same amount of meets a year ago.

In the win over Plano, it was Nick Mish taking a pin in the 106-pound match in 3:51 and Adam Mish sticking a pinfall at 113-pounds with just 27 ticks left in regulation. Matthew Redman managed a pinfall at 2:42 to claim 126-pound bragging rights, while Hayden Patterson won a 6-5 matchup at 132 pounds.

The final two victories of the dual went to George Strang at 152 pounds, thanks to a 5-3 squeaker, and transfer Tom Price at 170 pounds, winning in 3:24.

In the gathering that flipped the calendar to 2014, 160-pounder Austin Parks earned a 1:17 pin, while Price took a pin in 1:20. Redman also won a major decision by 8-0 count.

In the win over Woodstock, Parks took a 13-6 decision at 160. After several forfeits, Jacob Shearer of KHS took a major decision in 11-0 fashion in the 120-pound match. Redman solved his Silver Streak opponent with a 15-0 tech fall, and Dane Goodenough solved his 138-pound challenge by 1:09 pinfall.

Facing off against the host Richmond-Burton unit, Strang won a 7-0 decision, and Price won a pinfall in 3:09. A flurry of forfeits paved the way for Shearer’s 1:43 pin in the 120-pound match.

Kaneland had Northern Illinois Big XII competition scheduled for tonight at Rochelle.

Matted down

Kaneland’s lone holiday excursion to Palatine meet yields 21st place
KANELAND—Wrestling talent abounds in the northwest suburbs.

Kaneland High School wrestling found that out at the 59th Annual Berman Holiday Wrestling Classic hosted by Mid Suburban League standout Palatine on Friday and Saturday.

With a team score of 54.5, the Knights grabbed 21st out of 32 squads. Glenbard East (177), Oak Forest (165.5) and Lyons Township (162.5) claimed the top three overall spots.

Kaneland dealt with a load of tough challenges, but managed to get a fifth-, sixth- and seventh-place wrestler through to the end.

Heavyweight senior Justin Diddell captured a fifth-place nod after his Palatine showing. The senior beat Joliet West’s Houston Thomas by 6-3 decision. He then beat St. Patrick’s Rocco Curio in 5:07 before losing to Hinsdale Central’s Brian Allen in 5:21. In the lower half of the bracket, Diddell beat Hinsdale South’s Tommy Konkol in 1:51 and Warren’s Sawyer McCaffery by 8-6 count before losing to Glenbard East’s D’Andre Johnson in 3:24 to close out the weekend.

KHS junior Tom Price captured the lone sixth-place honor for Kaneland, beginning his weekend in the 170 group by 9-0 major decision win over East Moline U-High’s Preston Swanson. Price then lost to Zion-Benton’s Nick Whitehead in 3:01. Price then earned a 5-minute technical fall win over Delware-Hayes member Derrick Sumner, a 3:45 pin over Geneva’s Austin Chaon and a 2:48 pin over Bartlett’s Alex Montibrand before losing to Whitehead once again in 23 seconds.

In the 138-pound group, KHS senior Dane Goodenough earned seventh and started his journey by pinning East Moline U-High’s Jack Copeland in :52, but lost to Geneva’s Jordan Soto in 1-0 fashion. In the lower bracket, Goodenough beat Mundelein’s Yobanni Antunez by 7-2 margin, Lemont’s Jake Kirkman in 4:19 and Glenbard East’s Zach Wehde in a 5-3 overtime bout before losing to Lyons athlete Matt Maldonado in a 14-2 major decision.

Kaneland kicks off 2014 with a trip to a meet at Richmond-Burton High School on Friday, Jan. 3.

Knights see success in quadrangular

Knights sophomore George Strang tries to gain leverage on Yorkville’s Gunnar Hjorth during Friday night’s meet.					 Photo by Ben Draper
Knights sophomore George Strang tries to gain leverage on Yorkville’s Gunnar Hjorth during Friday night’s meet. Photo by Ben Draper
Kaneland sophomore Zach Parker works against Yorkville’s Mike Kurtz during the meet Friday. Photo by Ben Draper
Kaneland sophomore Zach Parker works against Yorkville’s Mike Kurtz during the meet Friday. Photo by Ben Draper

KHS also steamrolled in
NIB-12 tussle at Yorkville

by Mike Slodki

KANELAND—As the calendar tips to a new year, it was in the Kaneland High School wrestling roster’s best interest to try and continue to end on as high a note as possible.

With a Friday matchup with rival to the south Yorkville and a Saturday quadrangular against three other clubs, KHS achieved its goal, but only partway. On Friday the Knights were rocked by Yorkville 60-6.

Saturday saw a 48-6 win over Belvidere North, a 36-33 close shave over Rock Island and a 34-30 setback at the hands of old conference-mate Geneva.

After the four encounters, the Knights still hold a capable 11-6 dual record through 17 battles.

Against the Blue Thunder of Belvidere North, the Knights saw decisions on behalf of 138-pounder Dane Goodenough and heavyweight Justin Diddell, 132-pound Luke Eggenberger earned a pinfall in 3:57, and the remaining victories came by forfeit.

Facing the Rocks of Rock Island, the Knights were paced by Goodenough’s 54-second pin, followed by Austin Parks’ 13-7 win in the 160-pound match. Down 27-9, Kaneland went on a five-match tear. Diddell won a 4:34 pin, 106-pounder Austin Kedzie won in 1:45, followed by 113-pound teammate Adam Mish’s pin in 1:01, 120-pound rep Jacob Shearer won via pin in 2:23 and Matthew Redman won the 126-pound standoff in 6-2 fashion.

In the lone Saturday loss to Geneva, KHS had victories on points from personnel Nick Mish in the 106 bout, 8-3, and Redman, 3-1. Meanwhile, Kaneland pins were gathered by Diddell in 1:01, Adam Mish in 1:48, and Goodenough in 1:15.

In the setback against conference powerhouse Yorkville, the Knights saw five major decisions on Yorkville’s side, and two technical falls. The lone KHS win came at the skills of 145-pounder Riley Vanik, who took a pinfall win with 10 seconds left.

Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27-28, represents the final 2013 challenge for the Knights in the form of the Palatine Invite, located in the northwest suburbs.

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KHS grapplers can’t grab hold in tough week

Cary-Grove, CLC, DeKalb dish Kaneland losses
KANELAND—Kaneland wrestling had done well so far this season, but they can be sure to run into a wall of tough opponents for days at a time, as was the case this past week.

On Thursday, the 9-4 Knights took it on the headgear against visiting DeKalb in Maple Park by a 44-18 clip, while Dec. 11 saw a trip to Crystal Lake Central end with losses to both the host Tigers and the Trojans of Cary-Grove, 43-30 and 39-24, respectively.

Against DeKalb, wins came courtesy of personnel like Nick Mish at 106 pounds with a pin at 4:46.

Teammate Dane Goodenough stuck a pin in the 138-pound meeting in 3:31, providing a bright spot in the hard-luck conference loss.

“I saw he was slacking a bit so I was able to get inside control and got the fireman’s and kept driving. Once I saw that, I capitalized and pinned him through that,” Goodenough said. “Most of us thought we weren’t going to start as good as we did. Even with our few losses now, we’re still up there.”

The final pin of the night went to 170-pound entry Tom Price, who won his match in 1:42.

“I thought our kids wrestled hard, but we needed a little more fire when we hit the mat. They didn’t give up, they just didn’t come out with a lot of emotion. We wrestled well against Sycamore, but after DeKalb, there’s some work to do,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said.

In the 15-point loss to C-G, 285-pound Justin Diddell earned a 1:24 pin, while Adam Mish won his 113-pound encounter in 1:18. Goodenough won his bout by 9-3 margin, and Riley Vanik emerged victorious in the 145-pound bout by 6-2 tally.

In the 13-point setback against CLC, Diddell earned another pin in 2:44, while Matthew Redman won a 126-pound encounter in 1:42. The final two wins on Kaneland’s side were Vanik’s 8-1 decision and George Strang’s 5-3 win at 152 pounds.

Friday, Dec. 20, sees a trip to Northern Illinois Big XII rival Yorkville in Kendall County.

Dec. 19 sports recap

JV Bowling
Dec. 11 vs. Streator—The Lady Knights only had two competitors, so no team score was kept. Kayla McDuffee bowled a 323 series with a 132 high game, while Natalie Barnhart bowled a 282 series with 125 high game.
Dec. 17 @ Morris—Grace Lindgren bowled a 314 series, with a 119 high game, while McDuffee bowled a 291 series (105 high game) and Barnhart bowled a 270 series (119 high game). No team score was kept.

Boys Soph. Basketball
Dec. 13 vs. Rochelle—The Knights earned a 68-47 win over visiting Rochelle Friday. Jake Marczuk led KHS with 16 points, while Tanner Robertson had 11 and Mark Lilly had 11. Fellow Knights Mitchel Groen and Joe Laudont each had seven points, while the trio of Jason Edwards, Jacob Violett and Brett Hansen each had four points.
Dec. 17 @ Hinckley-Big Rock—The Knights routed the host Royals 63-36 Tuesday. Lilly led the team with 16 points, while Robertson (12) and Groen (10) were also in double-digits. The sophomore boys are now 5-1, 2-0 in NIB-12 play.

JV Wrestling
Dec. 14 KHS JV Tournament—The JV wrestlers faired well in their own tournament on Saturday.
The Knights had three grapplers earn individual championships. At 98 pounds, Austin Kedzie won by fall over Mark Wuerfl of Batavia in :32. Johnathan Terry defeated Lukasz Skoczen of Plainfield South 5-2 to win the 170 pound A division. Colin Gussman won a 6-4 decision over Wheaton-Warrenville South’s John Bikulcius in the 145 pound A division.
Earning runner-up status on the day for KHS were Hayden Patterson in the 132 pound A division and Mitchell Jones in the 138 pound A division.
Cullen Murray of Kaneland placed third in the the 182 pound division, while Jordan Hoffman placed fourth in the 132 pound B division.
Preston Havis (113 pounds) and Ben Long (170 pounds B) each earned fifth-place medals, while Ben Smith (152 pounds A) was sixth.

Junior Adam Mish pinned his Sycamore opponent in 1:38 Thursday at NIU.

Wrestlers go Huskie-size over Sycamore, beat Lemont

Photo: Junior Adam Mish pinned his Sycamore opponent in 1:38 Thursday at NIU. Sophomore Photo by Ben Draper

KANELAND—Venues may change, but victories are still as sweet anywhere.

Kaneland traveled to NIU’s Convocation Center last Thursday to battle rival Sycamore before the college-age Huskies took the mat that evening, and got things off on the right foot with a slim 33-29 win.

Saturday saw a trip to Lemont, where the Knights handed the Indians a 49-18 shellacking.

Kaneland is now 5-1 on the season (1-0 in the Northern Illinois Big XII).

After a forfeit win for Kaneland, 113-pounder Adam Mish had his hand raised against the Spartans after a 1:38 pin. Sycamore would win the next bout before the 126-pound match went Matthew Redman’s way by 3-2 count.

Dane Goodenough took his 138-pound challenge with a 10-1 major decision over Jesus Renteria. Two Sycamore wins closed the Kaneland margin just before Austin Parks won a 16-0 technical fall at 160-pounds.

Sophomore Austin Parks won by technical fall, beating his Sycamore opponent 16-0 Thursday at NIU. <em><figcaption class=Photo by Ben Draper” width=”300″ height=”250″ class=”size-medium wp-image-32911″ /> Sophomore Austin Parks won by technical fall, beating his Sycamore opponent 16-0 Thursday at NIU. Photo by Ben Draper

Sycamore would rally for three consecutive match wins before KHS retook the lead for good on a forfeit and a heavyweight win for powerhouse Justin Diddell by 7-2 decision.

Facing Lemont in a Saturday affair, wins were plenty for the Kaneland attack. At 106 pounds, Austin Kedzie won a major decision in 11-2 fashion, while Mish earned a pin in 1:47. Jacob Shearer won his 120-pound outing by virtue of a 5:20 pin, as well.

At 132 pounds, Luke Eggenberger won his challenge by 14-12 decision, followed by 152-pounder George Strang winning his match, 3-2.

Parks won his 160-pound encounter by 2:32 pin, followed by 170-pound teammate Tom Price’s pin in 2:32. The remaining wins, besides two forfeits, went to Zach Parker at 182 pounds by 4-3 decision.

Kaneland was set to trek to Crystal Lake Central to take on the hosts and Cary-Grove on Wednesday, and Thursday, Dec. 12, sees a conference tussle with the DeKalb Barbs outfit in Maple Park.

George Strang

Wrestlers battle through tough stops

Photo: 152-pound George Strang won 6-4 in overtime over Andrew Ives of Wheaton-Warrenville South Saturday. Photo by Stephanie Vanik

KANELAND—It could have been a rude awakening to the start of the 2013-14 season for Kaneland Knights wrestling, but the KHS lads acclimated themselves serviceably.

Saturday in Maple Park saw a quad with Burlington Central, Freeport and Wheaton-Warrenville South, while Nov. 26 had a trip to the Quad Cities area.

In their home digs, Kaneland beat BC by a 55-21 margin, while handing WWS a 49-21 drubbing before solving Freeport 58-18

Things got off to a nice start against the rival Rockets, with Jacob Shearer winning a 15-0 technical fall in the 120-pound bout. Following that, 132-pound entry Matthew Redman won a 5-2 matchup to pad the Kaneland lead to 14-3. At 160, Austin Parks won by technical fall, 20-5, while 170-pounder Zach Parker won by pin over Kyle Coffland in 1:37. To cap the initial tussles, heavyweight Justin Diddell earned a pin in 1:34. KHS also took away five forfeits.

In the sizable win over the NIC-10 representative Pretzels, seven forfeits paved the way for wins by: Luke Eggenberger in the 132-pound match (10-0 major decision), Riley Vanik in the 145-pound match (1:58 pin) and Tom Price in the 170-pound match (1:59 pin).

Facing the DuPage Valley Conference stalwart Tigers, the Knights went out to an early 15-0 lead, thanks to a win by 106-pounder Nick Mish in 1:57, 113-pound Adam Mish’s 8-7 win and Shearer’s 1:19 pin.

Vanik would later earn a win by 3:13 pinfall. At 152 pounds, George Strang needed overtime, but earned a 6-4 win.

When any mistake could mean your downfall, Strang kept his cool.

“I definitely was cautious when I was wrestling, but I put everything on the line, and I had the mentality of really wanting to go out there and beat him,” Strang said. “The first couple of moments I felt him out and wanted to know how he wrestled. I knew when he got onto my leg I had to do something. I could hear the crowd going ‘spin, spin, spin,’ and that’s exactly what I did.”

Parks won a 17-8 major decision at 160 points, while Price won his bout in 1:57 and Diddell closed out the win with a 1-0 triumph.

In the opening gathering at East Moline U-High, Kaneland lost to Moline by a final of 57-16, with Vanik (6-4), Parks (4:51 pin) and Redman (4-3) earning the lone wins.

Ahead for KHS wrestling is a Thursday, Dec. 5, meeting with Sycamore out at Northern Illinois University’s Convocation Center.

Photos courtesy of Stephanie Vanik

Wrestlers to face Spartans at NIU tonight

DEKALB—Northern Illinois University will be the center of the local wrestling world Thursday night.

The Kaneland Knights wrestling squad will take on the Sycamore Spartans in a dual meet at the NIU Convocation Center at 5 p.m., just before the NIU Huskies take on visiting Cleveland State at 7 p.m.

There is no admission charge to attend the evening’s game. The NIU Convocation Center is located at 1525 West Lincoln Highway, DeKalb.

Dec. 5 Sports Recap

Varsity Bowling
Dec. 3 at Sterling—The Lady Knights gained two conference points in their season opener at Sterling Tuesday. Christie Crews led the way with a 523 series, while Dominique Lee had a 472. The Knights won game 2.
“Christie’s 213 in the first game really charged the team up, and it was fantastic that we could win a game against such a perennially strong team,” said head coach Jim McKnight. “It was great to see the girls bowl so well their first time out.”
Michelle Bohanek bowled a 411 series, Katie Hill a 409, Rena Wojciechowski a 401 and Amber Spaetzel a 295.

KHS bowled at Lisle Wednesday before their home opener tonight at DeKalb’s Mardi Gras Lanes against Dixon at 4 p.m.

Soph. Girls Basketball
Nov. 26 vs. Belvidere North—The Lady Knights upended the visiting Blue Thunder 50-28. Kiandra Powell led KHS with three three-pointers and 13 points off the bench, while Kylie Modaff had 8 points, and Meg Cohrs and Morgan Weber each scored 7.

Nov. 27 vs. Marengo—KHS secured a second-place finish at its own tournament with a 44-28 victory over Marengo. Corhs led the Lady Knights with 10 points, and Kristen Siebert had 8. Powell, Weber and Sophie Sandquist each had 6 points, Modaff had 4 and Hollie Fedderly and Nicole Koczka each had 2 points. The sophomores sit at 3-1 on the season.

Soph. Boys Basketball
Nov. 27 at Belvidere North—The sophomore Knights took on Hononegah at the Belvidere North Tournament, falling to the Indians 56-55. Mark Lilly let the way with 13 points, while Mitchel Groen had 12 and Jake Marczuk had 11. Other Knight scorers included Jacob Violett (6 points), Joe Laudont (4), Kevin Fajardo (3) and Tanner Robertson, Andy Delgado and Sam Wolf each with 2.

Nov. 29 at Belvidere North—The Knights bounced back to defeat the Sandwich Indians 62-44 at the Belvidere North Tournament Friday. Ten Knights made the scoresheet, with Robertson’s 11 leading the balanced effort. Marczuk (10 points), Jason Edwards (9), Laudont and Lilly (8 each), Groen (6), Conor Peterson (5) Fajardo and Wold (2 each), and Matt Vandenborn (1) also scored for the Knights.

The sophomore group improved their record to 2-1 prior to tonight’s game at Sycamore at 7 p.m.

JV Wrestling
Nov. 30 vs. Freeport, Burlington Central and Wheaton Warrenville South—The JV Knights competed in a home quad Saturday. Winners included Kegan Workman at 152 pounds (fall in 1:30 over Sam Morgan of Freeport), Preston Havis at 113 pounds (fall in 4:22 vs. Tony Anderson of WWS and a fall in 1:18 over a BC opponent), Mitch Jones at 138 ponds (5-3 decision over Sam Milnamow of WWS and a fall over BC’s Shaun McMillian in 1:32) and Hayden Patterson at 132 pounds (fall in 1:32 over Biship Kronenbomb of BC).

757

Leveraging Success

Photo: Kaneland sophomore Austin Parks carries some familiar weight up the hill during the annual wrestling training/team building practice at Johnson’s Mound in Elburn on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—With a 13-13 dual mark and three state qualifiers in the four of departed seniors Dan Goress, Esai Ponce and Zach Theis, it might be hard for Kaneland wrestling to reach similar or further heights.

If any team is up to the challenge, it’ll be the Kaneland wrestling troop.

Back in the fold is head coach Monty Jahns, who previously stepped down after last season, but returned after projected coach Jeremy Kenny took a coaching job on the Plano staff.

With a capable lineup that reached second place at the Class 2A Sycamore Regional and a 145-pound first-place trophy, Jahns will miss the group as much as anyone.

“First of all, it was a fun group of kids. It really carried over to the kids. Without Dan in the room, I don’t know if the others would have been quite as successful as they were. I thought we had a successful individual year. That group is a hard working group,” Jahns said.

It’s reassuring to Jahns to have returning grapplers who were witnesses to last season’s postseason events.

“I think they knew that up front, but believe a little more when they see it,” Jahns said. “They know what his work ethic was and how intense he was.”

Returning to the fold with weight classes to be determined are personnel like lower weight class anchors Adam Mish and Dane Goodenough. Zach Russell, at 164 pounds a year ago, looks to move up. Justin Diddell looks to fill senior leadership.

George Strang and Zach Parker look to Wrestling damage opposing ranks after being in. Willowbrook move-in Tom Price adds experience from the crowded West Suburban conference. Austin Parks projects to have a spot in the lineup, as does Ryan Bridge.

Freshmen like Jacob Scheer and Matthew Redman could find opportunity to break into the ranks, according to Jahns.

Kaneland will be sure to give six full minutes of aggressive wrestling, no matter the opponent.

“We’re just going to ask them not to quit, and I don’t think they will. What I see in the room, I’ve never had anybody just give up in a match. That’s all I’m going to ask of them,” Jahns said.

The quest begins on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the East Moline Quad. The home slate begins on Saturday, Nov 30, against Burlington Central, Wheaton-Warrenville South and Freeport.

kenny

Familiar face fills coaching vacancy

KANELAND—As seems par for the course, the Knights wrestling program will have a familiar face leading the matmen.

Beginning this fall, the Knights will be steered by new head coach and Class of 2004 alum Jeremy Kenny, who was recommended for the position in April and approved at the KHS school board meeting on Monday.

“For me, I had a feeling it was going to happen,” Kenny said. “After talking to Monty (Jahns) and to have it be official, I think it was relief.”

Kenny, who was a State qualifier under former coach Gary Baum, takes over for fellow alum Jahns, who stepped away to focus more on responsibilities at his day job with Nicor Gas.

Kenny, the former two-year NIU Huskie wrestler, has seen almost every potential wrestler come through the ranks in Maple Park since joining the coaching staff six seasons ago.

“Monty and I ran together with the program; I’ve been able to learn the program, and he gave me flexibility,” Kenny said.

Jahns, himself a decorated Kaneland wrestler who graduated in 1982, helped launch the Knights Wrestling Club in 1987 and had seen virtually all the eventual Knight wrestlers take the mat.

A member of the Kaneland Hall of Fame and a former State qualifier, Jahns served as varsity assistant coach before taking over as head coach from Gary Baum for the 2008-09 campaign.

The Jahns era had a handful of State qualifiers, beginning with Jay Levita in 2008-09, Jimmy Boyle and Kyle Davidson in 2009-10, Boyle again in 2010-11, Stephen Gust, Esai Ponce, Dan Goress and Ben Kovalick in 2011-12, and Ponce, Zach Theis and 145-state State champ Goress this past season.

Kenny, employed as a full-time security guard at KHS, has an idea of a head coaching style already.

“I guess my style is action. I never like to ask the kids do something that I wouldn’t be willing to ask of myself,” Kenny said.

Kenny, who knows what it’s like to be one of the select few grapplers to make it to Champaign, Ill., as part of the 171-pound class, won’t just be a coach, but a fan and believer of the sport.

“I just want to develop the program more,” Kenny said. “I want to help make these kids into good young adults. Wrestling is one of the great sports for life lessons.”

‘Dan’-ger Zone

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.

Sports_Wrestle_6

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.
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.

Sports_Wrestle_5

After his big state win, Goress hugs Kaneland wrestling coach  Monty Jahns.
After his big state win, Goress hugs Kaneland wrestling coach
Monty Jahns.

Sports_Wrestle_3

Goress is the Knights  first state champion  (145 lb class)  since 1993.
Goress is the Knights
first state champion
(145 lb class)
since 1993.

Points taken

Photo: Senior Zach Theis won a 3-0 decision against Sterling in the 285 pound weight class at the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional on Saturday. File Photo

Three wrestlers punch State ticket
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It wasn’t 1994 or 2012 levels, but the KHS wrestling squad will take the sectional output.

After sending its biggest State contingent in 18 years a year ago with four representatives, Kaneland continued its upward trajectory in a tough Class 2A Rochelle Sectional.

Esai Ponce (138 pounds) and Dan Goress (145 pounds) are going back to Champaign’s Assembly Hall on Thursday, Feb. 14, as was the style last year, and are joined by heavyweight entry Zach Theis under the guidance of coaches Monty Jahns, Jeremy Kenny and Mike Thorgesen.

Goress and Theis both captured their group’s title after the completion of action in Ogle County on Saturday.

Ponce, a senior, started his high school wrestling tenure in the old 103-pound category and knows his work is not complete just yet.

“At regionals, I thought I was wrestling pretty well,” Ponce said. “At sectionals, I felt like I could have done better, but I still wrestled pretty well. I only had one new opponent from the year in the third-place match and did pretty well against him. That could be an advantage in some cases.

While Rock Island’s Chase Wiggins and Pontiac’s Stephen Richardson claimed the top two spots, Ponce (33-5) earned a 7-0 win over Washington’s Randy Meneweather in the third-place match to end the weekend.

Ponce is scheduled to face Antioch’s Mike Gussarson, who ventures to Champaign with a record of 36-10.

Goress qualified at 138 pounds a year ago, and makes the trip again at a higher weight class.

Goress (38-3) toppled Rock Island junior Jean-Louis Sawadago by 5-2 count.

It almost didn’t matter who was placed in front of Goress this past weekend.

“To be perfectly honest, I didn’t look at anyone in the sectional or my bracket. I wrestled whoever they put in front of me. I just went out there and wrestled and had one goal,” Goress said.

Goress is scheduled to face Springfield entry Haratio Austin (34-7).

Theis, a 32-6 senior, battled fellow Northern Illinois Big XII grappler Curtis Lilly of Sterling in the final and bested the Golden Warrior by a 3-0 tally.

“It’s just getting back to basics and trying to keep the usual this week and going at it over and over,” Theis said. “I’m peaking right now, but there’s always more work to be done.”

Theis draws Chicago’s Lamar Johnson (19-6) of Crane Tech in the opening match.

The 2A tournament begins at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. Feb. 14.

Kaneland's Dan Goress won with a 5-2 decision in the 145-pound weight class against Rock Island on Saturday.  File Photo
Kaneland’s Dan Goress won with a 5-2 decision in the 145-pound weight class against Rock Island on Saturday.
File Photo
Kaneland's Esai Ponce (right) wrestling at 132 pounds, won with  a 7-0  decision against Washington at the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional on  Saturday.         File Photo
Kaneland’s Esai Ponce (right) wrestling at 132 pounds, won with
a 7-0
decision against Washington at the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional on
Saturday.
File Photo
Senior Zach Theis won a 3-0 decision against Sterling in the 285 pound weight class at the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional on Saturday. 	           File Photo
Senior Zach Theis won a 3-0 decision against Sterling in the 285 pound weight class at the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional on Saturday. File Photo

Success at 1st postseason stop

Photo: Dane Goodenough, wrestling at 122 pounds, gets a momentary upper hand against a Belvidere North foe at the IHSA Sycamore Regional Tournament on Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna

KHS grapplers have fine 2nd-place showing in Sycamore
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If it weren’t for the hosts, KHS could brag even more. But KHS isn’t the bragging type of team; it is more the diligent worker-type.

With 144.5 team points during Saturday’s Class 2A Sycamore Regional, KHS earned second place overall.

Sycamore’s 210 total was the runaway winner, while Rockford Boylan had 108.5 total points and a third-place finish.

Glenbard South (99.5), Belvidere North (83.5) and Rockford East (76.5) stuck slots four through six, and Burlington Central (49.5), St. Francis (45) and Belvidere (41) rounded out the nine-team field.

KHS finished third overall at the 2012 DeKalb Regional, showing improvement over a year’s time.

“They’re just totally focused, you can see it,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said, “They put forth the effort, and I’m impressed.”

Esai Ponce earned the 132-pound championship mantle by beating Belvidere North’s Psalm Frambro in 4:23 and a 10-2 major decision in the final over BC’s Brady Weinrich.

Teammate Sonny Horn was crowned regional king of the 138-pound class after beating Sycamore’s Andrew Larsen in 5:16 and moving on to pin St. Francis’ Alex Alcantara in 3:10.

Knight Dan Goress continued the KHS domination of the middle weights by taking the 145-pound class. Goress completed a 19-4 technical fall over Rockford East’s Frank Eslora and an injury default over Sycamore’s Dylan Foster.

Heavyweight Zach Theis captured the group’s title by sticking a :22 pin on Belvidere North’s Jake Rodgers and winning 2-0 over Rockford East’s Mike Estergard in the final.

Vet Stephen Gust was second overall in the 113-pound group. Gust won a 4-2 OT battle with Belvidere North’s Riccardo Roman before losing to Sycamore’s Kyle Akins in a 15-0 technical fall in the final.

At 120-pounds, Connor Williams managed a third-place finish after an 11-6 win over Mason Castillo of Rockford East and a 6-0 sweep of Sycamore’s Collin Druck.

At 220 pounds, senior Nick Sharp’s third-place finish was highlighted by a 3:50 pin over Boylan’s Zach Matthews and a 1:30 pin over Matthews in 1:30.

At 106 pounds, Adam Mish finished fourth. In the consolation bracket, Mish took a 5-1 decision over Burlington Central’s Nick Maldonado before losing to Sycamore’s Bryce Hansen 7-5 in the third-place encounter.

“This week, it’s a little different with the numbers down. There’s a little bit more fine-tuning and individualized coaching,” Jahns said.

KHS sends its exemplary individuals to the Rochelle Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 9, along with athletes from the Pontiac, Rock Island and Morton Regionals.

Kaneland's Adam Mish (106 lbs) wraps up his St. Francis opponent during the IHSA Sycamore Regional Tournament on Saturday, February 2 at Sycamore High School. Adam went on to win this match with a pin. Photo by John DiDonna
Kaneland’s Adam Mish (106 lbs) wraps up his St. Francis opponent during the IHSA Sycamore Regional Tournament on Saturday, February 2 at Sycamore High School. Adam went on to win this match with a pin.
Photo by John DiDonna
Dane Goodenough (122 lbs) gets a momentary upper hand against a Belvidere North foe at the IHSA Sycamore Regional Tournament on Saturday, February 2. Photo by John DiDonna
Dane Goodenough (122 lbs) gets a momentary upper hand against a Belvidere North foe at the IHSA Sycamore Regional Tournament on Saturday, February 2.
Photo by John DiDonna
Kaneland's Sonny Horn is about to pin his Burlington Central opponent during his first match at the IHSA Sycamore Regional Tournament on Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna
Kaneland’s Sonny Horn is about to pin his Burlington Central opponent during his first match at the IHSA Sycamore Regional Tournament on Saturday.
Photo by John DiDonna
Dan Goress gets a quick pin against Belvidere North early in the Regional  tournament on Saturday at Sycamore. Photo by John DiDonna
Dan Goress gets a quick pin against Belvidere North early in the Regional tournament on Saturday at Sycamore.
Photo by John DiDonna
Kaneland's Austin Parks tries to escape from his Rockford East opponent during his match at the IHSA Sycamore Regional tournament on Saturday, February 2 at Sycamore High School. Photo by John DiDonna
Kaneland’s Austin Parks tries to escape from his Rockford East opponent during his match at the IHSA Sycamore Regional tournament on Saturday, February 2 at Sycamore High School.
Photo by John DiDonna
Zack Russell works his way out of a situation during his match against Rockford East at the IHSA Sycamore Regional tournament on Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna
Zack Russell works his way out of a situation during his match against Rockford East at the IHSA Sycamore Regional tournament on Saturday.
Photo by John DiDonna

Wrestlers drop regular season finale

by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—There would be no repeat of last year’s final regular season stop.

Closing out the 2012-13 campaign before the postseason begins this weekend, the Knights travelled to Batavia to face the former conference rival Bulldogs on Friday and were handed a 42-30 loss.

It failed to be as joyous as last year’s tiebreaker win over the Bulldogs. Nonetheless, the Knights finish the regular slate at 13-13, a slight improvement over last year’s 11-12 tally.

The Knights found wins from Stephen Gust in a 113-pound bout, thanks to a technical fall, 15-0. After a 120-pound forfeit for Luke Kreiter, George Strang also took a forfeit at 132. Reliable asset Esai Ponce took his 138-pound encounter by 4-1 decision, and Dan Goress took his 145-pound match in a scant 42 seconds.

Kagen Workman won his 152-pound match by 13-4 major decision to round out the victories.

Up next for KHS is the Sycamore Individual Regional for Class 2A.

Joining the Knights at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, are schools Belvidere, Belvidere North, Burlington Central, Glenbard South, Boylan Catholic of Rockford, Rockford East, the host Spartans and St. Francis of Wheaton.

Qualifiers head to the Rochelle Sectional a week from Saturday, and the top team in regionals heads to the dual team sectional in Rochelle on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Knights grab 5th on NIB-12 mat

Photo: Sonny Horn, wrestling at 138 pounds, fights hard against his Sycamore opponent at the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Tourney on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Kaneland’s 145-pound entry, Dan Goress, wins NIB-12 bracket
by Mike Slodki
SYCAMORE—Seeing what the rest of the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference can offer provides a nice opportunity.

For Kaneland, it gave a chance to see how many points it could collect.

The Knights put up a nice showing on Saturday at Sycamore High School, collecting 133 points, good for fifth place.

A scoring error shuffled some places and was corrected on Tuesday. Kaneland originally was tied for fourth with DeKalb, and Sycamore was crowned original winner.

After the modifications, Yorkville (218), Sycamore (216) and Geneseo (154.5) took the top three spots. DeKalb took fourth at 141.5.

LaSalle-Peru (108), Morris (93) and Sterling (88) took sixth through eighth.

Rounding out the lower tier were Ottawa with 84, Streator with 60, Rochelle with 46 and Dixon with 22.

Dan Goress (30-3), at 145 pounds, emerged as the NIB-12 champ in his bracket with a 2:28 pin of Sycamore’s Dylan Foster.

It was a nice honor for Goress at the tail-end of regular season action, with the team anchor having used his penchant for tech falls and major decisions quite well.

“They’re just as important, but from a personal standpoint, it’s toughness,” Goress said. “It’s getting a workout out of it and just physically breaking your opponent more than just going out there and pinning them. It’s about getting in their head.”

Kaneland got going with a third-place nod for Stephen Gust at 113 pounds.

Gust (25-7) took the honor by 3-0 decision over Yorkville’s Dan Cikauskas.

Gust, no stranger to late-season competition, planned to use Saturday to its fullest.

“It’s kind of like a gauge to see what you can do in regionals, because regionals are tough, obviously,” Gust said.

At 120 pounds, Connor Williams (22-5) made it to the finals before dropping a 9-0 major decision to Morris’ Kenny Baldridge.

At 132 pounds, Esai Ponce (25-4) took second, his lone defeat at the hands of DeKalb’s Doug Johnson with 11 seconds left in the match.

Nick Sharp (25-10) was given fourth overall at 220 pounds after making it to the third-place match, defeated by Streator’s Isaias Macias in 4-0 fashion.

Zach Theis (22-5) earned second place, losing only to Sterling’s Curtis Lilly, 2-1, in the final.

Kaneland heads to Batavia for a meet with an old rival on Friday, Jan. 25.

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Wrestlers take down Morris, host Flott

Photo: Junior Zack Russell won the championship in the 160 pound weight class against a Prairie Central opponent. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Fourth time is a charm for local wrestlers.

For the fourth straight season, KHS wrestling was crowned king of its own mat at the Margarett Flott Memorial Tournament held in Maple Park on Saturday.

The Knights also took down Morris in a slim 40-35 encounter on Thursday, raising their dual mark to 13-12.

The Knights’ improvement in 2012-13 is already tangible, with the Kaneland group eclipsing last season’s dual meet mark of 11-12.

“We’re a better tournament team than a dual team, but we did well and we’re down to an important part of the season,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said.

Kaneland’s total of 227 beat Elgin (156), Prairie Central (141), Ottawa (128.5) and Niles North (105) to round out the top five in the 10-team invite.

Connor Williams captured the 120-pound mantle with a 4:12 pinfall over Ottawa rival Christian Boswell. Williams reached the final with a 14-2 major decision over Elgin’s Daniel Easter.

Esai Ponce conquered the 132-pound group with a 6-2 decision over Bradey Weinrich of BC. Ponce reached the final with a 3:11 pin over Prairie Central’s Nick Kauffman.

Sonny Horn won the 138-pound gathering with a 4-1 win over Marian Catholic’s Nick Remke. Horn made the final via 4-2 decision over PC’s Ben Traub.

Kaneland standout Dan Goress captured the 145-pound title with a 3-1 decision over Evan Bahler of PC, after a 15-1 major decision over Larkin’s Alex Duran.

Zack Russell staked the 160-pound claim by 5:35 pinfall over PC’s Jake Adams. Russell made the final by 6-5 win over Niles North Calvin Rosenburgh.

Zack Theis captured the heavyweight final with victories over Alex Vara of Ottawa (1:20) and Grant Ricketts of PC (1:30). Teammate Justin Diddell had a 9-2 victory over Ottawa’s Sean Taulbee in the same bracket.

113-pound asset Stephen Gust made it to the finals of his bracket by a technical fall over Ottawa’s Alex Brown before dropping a 3:50 fall to Zachery McCullough in the final.

At 126 pounds, Dane Goodenough beat Burlington Central’s Michael Metz in :57 before losing in the final to Larkin’s Duke Bogicevic by 6-2 count.

At 220 pounds, Nick Sharp made it to the finals with a :49 pinfall of PC’s Cody Parks before dropping the final to Ottawa’s cornerstone Cyrano Rayfield in 5:15.

At 106 pounds, Knight Adam Mish defeated Jacob Meyers of Rochelle by 6-5 decision to secure third place.

At 152 pounds, Austin Parks made it to the third-place match with an overtime win over BC’s Brad Roberts before losing to Niles North’s Stephen Heilman by 3:05 pinfall to finish fourth.

Against Morris, Mish won via pin in 1:30, Gust took a 5-0 win over Jake Crowther and Goodenough won a 5-3 decision over AJ Vota.

Kaneland’s David Barnhart won a :24 pin in his 132-pound encounter, and Horn’s 12-2 major decision also helped the KHS effort.

Dan Goress, at 152 pounds, beat Andrew Olson in 1:44, while Parks also managed a 3:35 pinfall over Kyle Abney.

Theis also earned a 2:52 pinfall over Morris’ Dalton Ness in the win for heavyweight supremacy.

On Saturday, Jan. 19, the eyes of the NIB-12 wrestling landscape will be in Sycamore for the conference meet.

“They just have to push themselves,” Jahns said. “We need to focus on every meet and every match like it’s our last.”

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Senior Connor Williams took the championship<br /><figcaption class=in the 120 pound weight class vs Ottawa in the finals of the Margaret Flott
Invitational. Photo by Patti Wilk" width="385" height="580" class="size-full wp-image-27816" /> Senior Connor Williams took the championship
in the 120 pound weight class vs Ottawa in the finals of the Margaret Flott
Invitational. Photo by Patti Wilk

Grapplers open 2013 with dual win

Photo: Kaneland’s Austin Parks (152 pounds) gets the upper hand on his Rochelle opponent during wrestling Senior Night home match on Jan. 3. Photo by Mary Herra

Wrestlers battle through Sycamore Invite field, stifle Rochelle
KANELAND—Nothing like a tough Sycamore Invite and a Northern Illinois Big XII battle against a familiar foe to measure your team’s progress.

In the usual early-January stop, the Knights finished ninth at the furious Sycamore Invite with 363.5 points.

Kaneland also evened up its dual mark at 12-12 with a 43-15 win over visiting Rochelle on Thursday.

Rockton’s Hononegah High School took first in Sycamore with 679 team points, followed by Grant at 591.5 and the hosts with 567.5.

Noteworthy finishes began with 120-pound asset Connor Williams, who nabbed third place overall with a 5-0 win over Grant’s Troy Parent.

Teammate Esai Ponce did well with a third-place finish, capped with a 2:39 pin over Marian Catholic’s Frank Voltattorni.

Dan Goress continued his trajectory and made it to the 145-pound final before losing to McHenry’s Wade Lardy by 5-2 count.

Against the Hubs, wins were plentiful, including 113-pound rep Stephen Gust winning a 3-1 decision and Williams taking a 5-0 win.

Ponce took a major decision by 8-0 count, and the KHS crew collected two pins from the efforts of Sonny Horn at 138 pounds (2:58) and Goress (1:28).

Austin Parks won an 8-6 OT victory in the 152-pound match, while Nick Sharp added a 1:15 pin.

Kaneland will wrestle at the Flott Invite on Saturday, Jan. 12.

KHS earns split at usual Flavin stop

Photo: Kaneland sophomore Adam Mish puts an arm lock on his Burlington rival during the DeKalb Invitational on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

DeKalb gathering lifts KHS; sees dual mark at 10-11
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A usual late-December stop offered a glimpse as to what caliber the Knight wrestling squad is at right now.

Friday and Saturday marked the familiar Don Flavin Invite, hosted by DeKalb High School.

The event was ultimately won by Hononegah High School over Naperville North, and the Knights went 2-2 in the weekend. Hononegah improved on its second-place finish of a year ago.

Kaneland finished eighth in 2011 and sixth in 2010.

After a 41-30 win over Burlington Central, a 54-24 win over Stagg, a 44-32 loss to 2011 champ Neuqua Valley and a 40-26 loss to Glenbard West—plus a loss to Pewaukee of Wisconsin—the Knights sit at 10-11 in head-to-head competition.

In the win over the rival Rockets along Dresser Road, the Knights saw a 7-0 decision from 106-pounder Adam Mish and a 2-0 decision for 120-pounder Connor Williams. Teammate Dane Goodenough managed a pin in the 126-pound outing in two minutes, 31 seconds.

Kaneland 138-pounder Sonny Horn won a 2:32 pinfall, and 145-pound teammate Dan Goress took a technical fall by 20-4 count.

BC found wins in the 152-through-182 classes, but the twin towers of Nick Sharp and Zach Theis took pins home to secure a win.

Sharp won in 1:27 for 220-pound glory, and Theis managed a 1:53 pin in the heavyweight category.

In the win over the Stagg group, Mish’s 8-5 win paved the way for pins from Williams, Goodenough, 132-pound Esai Ponce, Horn and 152-pound Austin Parks. Goress also nabbed a 24-9 technical fall, as well.

Sharp won his match in 3:53, while Theis scored a 12-2 major decision.

In the 12-point team loss to the Naperville, Ill.-based outfit, Mish (:43) and Williams (2:32) took pins, while Stephen Gust won a 7-6 squeaker.

Horn won a pinfall in 1:36, while Goress won a third technical fall of the competition in 18-3 fashion.

In the 14-point loss to the Hilltoppers, decision wins came by Gust (2-0), Williams (6-3), Ponce (9-8), Horn (6-5) and Sharp (6-1).

Goress earned a fourth technical fall win by 21-6 count, while Sharp took the lone team pinfall by 3:14 time.

KHS head coach Monty Jahns said Goress has served as a spark plug for the team.

“He got the ball rolling and was fun to watch,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “As a senior, he sets the tone for us.”

GW’s winning trail through 152-195 country was the difference.

Kaneland gets back into the Northern Illinois Big XII swing of things on Thursday, Jan. 3, against the visiting Rochelle Hubs.

Knights take 2 of 3 in Woodstock quadrangular

KANELAND—Work never seems done for the Kaneland High School wrestling unit.

While the final school bell of 2012 rang the previous day, the wrestlers headed up to Woodstock High School for a quadrangular meet.

After the day’s activities, the Knights came away with a 52-18 win over the hosts, a 37-30 setback at the hands of Mundelein, and a 51-9 win over Richmond-Burton.

Kaneland’s dual mark sits at 8-8.

Against the Streaks of Woodstock, three of the lightest four weights ended in forfeit wins, while 113-pound entry Stephen Gust took a pin in two minutes, 59 seconds.

Teammate Esai Ponce, at 132 pounds, won a 15-0 technical fall, while Sonny Horn won a 9-5 decision at 138.

At 145 pounds, Dan Goress took a 12-4 major decision, and teammate Austin Parks ended up with the same type of win in 11-2 fashion for the 152 bragging rights.

Woodstock took the 160, 170 and 182 wins by two pins and a forfeit, while 195 ended as a double forfeit.

Nick Sharp and Zach Theis had the final two wins in the heavier weights by forfeit.

Against Mundelein, Kaneland fell victim to losses in every class from 152 to 195. Pins in the Knights favor went to Connor Williams at 120 over Jonathan Avela in 3:26, Horn at 3:52 over Joe Lavree and Theis in 1:15 over Ed Olmos. Goress took a major decision over Javeen Dominguez, 20-5, while Sharp won a major decision over Cesar Obespo, 11-0. Ponce won 5-3 for a win over Matt Hvoenson.

Against Richmond-Burton, victories included a 6-0 win by Gust, a 126-pound win for Dane Goodenough in :40 and a :45 pin by Sharp. The remainder of the wins were of the forfeit variety.

The Knights prepare to hit the 14th annual Don Flavin Tournament at DeKalb High School Friday and Saturday, Dec. 28-29.

Wrestlers tussle with Yorkville in losing effort

Photo: Kaneland’s Dan Goress was one of four Knights who earned a win against visiting Yorkville last Thursday night, winning by major decision 18-5. The Knights lost to the Foxes 45-19. Photo by Ben Draper

Knights also face 3 foes in home weekend quad
KANELAND—You can have a plan to be aggressive on the wrestling mat, but unless it manifests during mat time, no win is automatic.

Kaneland’s meet against visiting Yorkville had some nice moments for the Knights, but the Foxes’ strong attack took hold in a 45-19 win.

Saturday turned a little better, with a home quad resulting in wins over Geneva and Belvidere North before a loss to Rock Island.

Kaneland’s dual record is now 6-7.

Wins over the rival Foxes took the form in bouts like a Connor Williams 9-6 win in the 120-pound match and Esai Ponce’s 1:55 pin in the 132-pound match.

“You try to score as much as you can for your team, because you know you’re giving up weights,” Ponce said of the fact that Kaneland forfeits at several weight classes during dual meets. “I feel we can do a lot better than last year.”

Dan Goress, at 145, won a 16-5 major decision, and Nick Sharp took the 220-pound match in 1:41.

“We’re just going to pound basic drill after basic drill,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “We’re not attacking enough on our feet. We need to be offensive wrestlers.”

Kaneland went pin happy against rival Geneva in a 42-38 win.

Adam Mish (106 pounds), Stephen Gust (113), Dane Goodenough (126), Ponce, Sonny Horn (138) and Goress all came away with pins.

Ponce’s 12-second fall was the quickest in the head-to-head encounter.

Kaneland also beat Belvidere North 51-21.

Zach Theis took heavyweight glory in a 42-second pinfall, while Mish earned a pin in 2:20.

Teammate Gust won a fall in 1:10, and Williams went the distance in an 8-6 win. In addition to a forfeit, Ponce (:58), Horn (1:48) and Goress (1:17) all took pins.

The only team blemish for KHS was a 45-18 loss to Rock Island.

Gust won a 7-0 battle, while Ponce was victorious in 5-1 fashion. Goress won a 7-2 match, while the final two wins went to Sharp (9-3) and Theis (3:10).

Kaneland travels to Woodstock for a dual on Saturday, Dec. 22.