Category Archives: Wrestling

Tough week for Knight matmen

Photo: Kaneland’s Stephen Gust doesn’t let his opponent attack him during his match
at DeKalb on Dec. 6. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—If a team is going to have a difficult week, it is much better to have them in early December than in February.

Kaneland High School dual action through 2012-13 has it at a 4-5 record, after losses to Cary-Grove 66-12 and host Crystal Lake Central 46-18 back on Dec. 5, as well as a Thursday loss to DeKalb.

At the still-new digs along Dresser Road in DeKalb, the NIB-12 offering featured three key wins by the Knights.

At 145-pounds, Dan Goress took a technical fall, while 220-pounder Nick Sharp earned a pinfall, as did 285-pound teammate Justin Diddell.

Kaneland’s odds were more daunting with four forfeit loses on the night.

The Knights also learned their individual postseason assignment, as they’ll head to Sycamore.

The grouping also features Belvidere, Belvidere North, Burlington Central, Glenbard South, Rockford Boylan, Rockford East, Sycamore and St. Francis of Wheaton.

Top finishers in the regional head to Rochelle for the sectional.

In the thick of things by the end of the season could be those included in the current Class AA illinoismatmen.com rankings, like 113-pounder Stephen Gust (No. 4), 132-pounder Esai Ponce (No.2), Goress (No. 5), Sharp (No. 7) and heavyweight Zach Theis (No. 12).

The Knights strap on the singlets to host fellow conference cornerstone Yorkville on Thursday, Dec. 13.

Kaneland senior Sonny Horn (138 pounds) tries to pull down his opponent at DeKalb on Dec. 6. Sonny went on to win this match. 											           Photo by John DiDonna
Kaneland senior Sonny Horn (138 pounds) tries to pull down his opponent at DeKalb on Dec. 6. Sonny went on to win this match. Photo by John DiDonna

Knights power through

Photo: Kaneland Senior Sonny Horn gets the upper hand on his opponent at Sycamore on Nov. 29. Horn went on to win the match. Photo by Patti Wilk

Wrestlers slammed by Sycamore, split Saturday triangular
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Area teams know when they’ve been on a mat with the Sycamore Spartans—the KHS grapplers are no different.

The Knights traveled to Spartan Trail on Thursday for a Northern Illinois Big XII matchup and fell 55-16 in head-to-head action. Kaneland acclimated itself better with a triangular meet that led to a 36-35 slim loss to Plano and a 54-21 handling of the Lemont Indians on Saturday in Maple Park.

Through six dual encounters, the Knights are 4-2.

Against the Spartan program that had a top-tier finish in the IHSA dual meets in February, Kaneland fell victim to an onslaught that began with a 6-1 loss by Adam Mish to Bryce Hansen in the 106-pound match, a 17-1 technical fall win by Kyle Akins over 113-pound Stephen Gust, and a forfeit in the 120-pound match.

David Barnhart lost to Jesus Renteria 10-1 in the 126-pound clash, and George Strang was pinned in the 132-pound match in 2:40.

Kaneland’s first positive development happened with Sonny Horn’s 3:28 pin of Andrew Larsen at 138, followed by Dan Goress’ 12-4 decision over Dylan Foster at 145.

Sycamore went on another roll with an Austin Culton 19-4 tech fall over Knight Austin Parks at 152, an Austin Armstrong pin of Knight Zach Russell in :51 at 160, a major decision by Ren Swick over KHS rep Zach Parker at 182, followed by two forfeits.

The final two matches of the evening had 220-pounder Nick Sharp of Kaneland lose to Martin Malone by 13-5 major decision, but heavyweight Zach Theis pinned Devin Knight in 3:20.

“We weren’t on the attack like we were in the (practice) room the last couple of weeks,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “We’ll get it back. They’ve got it, they just didn’t bring it tonight. We wrestled well last Saturday. Sycamore’s a different caliber team, but I expect us to wrestle much better the next time.”

Indicative of Theis’ importance to the squad, the anchor knew he had to come through, regardless of the team score.

“I was in the mindset that I needed to do something good,” Theis said. “I was working on moves all week in practice. I’m just going to keep moving and keep learning.”

Jahns said he hopes the Knights don’t serve up a repeat performance of the Knights-Spartans skirmish anytime soon.

Saturday’s encounter with the capable Plano Reapers contingent began with an 11-2 major decision loss by Mish to give Plano an early edge, but Kaneland went on a roll thanks to a Gust tech fall (15-0), a 15-12 win by 120-pound rep Diego Lobo, a forfeit, a 9-0 major decision by 132-pound Esai Ponce, a 2:56 pin by Horn and a tech fall 20-5 win by Goress.

Plano closed the deficit after a pin of Parks at 152, a 3:10 pin of Zach Russell by state-qualifier Wes Brown, a loss by Zach Parker in 9-6 fashion at 170, two forfeits and a 10-2 win by Derrick Maisonet over Sharp.

Theis had a 5:20 pin of Junior Nunez in heavyweight action, but the tiebreaker edge of decisions went to Plano for the razor-thin win.

Kaneland regained its footing with a win over south suburban fixture Lemont, beginning with a forfeit and a 4:56 pinfall win for Gust.

After a Lemont forfeit win, Barnhart picked up a 5-0 decision to lift Maple Park’s spirits. Ponce acted on a 1:20 pinfall, but Horn fell victim to a 7-2 decision in the next two matches.

Goress earned a quick :30 pinfall at 145, and Parks followed up with a 1:28 pinfall. Russell pinned Mike Fragner in 3:52 to send KHS on its way. Kaneland took a forfeit win followed by two of the same for Lemont, before Sharp won a 5-2 matchup at 220, and Theis won a forfeit.

Kaneland was set to head to Crystal Lake Central on Wednesday, with results unavailable at press time. The Knights will then face host DeKalb on Thursday, Dec. 6.

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.

Photos: Preseason warm ups


The Kaneland Knights high school and middle school wrestling teams spent the day at Johnson’s Mound on Nov. 17. The goal was to help get in shape for the upcoming season. They carried weights, ran up and down hills and performed a series of exercises. The event was organized and run by coach Bob McCaffrey and varsity head coach Monty Jahns. Doing pushups after carrying the weights was just part of the fun. Photos by Patti Wilk

Winter Sports Preview: Grapplers count on experienced core

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Last year brought a handful of success for Kaneland High School wrestling.

In 2012-13, the Knights are looking for more good fortune than they are able to carry.

KHS improved its dual meet mark from the previous year to finish 11-12, and was fortunate to have a sizable postseason presence.

Three of those people return as seniors, including the sixth-best 106-pounder in the state, Stephen Gust, plus Dan Goress (138 pounds) and Esai Ponce (126).

Out of last year’s State qualifiers, Ben Kovalick is gone to graduation, but the returning personnel also includes wrestlers like senior Regional champ Zach Theis, as well as fellow Sectional qualifiers Connor Williams and Sonny Horn.

“Absolutely, these seniors are going to lead the way for us,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “We are going to need points anywhere we can, with us giving up some weights in dual meets. The senior guys take over the room.”

Not only do the senior guys provide talent and leadership, but the wrestlers also have an extra added bonus.

“We were able to get the football players in a little earlier than in the past two years. They are busting their butts right now,” Jahns said.

Additional members of the Knights crew who look to duplicate more positive success to build on include Dane Goodenough and Luke Kreiter.

With the third-place finish in the Northern Illinois Big XII tournament plus additional success as the postseason wore on, Jahns trusts the returning Knights to use those experiences for motivation.

“It makes a big difference to go toward a goal like that, and you include that going into this year and try to be as solid as you can,” Jahns said.

Kaneland will aim for another top-three finish, but has to battle other capable schools.

“Yorkville is pretty dominant even though they lost some seniors. Sycamore is always solid, but they lost a couple people, and you can’t count out DeKalb. This year, we need to get as many wins as we can in the upper and lower weights to make up for a couple forfeits, but the kids are doing what we ask them to do,” Jahns said.

Saturday, Nov. 24, brings the first test with a home quad meet against Burlington Central, Freeport and Wheaton-Warrenville South. The first NIB12 tussle is on Thursday, Nov. 29, at Sycamore.

Vanik takes 2nd at USAW Pre-Season Nationals

Iowa—Riley Vanik of Sugar Grove nearly pulled off a championship victory in the USAW Pre-Season Nationals at the University of Northern Iowa inside the UNI-Dome Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Nov. 4.

The tournament drew 2,594 wrestlers from 38 states. Vanik entered the 152-pound weight bracket in the Seventh/Eighth-grade Middle School Division.

Because of Vanik’s performance the previous year, he earned a first-round bye in this year’s tournament. He took a tight match, 3-2, in his second-round opener.

Vanik found himself in another hard-fought battle in the next round, taking his Iowa opponent into overtime. He secured the 5-3 victory with just 19 seconds remaining in the overtime period.

He battled the eventual tournament champion into the second period, where he lost by pin, securing second place in the tournament.

KHS kids show ‘singlet’-minded focus

Photo: Kaneland wrestlers did their part in spring yard cleanups for senior citizens in Sugar Grove in the effort to raise funds for a trip to Wisconsin for a wrestling camp. Over 280 hours were spent volunteering. Courtesy Photo

Wrestlers’ week at camp fueled by helping community
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—How do 28 Kaneland middle school and high school wrestlers spend four days in the Wisconsin Dells area?

By competing against fellow wrestlers from states like Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin in a team wrestling camp.

An involved week at the Malecek Wrestling Camp from June 25-28 was the final piece of a puzzle that had various levels of the Kaneland wrestling program doing good in the area as a fundraiser to send team members to the elite camp.

The wrestling staff brainstormed some ideas and the plan was announced at the winter Wrestling Banquet in March after setting a goal to send kids to a well-known camp.

According to KHS wrestling coach Monty Jahns, the team volunteered 281.25 hours to the community, with an additional 111.75 hours donated by coaches and parents.

The camp featured 60 high school teams and over 900 wrestlers, but the matches, dual meets and round-robin tournaments were only part of the overall package.

In order to raise funds for the camp goal, donations for volunteer work was decided upon after the brain trust wanted to go a non-traditional route—away from discount cards and popcorn.

Area institutions like the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva, the Sugar Grove Senior Center, Sugar Grove Historical Society, John Shields Elementary School, Conley Farm and Delnor Hospital received volunteer hours.

Beginning the spearheading of the project in the winter, Jahns believes it couldn’t have worked out better.

“It was great that they were able to do this, and we helped people,” Jahns said. “It taught them responsibility and got them out in the community.”

The final total of 17 wrestlers making it to the camp was the result of the very definition of a group effort. The size and scale of the volunteer effort was a new experience for volunteer coach and Knights Wrestling Club coach Bob McCaffrey.

“I have volunteered for larger organizations and have been part of other ‘traditional’ fundraisers for local sports teams,” McCaffrey said. “The most impressive thing was seeing the boys learning and understanding the impact that volunteering has on the people they were helping.”

McCaffrey also made mention of incoming senior Eddie Rodriguez, the Student Administrative Assistant of the program.

The man-hours paved the way for actual mat time featuring duals and round-robins, making for an experience well worth it.

“The competition is a measuring stick for where they boys are at and what they need to prepare for the upcoming season. By being together in the off-season they grow and learn as a team,” McCaffrey said.

Successful wrestling contingents often are only as good as their team effort. An effort on the scale of the past four months seems to bode well for the Kaneland crew.

“This was due to an outstanding effort and constant communication. It was awesome,” Jahns said.

Closest to the Pin


KHS wrestling coach Monty Jahns tees off during the Kaneland Boys Basketball Program 3rd Annual Golf Outing, which was held on Saturday at Bliss Creek Golf Club in Sugar Grove. The golf outing has been developed to bring together the Kaneland community, athletes, parents, alumni and community businesses. The fundraiser raised money for uniforms, equipment and fees for summer leagues and shootouts. Photo by Patti Wilk

Young Kaneland-area wrestlers excel

KANELAND—This past weekend a number of students from the Kaneland School District participated in the IKWF (Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation) Regional Championships held in Wheaton and Sycamore.

The top six finishers at each weight class advance to Sectional Meets in Elgin, Ill. and Rochelle, Ill. Ten of the wrestlers are members of the Martinez Fox Valley Elite Wrestling Club, and all qualified for this weekend’s Sectional Meet in Elgin, Ill. Those who qualified were: Nathan Orosco (3rd place – Novice), John McCaffrey (2nd place – Novice), Zack Farris (5th place – Novice), Jacob Shear (3rd place – Senior), Matthew Redman (5th place – Senior), Hayden Patterson (4th place – Senior), Trevor Jones (4th place – Novice), Luke Eggenberger (5th place – Novice). Riley Vanik (2nd place – Novice), and Mitchell Jones (3rd place – Senior).

The Knights Wrestling Club had 12 wrestlers advance to their Sectionals in Rochelle. Those who qualified were: Jace Black (4th place – Intermediate), Brenden Parks (3rd Place – Intermediate), Jack Certa (6th place – Intermediate), Brandon Bryan (6th place – Intermediate), Colin Gussman (5th place – Senior), Diego Lobo (5th place – Senior), George Strang (4th place – Senior), Tommy Kumar (2nd place – Novice), Austin Parks (4th place – Senior), Ben Long (5th Place – Senior), Connor Hoeft (4th place – Novice), and Zach Parker (1st place – Senior).

The Sectional meets have 12 wrestlers at each weight, and the top three finishers will move on to the State Championships in Rockford, Ill., on Friday and Saturday, March 9-10.

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.

State of excellence: Wrestlers bring 4 to Champaign

Photo by John DiDonna: Ben Kovalick

by Mike Slodki
STERLING—You’d have to go back to 1994 to revisit the last time Kaneland High School wrestling had more than three State qualifiers.

Back then, the older set of the current crew would be wrestling in their cribs.

A year after Kyle Davidson and Jimmy Boyle earned State berths, Kaneland sends 106-pounder Stephen Gust, 126-pound Esai Ponce, 138-pounder Dan Goress and 220-pounder Ben Kovalick to the IHSA Individual State tournament in Champaign, Ill., at Assembly Hall.

A senior, Kovalick waded through a tough sectional group in Sterling on Thursday and Friday at the home of the Golden Warriors. Kovalick (35-5) disposed of Peoria Richwoods’ Keith King in three minutes, 16 seconds, then pinned Freeport’s Malique Johnson in 5:21 before edging Marmion’s Alex Fritz in a 2-1 affair. East Peoria’s Lucas Joseph win the 220-pound group with a 15-6 major decision.

“As a team, we’ve really been focusing on these last three weeks and it’s paid off,” Kovalick said, “All across the board there were some really talented guys in that weight class, but I got the draw that I wanted and I thought this year was definitely the year.”

Kovalick takes on Niles Notre Dame’s Ryan Walsk (28-9) in the first round.

Gust’s (27-7) sectional began with a 7-3 loss to Anthony Bosco of Marmion, but continued with a 5-3 win over Rock Island’s Tyler DeHaven, and then the junior took care of East Moline’s Jeronnie Steward in an 8-1 decision. Gust then got past Washington’s Austin Wileman, 2-0, before losing to Sterling’s Isaac Anderson in the third-place match, 7-2.

“We just came out and sent as many as we could downstate,” Gust said. “After Friday, I was pretty discouraged and I didn’t know what was to come on the second day and I just thought, ‘Let’s wrestle.’”

Gust takes on Montini Catholic’s Tommy Pawelski in the opening bout in Champaign.

In the 138-pound category, Goress (32-4) pinned Peoria Notre Dame’s Scott Bousek in 4:34 and beat Yorkville rival Brennan Sharp by 17-9 major decision before losing the final to Marmion’s Angelo Silvestro 9-5.

“I felt confident I could get it done and get in the finals,” the junior Goress said. “Last year, I made the mistake of overlooking opponents I had beaten before. This year I wasn’t making that mistake, everyone’s 0-0.”

Goress takes on Lemont’s Bobby Bromberek in the first round.

Ponce (39-5) dealt with the crowded sectional by beating Peoria’s Pedro Garcia in 3:33 and beat first-round bye recipient Chase Wiggins of Rock Island, 7-0. Ponce then lost to eventual champ George Fisher of Marmion 5-1, before advancing via injury default over Belvidere North’s Erik Nord.

“In the past, I knew I lost to kids I know I shouldn’t have,” Ponce. “That’s been one of my goals, to wrestle my best this season.”

Ponce has Lemont’s Jake Latanski in the first round in Champaign.

“It was a good match last time, but I lost, and I’m going to go out there and just wrestle the best I can, and I feel I’ve improved a lot since the beginning of my season.”

The 2A festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, with preliminary matches.

Wrestling sends seven to Sterling Sectional

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.

It pays to pin: Kaneland grapplers edge Batavia

Photo: Knight Esai Ponce tries to leverage Batavia’s Kamran Khamissi during Friday’s 31-30 mat win. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A roller coaster of emotions set upon the Kaneland wrestling mat at the end of Friday evening’s clash between the Knights and Batavia.

But with the tiebreaker rule of most pins going the way of the black-and-white, Kaneland’s trajectory toward postseason fortune is on a straight line.

Despite Batavia getting a pin to end competition and tie matters at 30 apiece, the pin edge went to Kaneland, giving the Knights a 31-30 win.

The regular season ended on a high note and closed the dual meet mark for KHS at 11-12, an improvement over a year ago.

Coach Monty Jahns will take all the good news he can get, with Kaneland and Batavia always good for action.

“I’m looking for big things, and the kids are wrestling well. Our goal is to win, but we see Sycamore again in a week and other teams we’ve met, and they’re tough,” Jahns said.

Batavia went out to an early 24-4 lead before Kaneland scored 26 straight points.

The 106-pound match went Stephen Gust’s way via technical fall over Matt Patton. Teammate Connor Williams handled business in the 113-pound match by an 8-6 tally.

Esai Ponce won his 126-pound match over Kamran Khamissi in 3:10, but it could have easily gone Batavia’s way had Ponce not cleverly kept his balance.

“A lot of the times, it’s not just one move it comes down to,” Ponce said. “If one move doesn’t work, you have to keep going.”

Sonny Horn won the 132-pound match by 10-6 decision, and teammate Dan Goress won his 138-pound match by 9-4 clip.

Senior cornerstone Ben Kovalick won a major decision over Connor McKeehan 10-0 in the 220-pound match.

KHS now heads to the DeKalb individual regional on Saturday, Feb. 4. Teams accompanying Kaneland are Belvidere, Belvidere North, Burlington Central, DeKalb, Boylan Catholic of Rockford, Rockford East and Sycamore.

KHS wrestlers take third at NIB-12

Gust, Goress secure conference bragging rights
STERLING—If looking for incremental improvements that could go a long way, look at this year’s Northern Illinois Big XII conference meeting.

The Knights finished fourth as a team in the inaugural meet a year ago. This year, behind steady performances from a handful of Knights, Kaneland finished third with 164 team points, just two ahead of DeKalb High School.

Sycamore was crowned NIB-12 champs with 222.5 points, followed by Yorkville at 220. Rounding out the top five was LaSalle-Peru at 117.

Kaneland can boast 103-pound rep Stephen Gust as a conference champ with a 4-0 win over DeKalb counterpart Jackson Montgomery. Gust got to the finals with a 5-1 effort over Rochelle’s TC Hager.

Joining Gust on the first-place perch was teammate Dan Goress, who took the 138-pound class with a 13-6 win over Dixon’s Zach Lehman. Goress entered the final after beating Sycamore’s Thomas Ernster 9-2.

Making it to the finals was KHS junior Esai Ponce, who pinned Tyler Hermann of LaSalle-Peru in one minute, 23 seconds before losing 14-7 to DeKalb’s Doug Johnson in the final.

Ben Kovalick made it to the 220-pound final by virtue of a pin with 13 seconds left over Ottawa’s Cyrano Rayfield, and dropped a 7-3 match to Sycamore’s Matt Copple to end the day.

The regular season concludes with a home matchup vs. old rival Batavia on Friday, Jan. 27.

Kaneland wrestlers own Flott Invite

Photo: Senior Ben Kovalick goes for the win in his match on Friday. Kaneland emerged with a 38-36 dual win in NIB-12 action.
Photo by Patti Wilk

KHS surge highlighted by 1st place, plus win vs. Morris
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A recent seasonal trend with Kaneland wrestling is an uphill climb at first, but once Kaneland gets tournaments under its belt and conference season hits the homestretch, things look better.

It’s no different this year.

A marquee Friday evening matchup against rival Morris yielded a close 38-36 win over the Redskins, while Saturday’s annual Margaret Flott Memorial Tournament showed a first-place effort for the Knights, their third in a row for the gathering.

The Knights have now eclipsed last year’s dual win total, and sit at 10-12, with the IHSA Class 2A Regional taking place in just over two weeks.

“To have seven wrestlers even get into the finals and having every one of them win says a lot about their drive and determination at this point in the season,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said.

Against the Redskins, Luke Kreiter earned a decision victory over Morris’ AJ Vota by a 9-7 clip.

Kaneland’s Esai Ponce stuck a pin in :57 over Brandon Walker. Teammate Dan Goress took the 138-pound matchup with a 21-6 technical fall.

In the 152-pound meeting, Knight Zach Russell pinned Kyle Abney in 3:03, and 170-pounder Austin Brummel won his matchup via 3:21 pinfall.

Ben Kovalick staked his claim to the 220-pound category with a 1:20 pin on Dalton Ness, while Zach Theis conquered John Guistat in 46 seconds for the heavyweight bragging rights.

The Flott Memorial Tournament, hosted by Kaneland, provided some home mat advantage in the form of seven first places and a 163-point total for the Knights, just four points better than Burlington Central. Addison Trail took third with 143 points in the 10-team clash.

Sonny Horn defeated Rochelle’s Josh Ankeny in overtime, 6-4, then beat Larkin’s Joshua Brooks in a 4:12 tech fall before beating BC’s Jordan Fillmore in a 16-4 major decision for the 132-pound crown.

Goress beat BC’s Andrew Brown in 1:44, beat Addison Trail’s Koani Smith in a technical fall outcome and beat Prairie Central’s Evan Bahler in an 8-3 meeting for the 138-pound nod.

Knight Steven Hlatko was declared champion of the 195-pound group after beating Rochelle’s Tyler Voegler, 5-1, and beating Ottawa’s Alex Fuentes, 7-2.

Kovalick shelved Ottawa’s Cyrano Rayfield in 1:48 and Rochelle’s Logan Sutton in a 4-2 final.

Theis beat Marian Central Catholic’s Scott Taylor in 4:59 and Devontate Joshua of Larkin with :14 left in regulation before handling Danny Robles of Addison Trail in 1:10 in finals action.

Connor Williams took the 113-pound mantle with a 3:32 fall over Larkin’s Tyler Vonnessen and a 13-8 win over Addison Trail’s Jake Plekavic.

Ponce took the 126-pound grouping by shutting out Rochelle’s Joe Goshko 5-0, and then outlasting Prairie Central’s Ben Traub, 6-2.

The ‘82 crew


On Friday, Kaneland High School honored the 1982 wrestling team before the varsity match against Morris. The team had a record of 16 wins and only 6 losses, with five of those losses being by eight points or less. Pictured are (L to R) Gary Baum, Kevin Callaghan, Coach Terry McCoy, Tom Medernach, Roger Stockl, Greg Stockl and Coach Joe Thorgesen. Not Pictured: Mike Castello, Pat Rink, Chuck Hare, Mike Krider, Don Flynn, Reagan Mack, Dan Vicars, Kent Goff, Tom Sauber, Joel Huggins, Jeff Apgar, Todd Michels, Mike Hooey and Coach Jim Butler. Photo by Patti Wilk

Mat warriors finish 14th at Sycamore

Photo: Kaneland’s Austin Brummel (170 lbs) gets the upper hand with his Pontiac opponent during his match at Sycamore’s 37th annual wrestling invitational on Saturday. Over 20 schools competed in the event. Brummel eventuallly got the pin and the win. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s tough to stand out at a wrestling invite, 22 teams deep.

For a select few KHS wrestlers, they were able to barrel through their fields for some noteworthy finishes at the 37th annual Sycamore Invite on Saturday.

KHS finished in 14th place with 327.5 team points, ahead of Pontiac by 22.

Minooka won the meet with 585 points, 22.5 ahead of Grant High School of Fox Lake.

Host school Sycamore finished sixth with 464 points, as the only other Northern Illinois Big XII representative.

In the 126-pound group, Esai Ponce made it to the championship final and finished second. 138-pounder Dan Goress finished third, and Ben Kovalick took second in the 220-pound field.

Other finishes included Connor Williams in 10th for 113 pounds, Luke Kreiter in 18th in the 120 group, and Sonny Horn in ninth for 132.

Austin Brummel served in the 170 bracket and finished 14th, but made short work of Pontiac’s Jesse Carter with a pin in under two minutes.

“It was good to get out there and win,” Brummel said. “It was intense and a tough match, and I just tried to move around as much as I could.”

Teammate Steven Hlatko took eighth in the 195 pairings, and heavyweight Zach Theis took sixth.

Ponce began his day with a 1:04 pin over Moline’s Tanner Woods, then won by 5-2 tally over Rock Island’s Chase Wiggins. In the semifinal, Ponce took a 10-5 win over Harlem’s Tanner Anthony before losing to Crystal Lake South’s Nick Gil by a score of 2-0.

Goress’ day began with a 5-2 win over Grant’s Devin Monroy, followed by a 7-5 win over Minooka’s Jake DeKlerk, After dropping an 18-3 technical fall to Mundelein’s Matt Ornoff, Goress rallied to beat McHenry’s Wade Lardy in the third-place clash by a 5-2 final.

Kovalick continued to provide a season-long example of how to get it done against varied competition, beginning his day with a 1:37 pin over Mundelein’s Jose Jimenez. Kovalick took a quarterfinal matchup with Crystal Lake South’s Mike Romanelli by virtue of a 3-2 clip.

Kovalick earned his last win of the meet with a 12-3 major decision over Nathan Gunn of Minooka, before succumbing to Grant’s Quinton Quarles by a 2-1 margin.

Grapplers go 2-3 at storied Flavin Invite

DEKALB—Kaneland’s wrestling roster made its usual stop in a first-time locale as 2011 drew to a close.

On Thursday and Friday, the Knights visited DeKalb’s new grounds on Dresser Road for the Don Flavin Invite.

The Knights emerged with an eighth place finish after going 2-3 in the dual setup.

Naperville’s Neuqua Valley High School won the field, followed by Hononegah and Glenbard West. Host DeKalb finished in 11th place.

Kaneland defeated Dundee-Crown 56-21, and Pewaukee of Wisconsin by a final of 37-28. KHS then lost to Glenbard West, Bloomington and Naperville North in the next day of competition.

The Knights are now 9-12 in dual action this season.

Against Pewaukee, Stephen Gust (8-0), Connor Williams (9-1), Esai Ponce (10-1), Dan Goress (17-3) and Matt Price (3-1) emerged with wins, and the Knights took the lead for good on two forfeits.

In the matchup with Dundee-Crown, Kaneland saw a 6-0 win from Williams, a 3:06 pinfall from Ponce, a 5:01 pin by Sonny Horn, a :45 fall produced by Dan Goress, and a 16-4 win by Steven Hlatko.

In the loss against the Hilltoppers, Gust earned a 2-0 win, and Williams followed with a 3-1 victory. Ponce earned the last Knight win over Glenbard West by a 6-5 margin.

Ponce found another win over Bloomington, 4-0, while Goress stuck a 3:10 pinfall. 220-pounder Ben Kovalick gathered a 3:24 pin, and Gust won his bout, 5-0.

In the seventh-place matchup on Friday, the Huskies won the final match for the one-point win. Ponce, Horn and Goress earned wins by the full six minutes.

KHS heads to Rochelle on Thursday, Jan. 5, for its first meet of the year with Pleasant Valley High School of Iowa.

KHS wrestlers go on Thursday tear in quad

Photo: Steve Gust, shown in action Dec. 15, provides a constant at the 106-pound clas for Knights wrestling. Gust came away with an 8-0 win over Richmond-Burton’s Grant Sutton during a successful quad for KHS on Thursday. File photo

KANELAND—What’s the best cure for a season that has given you the dual blues?

Go up against Woodstock, Richmond-Burton and Mundelein on your home mat and win convincingly.

On Thursday, the Knight grapplers swept the field with three big wins, and improved to 7-9 before the sizable gathering in DeKalb later this week.

KHS got the best of Woodstock 46-13, Richmond-Burton 39-22 and Mundelein 42-33 in the meeting.

Against the Silver Streaks of Woodstock, pinfalls were garnered in the 120-pound match by Luke Kreiter in three minutes, 15 seconds and in the 126-pound battle by Esai Ponce in 3:10. Additionally, Connor Williams won his 113-pound match by a 14-1 tally.

Against the R-B Rockets, the Knights saw their points add up by the work of Williams in a 1:42 pinfall, Zach Theis’ technical fall in 4:47, and an 8-0 shutout by Steve Gust in the 103-pound encounter.

In the nine-point win over Mundelein, the pinfalls went the way of 132-pound Sonny Horn in 3:52, 182-pounder Matt Price (1:51) and 220-pounder Ben Kovalick (:50). Ponce won his meeting by a 7-1 clip, and Dan Goress took a 6-2 win in the 138-pound meeting.

Ahead for the Knights is the usual Don Flavin Invite in DeKalb on Thursday, Dec. 29, and Friday, Dec. 30.

Wrestlers grab two Saturday wins after losing to YHS

Photo: Dan Goress recovers from a precarious position during Thursday’s 39-26 dual loss to Yorkville High School in a Northern Illinois Big XII battle. Goress came away with a 16-5 major decision over the Foxes’ Brennan Sharp. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Against conference rival Yorkville, the Knights (4-9) lost 39-26 to the host school.

In a valiant effort, wins were garnered by personnel like Steven Hlatko at 185 points, in a 14-5 win. 126-pounder Esai Ponce nabbed a 1:11 pin. 220-pound rep Ben Kovalick earned a pin just :52 in his match. 132-pounder Sonny Horn took a 4-2 decision. In the 138-pound clash, Dan Goress won a 16-5 major decision.

106-pound weapon Steve Gust earned a 6-3 overtime win, and knew pressure was on him to perform for a Knights squad closing the points gap in each Northern Illinois Big XII meeting.

“He already had a stalling call, and then it went to overtime and double overtime and just kept wrestling and came out on top,” Gust said. “You just put stuff together and we’re getting better each week.”

On Saturday in Maple Park, the Knights took on Rock Island and lost 42-27, beat Larkin High School 58-18 and edged former conference rival Geneva 39-36.

Against the Rocks, Ponce won over Rock Island’s Chase Wiggins 6-0. Dan Goress won his 138-pound battle 7-2. 189-pounder Matt Price emerged with a 12-5 win.

Encouragingly enough, the heavier weights represented by Hlatko, Kovalick and 285-pounder Zach Theis all earned pinfalls.

The Knights took six forfeit wins over Elgin’s Larkin Royals squad in a 58-18 win, and supplanted that win with pinfalls by 113-pound Connor Williams (1:53), 120-pound Luke Kreiter (3:05) and Price (5:31).

In the win over Geneva, pins were secured by Gust (2:36), Williams (1:38), Ponce (3:51), 132-pound Sonny Horn (3:30), Goress (1:42) and Kovalick (1:24). Price went the distance in a 3-0 win, as well.

The Knights get a break before hitting the mat on Thursday, Dec. 29, and Friday, Dec. 30, as part of DeKalb’s Don Flavin Invite.

Kaneland wrestlers eclipsed by DeKalb

KANELAND—Against the visiting DeKalb Barbs, KHS was hoping for its own indoor version of Friday Night Lights.

As it stood, DeKalb made sure the Knight grapplers had a disappointing night in a 41-28 Northern Illinois Big XII tussle.

Kaneland’s mark on the young season is 2-6, and 0-2 in NIB-12 action.

WIns for the Knight total were provided by personnel like Steve Gust, who won 7-1, Esai Ponce, who took a 5-0 win in the 126-pound match, and 182-pound entry Matt Price, who took a 13-7 win.

Pinfalls were secured by 113-pound Connor Williams in three minutes, 23 seconds, 138-pound Dan Goress in 4:19 and 220-pound representative Ben Kovalick.

KHS prepares for a battle in Yorkville on Thursday, Dec. 15.

Grapplers solved by Sycamore, split Saturday excursion

Photo: Connor Williams (113 lbs) controls his opponent during his match on Thursday when Kaneland hosted Sycamore. Photo by Mary Herra

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—While there were some encouraging duels on Thursday, “some” won’t get it done against Sycamore wrestling when “all” are needed.

Sycamore beat Kaneland 52-12 on Thursday in Maple Park.

The Spartans went out to a 35-0 lead over Knights wrestling before 220-pound asset Ben Kovalick earned a pinfall in four minutes, 30 seconds.

“We’ve got stuff to work on, look at everything tomorrow and hope we come out a lot better than that (Saturday). We want to remember this and use it,” Kovalick said.

The next win for KHS (2-4, 0-1 NIB-12) came with 106-pounder Steve Gust taking a 3-2 decision to close within 38-9.

In the final match of the evening, 132-pounder Esai Ponce took an 8-0 shutout win.

The Knights recovered somewhat on Saturday, defeating Lansing’s T.F. South High School on its turf, 48-24, before losing to the Lemont Indians at the same location, 44-21.

Gust got the mat rolling vs. T.F. South with a 4:59 pinfall in the 106-pound match. At 126, Ponce emerged with a 3:25 pinfall. Sonny Horn contributed with a pin in 4:11, while 285-pound entry Zach Theis took a 3:17 pin home.

Gust continued his hot streak against Lemont with a 5:05 pinfall, and Connor Williams took a 2:48 pinfall. However, the only accompanying victory on the mat was 138-pounder Dan Goress, with a 7-1 win.

Wrestlers see some success in Saturday meet

KANELAND—The season opener featured a 45-34 loss to Wheaton-Warrenville South, a 34-28 win over the Pretzels of Freeport, and a 42-36 loss to Burlington Central.

The Saturday festivities yielded a 1-2 start for KHS.

Against the Tigers, the Knights saw encouraging victories, to be sure. 106-pound entry Steve Gust came away with an 8-3 win, while three of his fellow Knights secured pinfall victories.

113-pounder Connor Williams won in one minute, 56 seconds. Esai Ponce, at 132, won in 1:01. 195-pound rep Steven Hlatko pinned his adversary in 32 seconds, while 285-pound entry Zach Theis followed quite admirably in 2011 grad Jimmy Boyle’s tracks, earning a :31 pinfall.

In the win over Freeport, Gust won 11-0, while Williams won 10-1. 220-pound cornerstone Ben Kovalick won 6-1, Ponce earned a :39 stick, and Hlatko took a fall in 3:17.

Taking on the Rockets, the Knights saw an 8-3 win for Gust, an 8-2 win for Williams, a 1:21 pinfall for Ponce, a 3:55 win for 145-pound entry Kyle Ocasio, a 1:06 win for Hlatko and a 2:57 pinfall by Theis.

On the horizon for Kaneland is a meeting with visiting rival Sycamore on Thursday, Dec. 1.

Leadership key for KHS wrestling roster

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s no small task; to ask a group of grapplers to perform after losing graduates like State-goers Jimmy Boyle and Kyle Davidson of a year ago.

With Knight wrestlers, intangibles they provided will live on in the current crop.

Despite finishing 11-15 in a dual setting, Kaneland had a prolific regional meet, and took what the Class of 2011 left it to heart.

“(Davidson and Boyle) were state qualifiers and four-year varsity starters,” fourth-year KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “Their leadership will be missed, however their tenacity and dedication was taken in by the underclassmen. We expect senior Ben Kovalick to provide solid leadership this year.”

Kovalick competed at 215 pounds a year ago.

“I think Kovalick will lead the Knights this season. Ben is a consistent hard worker that is very coachable,” Jahns said.

Also looking to make hay on the mat are returnees Esai Ponce and Dan Goress, both of whom provided lifts a year ago in the lighter weight classes. Ponce, a junior, was at 119, while classmate Goress excelled at 130 and was one of five Knights to take home regional crowns a year ago.

The Knights are solidifying lineup questions due to the prolonged football quest, but Jahns still has much to be encouraged about.

“This group has an appreciation for the technical skills and is willing to put in extra time to be well conditioned. We’re going to be pretty thin with our line-up for the next week or so, but when all our football players return, I expect the intensity in the practice room to explode,” Jahns said.

Kaneland would love to sync up regular season success with the postseason triumphs, and KHS will need to compete at a high level at duals, and continue the good fortunes at weekend tournaments.

“I think we will just be lacking varsity experience at several weight classes, and that may be difficult to overcome in a dual-meet setting. For tournaments, we’ll have enough very good wrestlers that place high and earn the points needed to compete in a tournament setting,” Jahns said.

Winter sports awards, NIB-12 honors dished out

KANELAND—For boys basketball, captains Matt Cowans, Tyler Callaghan and Chaon Denlinger were recognized. Most Improved Player nods went to Zach Ringhouse and Trever Heinle. Denlinger also took home the Most Valuable Player. Callghan was awarded Defensive Player of the Year, and freshman teammate Daniel Helm was named Offensive Player of the Year. Kory Harner was named the winner of the Mr. Husle Award, and the All-Northern Ilinois Big XII entries were Denlinger and Helm.

For girls basketball, Defensive Player of the Year honor went to senior Andie Strang and teammate Emily Heimerdinger.

Kelly Evers was named MVP of the varsity squad, while teammate Emma Bradford took home the Most Improved Player award.

Heimerdinger was also award Ms. Kaneland Basketball and made honorable mention for the Northern Illinois Big XII, while Evers added to her awards with a Northern lllinois Big XII all-conference mention.

For sophomore girls basketball, Ashley Prost was named MVP. Brooke Harner was given the Defensive Player of the Year award, followed by Ashley Castellanos and Morgan Newhouse combining on the Most Improved Player awards.

Ms. Kaneland Basketball for the sophomore unit went to Sarah Grams.

Additionally, Alli Liss was named the winner of the Sophomore Hustle Chart Winner.

For the freshman level, Lauren Zick was named MVP and Sydney Strang was awarded Defensive Player of the Year. Most Improved Player was shared by Kelly Wallner and Katie Brinkman. Ms. Basketball went to Amber Winquist-Bailey, while Strang and Caroline Heimerdinger shared captains honors.

Knights wrestling issued a handful of awards, beginning with Kyle Davidson and Jimmy Boyle taking the Most Valuable Wrestler honors.

Zach Theis was named MVW of the JV ranks. Stephen Gust took home the Most Improved Wrestler award. The JV Most Improved Wrestler nod went to David Barnhart.

Andrew Essex was named the Bob Domena Memorial Award Hardest Worker.

Ben Kovalick was given the Dave Osman Memorial Award Most Dedicated Wrestler honor. The Russell Anderson Memorial Award was given to Dan Goress.

Davidson and Boyle were recognized as team captains, and Zach Ganz took home the Heart and Soul Award.

Finally, Boyle, Kovalick, Goress, Davidson and Keagan Mattes were honored for their inclusion on the All-Northern Illinois Big XII team.

For Kaneland Lady Knights bowling, Holly Thomas took home recognition for high series, high game, high average and captainship.

Morgan Wojciechowski was named Most Improved Bowler, and Seleana Isaacs was named Most Improved, as well. Isaacs also was given the coach’s award.

Three Kaneland High School wrestlers qualified to travel this past weekend to Springfield, Ill. to compete in the Team Illinois Freshman/Sophomore State Championships.

Dan Goress (center) was crowned champion in the 130-pound category, while Esai Ponce
(second from right) placed second in the 125-pound category. Fellow grappler Zachary Theis (far left) took fourth at 215 pounds. All three competitors represented the Knights Wrestling Club. Coaches were: Quinn Jahns (second from left), Troy Jorgenson (back, third from left) and Ben Kovalick (right). Courtesy Photo

Knights Wrestling Club headed to Rockford

KANELAND—Zach Parker and Tom Price had a productive enough sectional on Saturday to move on to the State Tournament this weekend.

Zach Parker placed second at 177 pounds, while Tom Price placed third at 166 pounds.

On Saturday, the Knights Wrestling Club wrestlers competed in the IKWF Sectional Wrestling Tournament in Rochelle. The following Knights wrestlers participated in the Sectionals: Zack Farris, Trevor Jones, Nathan Westmaas, John McCaffrey (fourth place at 66 pounds, Nevin Thielk, Hayden Patterson, George Strang, Riley Vanik, Mitchell Jones, Zach Parker, Jake Helfers, Mike Silfugarian, Austin Parks, and Tom Price.The State Championships are Friday and Saturday, March 11-12, at the Rockford MetroCentre.

State-qualifier Boyle takes fourth at elite meet

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Senior Jimmy Boyle, who has been no slouch on the football field for Kaneland High School, now has something to remember his time as a wrestler by.

Namely, a fourth-place finish at the IHSA Class 2A State wrestling meet in the 285-pound weight class on Friday and Saturday.

His best season-ending finish behind him, Boyle knew it felt different down in Champaign, Ill., despite having traveled for the elite meet a year ago.

“It did feel different,” Boyle said. “I was talking with the coaches down there, and it was the feeling of any time could have been my last match.”

Boyle, who was a consistent cornerstone in the heavyweight category the last three years, began the weekend with a 1-0 decision over Riverside-Brookfield’s John Schraidt.

Boyle also took care of Schraidt in the first-round matchup a year ago, via pinfall in 3:33.

Next, Boyle fell to State runner-up Jeremy Brazil of Vernon Hills High School by pinfall in 4:23.

In perhaps the most gratifying bout for Boyle, he won his wrestleback with Marmion Academy’s Alex Fritz by 3-2 decision.

“I really wanted to win that one for a little revenge. He beat me on Senior Night and I really didn’t want that to be the end,” Boyle said.

LaSalle-Peru’s Jason Huebbe defeated Boyle by 6-0 decision in the third-place encounter.

Ross Ferraro of Lemont is the champion after beating Brazil, 4-3.

With his wrestling time finished and Boyle eyeing a football trade in college, the senior feels he made huge strides on the mat.

“I think my conditioning and confidence really improved. I was able to try new things and I really opened up,” Boyle said.

Boyle is looking at Division II St. Joseph’s College in Indiana, now soon to be home of fellow KHS athletes Tyler Callaghan and Andie Strang.

With the end of the campaign, Kaneland wrestling says goodbye to seniors
Boyle, Kyle Davidson (2010 State qualifier), Tyler Esposito, Zach Ganz,
Keagan Mattes, Cody McGinnis, Nick Michels, Chris Sabal and Cory Taber.

THE BOYLE FILES
CASE No. 285
2010-2011: 38-8; 4th in State for Class 2A
2009-2010: 41-5
2008-2009: 30-10

Knights wrestling club in the “2nd season”

The Knights Wrestling Club (ages 5-14) will complete in the IKWF (Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation) Regional Meet on Saturday , Feb. 26, at Sycamore High School.
The team began practicing in early November and this is the first step in the State Series. Thirty of the club’s members will participate and try to advance to the Sectional Meet on March 5 in Rochelle, Ill.

Those scheduled to wrestle are Austin Parks, Brenden Parks, Mike Silfugarian, Jace Black, Sam Girolamo, Austin Callahan, Collin Callahan, Evan Callahan, Tom Price, Riley Vanik, Hayden Patterson, Zac Parker, Colin Gussman, George Strang, Nick Sowers, John McCaffrey, Trevor Jones, Mitchell Jones, Zach Farris, CJ Wehrmann, Zane Pozen, Zoey Pozen, Jack Certa, Logan Piercy, Sam Gagne, Max Gagne, Tyler Binge, Alex Binge, Jacob Shearer and Brock Zimmerman.

Boyle breaks out at wrestling Sectional

Photo: Kaneland’s Jimmy Boyle (285 lbs) is no stranger to Champaign, Ill., having gone to 2010 State. File Photo

KANELAND—It’s familiar territory for Knights heavyweight Jimmy Boyle.

Familiar but exceptional territory for the senior, who now goes to the IHSA Class 2A State tournament at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill., this weekend.

Boyle goes down for the second consecutive year after a second-place showing at the Rochelle Sectional on Friday and Saturday.

Boyle, now with a 36-6 mark on the season, began the gathering with a 3-1 win in overtime over Ottawa’s Robby Marotta. He then beat Marian Central Catholic’s Scott Taylor by 3-0 count in another overtime before losing to LaSalle-Peru’s Jason Huebbe, 3-1, in the championship final.

The only other finalist for Kaneland was Nick Michels at 171 pounds, who lost in the third-place matchup to Freeport’s Armond Hollins by a 7-2 count. Michels began the sectional with an 8-2 win over Washington’s Dan Massengill, and then lost to Marengo’s Mark Hendricks in a 4-2 decision.

Michels then beat Sterling’s Jeremy Galvan, 14-8, to go into the third-place final.

For Boyle, his first test this weekend is Riverside-Brookfield’s John Schraidt, with the winner facing Vernon Hills’ Jeremy Brazil.

KHS wrestlers execute winning combination, take 2nd place at regional

Photo: Kaneland’s Cody McGinnis (160 lbs) executes a take-down during the IHSA Class 2A Regional at Sycamore on Saturday. McGinnis won this match against Wheaton Academy. Photo by John DiDonna

SYCAMORE—When KHS wrestling coach Monty Jahns mentioned that his team had an eye on the postseason and may be better equipped for tournament settings, he wasn’t kidding.

Despite only nine wins in dual meet competition, the Knights wrestling roster stepped up its collective game just in time. A 205-point output at the IHSA Class 2A Sycamore Regional on Saturday was good for second place in the eight-team regional.

Kaneland advanced 11 out of 14 wrestlers to Saturday, Feb. 12, and the Rochelle Sectional.

Sycamore, with a total of 231.5, took the regional. After Kaneland, Rochelle finished third with 113 points, and Burlington Central finished fourth with 104 points. Dixon (76), Hampshire (67), Freeport (43.5) and Wheaton Academy (25) rounded out the bottom four.

Regional champs for Kaneland began with 103-pound Stephen Gust, who beat Hampshire’s Alex Feltz in a 3-1 encounter to take the title.

Sonny Horn, at 125-pounds, beat Hampshire’s Tyler Espino in the final by a 3-2 score. Teammate Dan Goress took the 130-pound final over Dixon’s Kylain Lally by pinfall in 1:52.

Nick Michels, at 171-pounds, won the grouping thanks to a 5-3 overtime win over Sycamore’s Michael Madden.

Jimmy Boyle rounded out the first-place finishes with a 4:48 pin of Rochelle’s Nate Rodefelt.

Other championship finalists included Esai Ponce at 119 pounds, who was defeated by Christopher Kerwin of Sycamore, 7-3. Chris Sabal made it to the 145-pound final, where he lost to Steven Lalowski of Sycamore in 1:03. Keagan Mattes rode to the finals but lost to Sycamore’s Jake Davis in 3:52.

Cody McGinnis, at 160-pounds, beat Rochelle’s Kane Rodrigue, 3-2, to finish in third. Teammate Ben Kovalick beat Rochelle’s Logan Sutton by 15-2 final.

Andrew Essex also finished fourth in 140-pound action.