Tag Archives: AJ Wagner

Knights send one of their own to State

Levita finishes second at sectional in 145 lbs. category
by Mike Slodki
While Champaign and its Assembly Hall are ususally tinged in orange-and blue, it will also have a black-and-white presence.

It comes in the form of Kaneland senior Jay Levita, who finished second in the 145-pound category during Saturday’s IHSA Class 2A Sectional at LaSalle-Peru High School.

Levita now adds his name to a sizable list of Kaneland State qualifiers.

Last year, Sean Szatkowski (112) and Jeff Stralka went to State. In 2006-2007, Szatkowski (103) was joined by 125-pounder Quinn Jahns and 189-pound entry Jake Goedken.

Goedken went for the first time as a junior in the 2005-2006 school year, while brother Marcus represented the Knights in 2004-2005.

Levita, who entered the gathering with a 29-10 record, faced Ottawa’s Anthony Brown in the second round after a bye. Levita solved Brown with an 11-1 major decision victory. Levita then defeated Rock Island’s Teighlor Echolds by a 12-5 margin before losing to Washington’s Dylan Reel in the final by a 2:45 pinfall.

Levita will face Springfield High School’s Dane Atwood (34-5) in the first round, with the winner facing Bremen’s Terrell Webster in the second. Webster comes in with a 30-2 record to Champaign.

Normal University High School freshman Alex Bee is also going to State, having finished third.
For Levita, the reasons are simple for his traveling down to wrestling’s elite group.

“It comes down to conditioning. Most of my matches are won that way. It’s my basic moves and that’s what I have to stick with.”

Wins over Sandwich’s Jake Hankes and Sycamore’s Sean Akins in the regional provided another needed boost for the senior.

“The two big wins at regionals really motivated me and kind of showed me that I could do it,” Levita said.
Heavyweight representative Jimmy Boyle was eliminated in the second round after receiving a bye by Bloomington’s Kyle McAvoy.

In the 215-pound group, Knight A.J. Wagner closed his career out with 4:38 pinfall loss to Mahomet-Seymour’s Charles Miller.

J.T. Webb, at 152 pounds, was defeated by Galesburg’s Ben LaFollette with a 20-5 technical fall.

Photo: Jay Levita makes life difficult for competition at the Sandwich Regional on Feb. 7. The senior faces Springfield’s Dane Atwood in Champaign this weekend. Photo by Ben Draper

Wrestlers get four through to sectional

by Mike Slodki
In a stacked regional, Kaneland wrestling stacked some victories and sectional berths of its own.

On Saturday, Kaneland finished sixth overall in the IHSA Class 2A Regional, and sends four grapplers to this Saturday’s sectional at LaSalle-Peru High School, site of last year’s regional.

With 92 points, Kaneland’s total was way ahead of Aurora Central Catholic’s 15.

Yorkville staged a comeback to nab a regional championship with 215.5 points. Sycamore finished second at 200 points, followed by host Sandwich (148), Rochelle (99) and Oswego (92.5).

Knights advancing to this weekend’s competition are regional champs Jay Levita, at 145 pounds, and Jimmy Boyle in the 285-pound category.

Also advancing are J.T. Webb, who finished in third place at 152 pounds, and A.J. Wagner, at third place for the 215-pound category.

Designated as alternates for the tournament thanks to fourth-place finishes were Devon Scholl at 125 pounds and Nick Michels at 189 pounds.

Levita took down Sycamore’s Sean Akins in the championship final by a 10-6 decision, and beat Sandwich’s Jake Hankes, 10-9 in the semifinal.

Boyle took care of Sycamore’s Luke Sgarlata in the heavyweight final 1-0. Todd Groth of Oswego took third after beating Sandwich’s Derek Hall with a pinfall in 2:50.

Webb defeated Sandwich’s Sam Hill in 5:20 via technical fall and Wagner beat Rochelle’s Nate Rodefelt with a 1:56 pinfall.

“You can’t make a mistake here. You just have to keep moving and progressing throughout the day,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said about the postseason environment.

The LaSalle-Peru Sectional also features regional athletes from Geneseo, Peoria Woodruff and Pontiac.

Wrestlers look to get up off mat

by Mike Slodki

Kaneland is looking at their share of individual accomplishment, but also looks to get past some tough losses as the calendar turns to 2009.

Kaneland lost on Friday in dual action to Western Sun Conference rival Dekalb, 48-18.
The Knights also competed at the annual Sycamore tournament on Saturday, finishing 13th out of 16 teams.

However, the Knights rebounded on Tuesday night after a 41-27 loss to Batavia with a 33-30 win over Morris.

Kaneland’s head-to-head mark is 9-16.

At the Sycamore tournament, the Knight grapplers garnered 49.5 points, beating out McHenry by five points. Lockport (243.5), Hononegah (205.5) and Grant (177.5) finished in the top three.

Kaneland had a few individual places to be proud of at the home of the Spartans.

At 119 pounds, Josh Kuefler finished in seventh place. After losing a 4-2 decision to Crystal Lake South’s Tom Gerszewski, he came back after a bye and defeated Rock Island’s Darius Henderson 10-4. After losing the consolation semi, Kuefler pinned Cary-Grove’s Corey Meyer in 5:25 to nab seventh.

125-pounder Devon Scholl finished in fourth thanks to a 3-0 decision over Crystal Lake South’s D.J. Nee, and a 15-6 major decision over Harlem’s Jake Papke. Scholl dropped a 4-3 heartbreaker to Sycamore’s Jeff Flanigan in the third place match.

Jay Levita, at 145 pounds, finished fourth, with a 23-14 major decision over York’s Matt Williams and an 18-2 techinical fall over Downers Grove South’s Jeff Idle.

Jimmy Boyle, at 145 pounds, also took fourth, with wins over Rock Island’s Travis Blecher in 2:34 and a 3-1 win over Sycamore’s Luke Sgarlata.

Scholl, Cody McGinnis, AJ Wagner and Boyle came away with wins over the Bulldogs.
Levita had a pinfall after tussling on the ground with his opponent; the referee imploring some grappling action.

“I usually try to be the first guy to do something on the mat, and I just tried a move and it worked and I got the pin,” Levita said.

Levita feels this year’s corps of varsity vets can lead by example.

“ We can definitely lead. The guys on varsity last year did that for us, and we can show how to be aggressive,” Levita said.

The JV crew lost 34-21 to Batavia on Thursday.

Kaneland gears up for more challenges on Thursday, Jan. 15 against visiting Batavia and hosts the the Margaret Flott Memorial Wrestling Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 17.

Wrestlers see encouraging signs at DeKalb, Woodstock

While wrestling is getting its licks in on opposing teams, the Knights would probably like to stop the opposition from getting its fair share.

The grapplers in black-and-white finished off the Don Flavin Invite on Dec. 30 with a fifth-place finish in the DeKalb-hosted gathering. Rockton Hononegah bested DeKalb 42-18 in the championship.

The first meet of 2009 featured the Knights traveling to Woodstock High School to face off against Jacobs and Mundelein.

After a split on Saturday, the Knights sit with a 8-12 record in dual action.

To finish the Don Flavin Invite after suffering three losses the first day, KHS lost to Shepard 41-32, but rallied to beat Mascoutah 57-16. Glenbard West fell victim in the fifth-place consolation battle 30-29.

The Knights fell hard to Mundelein by a 59-6 clip, with Jay Levita at 135 pounds getting a 7-3 decision, and Nick Michels earning an 11-7 win.

Despite some crucial wins, Kaneland failed to get past Jacobs 40-34.

Josh Kuefler, at 119 pounds, earned a pinfal in 1:10 to tie the score at 6-6.

Jay Levita won an 11-5 matchup with Mike Stein of Jacobs to deadlock the dual at 18. Cody McGinnis soon followed with a 2:10 pin in the 152-pound category.

J.T. Webb, at 160 pounds, took a 9-8 decision to go up 28-18 for Kaneland. A.J. Wagner earned a 1:59 pin in the 215-pound class, and heavyweight Jimmy Boyle won his match in 1:30.

Wrestling deals with tough first day of Flavin Invite

by Mike Slodki

            Kaneland wrestling’s usual late-Dec. venture to DeKalb’s High School’s Don Flavin Invite proved to be difficult but a valuable learning experience.

            Against a 16-team field with many top teams, KHS fell to Stillman Valley 47-33, West Aurora 50-23 and Woodstock 34-21. The Knights’ dual meet record ending 2008 is 5-10. Kaneland was set to grapple with Shepard on day 2 of the invite.

            In the loss vs. Stillman Valley, J.T. Webb stuck a 4:46 pin at 160 pounds. A.J. Wagner nabbed a 2:32 pinfall at 215 pounds. Matt Weaver also took home a 7-2 decision at 130 pounds.

            Vs. The Blackhawks, Jay Levita (135) earned a 6-5 win, and Cody McGinnis stuck a 2:55 pin at 152 pounds. Heavyweight Jimmy Boyle also earned a pin at 2:42, indicative of his progress lasting the whole season.

            “Jimmy’s improved the entire season,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “He’s really worked hard on his motion and driving and he’s done what we’ve asked the team to do and that’s wrestle hard for six minutes.”

            “The coaches have really worked with me and shown me how to be aggressive,” Boyle said.

            Levita (9-7 decision), Wagner (6-3 dec.) 112-pounder Tyler Esposito (3:51 fall), 119-pounder Josh Kuefler (5-2 dec.), 125-pounder Deven Scholl (5-3 dec.) and 140-pounder Kyle Davidson (6-3 dec.) all took home wins vs. Woodstock.