Tag Archives: Ben Kovalick

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.

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.

KHS fall athletes recognized with awards

KANELAND—Kaneland High School athletics released their slate of Fall Sports Awards, with each sport trumpeting the best it had to offer, with some All-Northern Illinois Big XII honors thrown in for good measure.

In golf, All-NIB-12 went to Troy Krueger and Matt Yonkovich. Co-Varsity MVP’s were Brody Kuhar and Yonkovich. Connor Williams won the varsity most improved player award. On the frosh/soph roster, Stephen Cannell took the MVP, and Jacob Sheehan won the most improved player award.

For volleyball, All-NIB-12 nods went to Katy Dudzinski and conference MVP Kylie Siebert.

Dudzinski was named top offensive player while Siebert was named top defensive player.

Most improved player went to Rachael Clinton, and the Spirit award went to Lauren Banbury. Dudzinski and Siebert took home the team MVP awards.

In Kaneland tennis, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Amelia Napiorkowski and Kelly Kovacic were recognized as captains. Mallory Dugan and Stephanie Karolewicz were named most improved. Kovacic and Colleen Landers took the team spirit awards. Outstanding achievement awards went to Jelly Emmnouil for a perfect regular season, Madi Jurcenko for a school record 33 wins, and the doubles tandem of Jurcenko and Napiorkowski for a record of 32-3. All-NIB-12 members were Napiorkowski, Jurcenko, Emmanouil and Sammie Schrepferman, and those four were also named team MVP’s.

For girls cross country, Victoria Clinton was honored for All-State totals, as well as being a State qualifier with teammates Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis, Aislinn Lodwig, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang and Ashley Castellanos.

Lesak, Dodis, Lodwig, Brundige and Clinton were named to the All-NIB-12 team. Dodis, Brundige and Carolina Tovar were recognized as captains. Most improved runners were Dodis and Brundige, while Clinton was named as Most Valuable Runner, capping an exceptional freshman campaign.

For boys cross country, Kyle Carter, John Meisinger, Brandon Huber, Miki Marin, Conor Johnson, Luis Acosta, Clayton Brundige and Nate Rehkopf were recognized as State qualifiers, while Huber, Carter and Meisinger made the All-NIB-12 team.

The Golden Knight Awards went to freshman Andrew Lesak, sophomore Nathanie Kucera, junior Meisinger and senior Rehkopf. Rehkopf, Brundige and Marin were recognized as captains. Huber took the most improved runner nod. Brundige won the Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength. Carter was named most valuable runner.

For the State semifinalist football squad, Quinn Buschbacher was recognized for his IHSCA All-State accomplishment, and Jacob Razo was credited with an IHSCA Honorable Mention. Alex Snyder, Drew David, Blake Bradford and Ben Kovalick were named to the IHSCA Academic All-State team.

Snyder, Nick Sharp, Buschbacher, Sean Carter, David, Ryan Noel, Kovalick, Razo, Kory Harner, Ryan Lawrence and Bradford were named to the All-NIB-12 team.

Special teams MVP was Matt Roriguez, while Buschbacher was offensive MVP and Razo was named defensive MVP.

Most improved player was Brandon Stahl, captains were Kovalick, Noel, Buschbacher, Razo and Carter, while Sean Carter walked away with the MVP award.

For the regional finalist soccer team, Alex Gil and Anthony Parillo were named to the All-Sectional team, while Jordan Escobedo, Gil, Parillo and Alec Koczka made the All-NIB-12 team. Pedro Perez and Tyler Siebert were honorable mention candidates.

Gil was named player of the year, with Escobedo taking the offensive player of the year and Sam Rymarz named the defensive player of the year.

The Coach’s Award went to Siebert, Koczka, Jason Biddle and Chris Van Dinther. Gil, Escobedo and Parillo were recognized as captains.

Rookie of the year went to Arsim Azemi. Thansi Pesmajoglou was named most improved player and Gil and Parillo took the team MVP.

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.

Buschbacher tops in NIB-12 with offensive MVP honors

KANELAND—Honors for Kaneland Knights football are now coming as frequently as a monster gain on a Friday night in Maple Park.

Senior wideout Quinn Buschbacher was one of an NIB-12 -best 11 Knights to earn all-conference honors in the East division, with the senior captain earning offensive MVP honors, as well.

Morris’ Hunter Barry took defensive MVP honors.

The Knights’ 11-deep all-conference roster will see the return of six for the 2012 season. Coach Tom Fedderly mentioned in August that a big key to projected success was the return of a handful of all-NIB-12 personnel.

KHS can now boast senior Buschbacher, along with seniors Sean Carter (WR), Ryan Noel (DL), Ben Kovalick (DL) and Jacob Razo (DB). Juniors are OL Nick Sharp, DB Kory Harner, LB Ryan Lawrence and LB Blake Bradford. QB Drew David was one of only three sophomores in the conference to earn top honors, along with OL teammate Alex Snyder.

Morris added 10 members to the list, followed by Sycamore with eight.

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.

the Knights ahead: Kaneland looks to reach similar heights from a year ago

Photo: Knights football works on getting back to the playoff promised land at the high school. A year ago the Knights had their best season since 1998. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland Knights football achieved such great heights a year ago.

The best season mark since 1998, an undefeated regular season, and an epic third-round playoff win over Vernon Hills—made possible by player Joe Camiliere, Taylor Andrews and Tyler Callaghan—made it a season to remember, until it was stopped on a cold night in November against powerhouse Montini Catholic.

Fifth-year coach Tom Fedderly isn’t interested in preparing for last year.

“It was a special year, but last year is last year. Every year is different. I’m going to try to take the guys that we have, and our system is flexible enough where we can do things differently depending on the pieces that we have,” he said.

The Knights’ spread attack on offense was successful in large part due to new Elmhurst Bluejay Camiliere’s penchant for taking care of the ball.

With the starting derby yet to be completely decided, senior Ryan Fuchs and sophomore Drew David could see time under center, and have been told the formula for field success.

“They both know they need to take care of the ball and manage the offense. As it looks right now, I’m pretty satisfied with what we’ve got there,” Fedderly said.

With Andrews and Callaghan gone to graduation, and former receiving threat Daniel Helm now playing for Glenwood High School in Chatham, Ill., the fourth and fifth option on some days last year now move up as big targets in the form of all Northern Illinois Big XII option Quinn Buschbacher and Sean Carter.

Buschbacher also displayed a knack for the return game in 2010.

“It’ll be good for our quarterback to have weapons like those out there, and they have experience,” Fedderly said.

When the time comes to gain yards via ground attack, the Knights rely on sophomore Jesse Balluff, with Buschbacher and Carter viable options to seek carries, as well.

With Helm not a Knight this season, Kaneland gets a move-in option in the form of Ohio transfer Matt Price.

“He’s six-foot-three, about 195 (pounds), and he’s going to get in the mix, too. He looks like a good player,” Fedderly said.

The offernsive line, carrying infinite importance for protection of the spread offense, looks to curb the loss of tackle Jimmy Boyle to graduation.

Four returnees are suited up for the two-way line in Nick Sharp, Ryan Noel, Ben Kovalick and Alex Snyder.

For the linebacking corps, it looks to be an all new crew with the depth chart still in flux.

In the secondary, Jacob Razo returns and looks to primarily play defense, as will returnee Kory Harner. Joey Cozzi returns for his senior campaign.

Kicker Matt Rodriguez returns to boot the ball through the posts when needed.

Fedderly and staff will continue to work up through the season opener, with new foe Brooks Prep of Chicago on Friday, Aug. 26.

“We just started hitting and we’re still looking to see who our football players are, but we have young kids that I think are going to come along,” Fedderly 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

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.

Wrestling defeated by Marmion Academy

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—When you have evenings like Thursday against Marmion Academy, you have to look for bright spots.

A 59-15 loss in dual action to the Cadets brought the Knights to 9-15 in dual competition, with IHSA regionals looming this weekend.

Already finding themelves behind 35-0, Kyle Davidson earned the first collected points for Kaneland after a 7-6 win in the 152-pound matchup.

Davidson had a 3-2 lead before having to come from behind in the final two minutes with a takedown, and withstood a near-fall at the end to secure the win.

“I was down one, and I knew I had to score,” Davidson said. “I muscled him over and got my turn, looked at the clock and just rode it out.”

Keagan Mattes earned a pinfall in the 189-pound matchup in just 40 seconds.

Ben Kovalick won via forfeit in the 215-pound slot to get the final win for Kaneland.

With the regular season done, Kaneland experienced a dual meet dropoff from a year ago, when the Knights finished 17-9 in 2009-10.

However, the Knights can make hay in the IHSA Class 2A Regional, set for Saturday, Feb. 5, at Sycamore High School. Accompanying schools in the eight-team group are Burlington Central, Dixon, Freeport, Hampshire, Rochelle, Sycamore and Wheaton Academy. Worthy grapplers to make it out of Saturday’s tussle head to Rochelle for the sectional on Saturday, Feb. 12.

Kaneland wrestling earns fourth at NIB-12 showcase

Photo: Keagan Mattes took third place to help the Knight effort on Saturday. Kaneland took fourth as a team thanks in large part to Mattes’ performance in the 189-pound group. Photo by Mary Herra

ROCHELLE—Like KHS coach Monty Jahns said a week ago, Kaneland wrestling might just be a better tournament team than a dual team at this point.

That was put into action with the Knight grapplers leaving the Rochelle mats with a top-third finish at the first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII tournament.

With 161 points, Kaneland earned fourth out of 12 teams. Sterling hit a total of 219, edging Sycamore by a half-point. DeKalb was third with 170.5 points, ahead of KHS.

Yorkville was fifth at 154, followed by Morris at 125.5.

Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Dixon , Rochelle, Ottawa and Streator rounded out the rest of the lineup.

The five top finishers for the Knights have been proven stalwarts through the campaign thus far.

Dan Goress took home the championship for 130, thanks to a 12-5 decision over DeKalb’s Evan Jones.

Goress went to the final after a 10-6 win over Sterling’s Dylan Devers.

In the 152-pound bracket, Kyle Davidson lost a 14-4 major decision to Sterling’s Stevie Dewitt. Davidson reached the final with an 8-2 win over DeKalb’s Robbie Miller and a previous pin over Rochelle’s Bradley Mendez in two minutes, 11 seconds.

At 215, Ben Kovalick got to the finals by pinning DeKalb’s Alex Roach in 3:09 and Sycamore’s Matt Copple in 2:03, before losing to Sterling’s George Canales by 12-8 decision.

Third-place nods were gathered by heavyweight Jimmy Boyle and Keagan Mattes in the 189 group.

Boyle beat Rochelle’s Nate Rodefelt by 1-0 decision and Sterling’s Curtis Lilly in the third-place match, 3-0.

Mattes went to the third-place match by beating DeKalb’s Cullen Banta , 8-2, and solved Sycamore’s Jacob Davis in an 8-4 affair.

Davidson, Boyle key in KHS winning own Flott Invite

Photo: Jimmy Boyle takes care of business during the Flott Invite held at KHS on Saturday. Boyle ended the tournament as 285-pound champ. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—While the Knights sit with a dual record they’d no doubt like to improve, gatherings like the annual Margaret Flott Memorial Tournament hosted by KHS do a nice job of getting headed in the right direction.

On the strength of two first places, five second places and a third place, KHS had a winning total of 203.5 team points, besting Marengo’s 148.65 and Prairie Central’s 129.

Kaneland also got a Northern Illinois Big XII dual in and fell to Morris, 33-21, on Thursday.

The Knights’ 9-15 mark will not be rested on, according to KHS coach Monty Jahns.

“We have an eye on postseason, and not as bad a team as our record shows,” Jahns said. “It’s hard to come back from injuries we’ve had, but we’re probably a better tournament team than a dual meet team.”

In the 103-pound group, Steve Gust took a 15-0 technical fall from Cory Graham to get into the final, and lost the final of Elgin’s Nathan Andresen in an 8-4 decision.

At 130 pounds, Dan Gorress took care of Addison Trail’s Eric Feliciano with a 6-4 decision before losing to St. Joe’s Bryant Roby in the final by 1-0 decision.

At 140 pounds, Mark Southern beat Burlington Central’s Brad Roberts in 62 seconds but lost to Prairie Central’s Joey Reis by a 13-11 count to advance to the final.

Kyle Davidson emerged from Saturday as 152-pound titleholder after wins over Addison Trail’s Silvestre Flores (:30 fall), Marian Central Catholic’s Joe Klinger (4:20 fall) and Marengo’s Sam Klenske (14-3 major decision).

“At this weight class, every kid can be great, real strong and quick,” Davidson said.

Nick Michels made it into the 171-pound final by beating St. Joe’s Adam Goetz in 4:50, but lost the final to Marengo’s Jon Goerke.

Michels credits conditioning in helping him get through the longer matches.

“We have one of the best conditioned teams around. Our coach really stresses it, and I know I can get that takedown in the last period,” Michels said.

In 189-pound acton, Keagan Mattes took care of BC’s Brent Sunderlage in an 8-5 encounter, but lost to champ Jared Koch of Marian by 2:55 pinfall.

Ben Kovalick advanced to the 215-pound final by pinning Marengo’s Andrei Doughtery in three minutes flat, but lost the final in overtime, 3-2, to St. Joe’s Malcolm Watson.

Kaneland’s Jimmy Boyle took home the 285-pound honor by pinning Marengo’s Manny Macias in 5:31 and outlasting St. Joe’s Jaleel Johnson 2-1.

Kaneland now gears up for the Northern Illinois Big XII meet at Rochelle High School on Saturday, Jan. 22.

Wrestling trumps Rochelle, sees action in Spartanland

Photo: Sonny Horn, 125-pound representative for Kaneland wrestling, executes a takedown against Pleasant Valley’s Jesse Richardson on Thursday. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—Kaneland wrestling earned an important Northern Illinois Big XII win and placed in the middle of the pack at the usual early-Jan. stop of the Sycamore Invite.

After losing to Pleasant Valley of Iowa, 38-19, Kaneland defeated host Rochelle on Thursday by a final of 45-21 in order to improve to 9-14 in dual competition. KHS then took an eighth-place finish at Sycamore on Saturday in a 17-team field.

Against the Hubs, Chris Sabal won the 145-pound matchup with opponent Scott Rodefelt by 6-1 decision. Kyle Davidson, at 152 pounds, pinned Brady Mendez in four minutes, 47 seconds. 160-pound action featured Cody McGinnis beating Kane Rodridguez, 1-0. Keagan Mattes (189) and Ben Kovalick (215) took home pinfalls. Jimmy Boyle won his heavyweight match in overtime, while Stephen Gust (103) and Esai Ponce (119) won by decision.

On Saturday, Kaneland’s 95-point total was ahead of Rock Island’s 91 and just behind Granite City’s 97.

Harlem High School of Machesney Park took the invite with 192.5 points, followed by Lockport (166.5), Downers Grove South (137), Sycamore (128), Crystal Lake South (121) and York (110.5).

Davidson made it to the finals of 152 by pinning Larry LeBlanc of DGS by pinfall in 2:12, and beat McHenry’s Jake Pait by 3-2 decision, before losing the final of Lockport’s Shaun’Qae McMurtry by 15-6 major decision. Boyle was given second place after beating Cary-Grove’s Richard Kersten by 4-1 decision and Granite City’s Casey Krohne in a 9-5 meeting, but losing to Lockport’s Shaquille McMurtry in a 3:06 fall.

The Knights now gear up for a Thursday matchup at the home of the Morris Redskins on Thursday, Jan. 13.

Wrestling ends up sixth place at Flavin Invite

Photo: Kyle Davidson provided a boost in the 152-pound class for KHS wrestling. Davidson came away with two major decisions on the second day of competition at the Don Flavin Invite in DeKalb last week. File Photo

DEKALB—With an 8-13 dual meet record through the first half of the year, Kaneland High School wrestling might not look like it’s making strides.

However, a 3-3 mark in the vaunted Don Flavin Invite at DeKalb High School, and a sixth-place finish out of 12 overall teams can provide reasons for a sunny outlook in 2011.

After finishing with a 2-1 day last Tuesday, the Black Division-placed Knights went into the afternoon session for a chance at winners’ glory.

KHS began Dec. 29 with a 36-26 loss to Rockton’s Hononegah in the opener, but followed with a 38-33 win over Waubonsie Valley before dropping the fifth-place clash with Prospect, 28-27.

York High School defeated Hononegah in the Flavin final, while Glenbard West bested Stillman Valley in the third-place matchup.

Against Hononegah, Kaneland trailed from buzzer to buzzer, but Kyle Davidson won a 10-0 major decision at 152 pounds. Nick Michels took a 5-3 win in 171-pound action, and Keagan Mattes won a 189-pound duel with a 12-5 decision. At 215, Ben Kovalick won with a 4-0 nod, and teammate Jimmy Boyle won a decision in the heavyweight category. Additional decisions went in favor of Connor Williams at 112, Esai Ponce at 119 and Dan Goress at 130.

Against the Warriors of the Upstate Eight Conference, Kaneland’s five-point win was helped by Davidson’s 8-0 major decision, Michel’s 14-4 major decision, Mattes’ 7-5 decision, Kovalick’s 1-0 decision, Ponce’s pinfall and Goress’ pinfall.

Wins against the Prospect Knights of the northwest suburbs were garnered by Michels (3-0 dec.), Mattes (8-2 dec.), Kovalick (1-0 dec.), Boyle (2-0 dec.), Steven Gust (7-0 dec.) and Williams (2:19 pin).

Ahead for the Knight grapplers is a conference battle with Rochelle on Thursday, Jan. 6, in Maple Park.

Grapplers take two in Wauconda, storm Flavin

Photo: Andrew Essex is on offense against St. Viator of Arlington Heights, Ill.during day one of the Don Flavin Invite in DeKalb. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Instead of a face-full of candy and other winter goodies, Kaneland spent Thursday and this past Tuesday introducing opponents to a face-full of mat.

Having a less-than-easy time with dual meets so far this season, Kaneland had an encouraging Thursday trek to Woodstock High School and captured two of three encounters.

The Knights also began another edition of the Don Flavin Invite at DeKalb High School on Tuesday and went 2-1 in the first day of the tournament.

Kaneland’s dual meet record is now 7-11.

Against Mundelein on Thursday, the Knights came away with a 38-21 win. Major decision wins were had by Nick Michels (10-2), Keagan Mattes (14-1) and Connor Williams (11-1). Ben Kovalick took a pin in two minutes, 45 seconds, and Jimmy Boyle earned a 15-0 technical fall. Stephen Gust, Esai Ponce and Sonny Horn all won by decision. In the 58-16 win over Woodstock, Dan Goress took a 15-4 major decision and Davidson earned a pin in 2:24.

In the 29-24 loss to Richmond-Burton, Horn, Andrew Essex, Davidson, Kovalick, Gust and Ponce won by decision.

In Dekalb, KHS won over St. Viator 67-6, over Stagg 58-23 and lost to York 58-23.

Essex hopes the team’s fortunes solidify this week.

“We’re getting the guys back to fill in the lineup,” he said. “I just want to get better and better as I go, and I think I’ve definitely improved from last year.”

KHS was set for the winner’s bracket on Wednesday against Hononegah in the afternoon.

Grapplers take on four squads tough week

KANELAND—While Kaneland wrestling has nabbed some nice individual wins lately, the dual meet results that are desired are harder to come by.

On Thursday, the Knights dropped a 44-16 result to the visiting Yorkville Foxes. On Saturday, Kaneland faced Dixon, Geneva and Rock Island. KHS lost to Geneva, 46-27, and also lost to Rock Island, before beating Dixon 58-15.

Kaneland’s dual meet mark is now 3-9.

Against Yorkville, 119-pounder Esai Ponce won a decision over Adam Wyeth, 4-1. 130-pound teammate Dan Goress won a 13-4 major decision over Brennan Sharp, Ben Kovalick took a forfeit at 215, and 285-pound entry Jimmy Boyle won a 3-0 matchup with Seth Gonzalez.

On Saturday in Maple Park, wins over the Vikings came from five matches.

Kovalick pinned Viking David James in three minutes, 43 seconds. Boyle eked out a 1-0 win over Jake Mills. Connor Williams won a 103-pound match by forfeit. Ponce pinned Geneva’s Kyle Roberts in 1:44 and Goress took a forfeit.

In the win over the Dukes, Williams, Ponce, Goress, Kyle Davidson, Cory Taber and Nick Michels had wins.

On Thursday, Dec. 23, Kaneland hopes to get some production on the mat this winter break with wins over Mundelein, Richmond-Burton and host Woodstock.

Photo: Dan Goress, shown here in earlier action this season, earned a major decision in his 130-pound encounter against Yorkville on Thursday. File Photo

DeKalb hands Kaneland grapplers Thursday loss

Photo: Esai Ponce won his contest on Thursday with a 6-2 decision in DeKalb. At 119 pounds, Ponce gave Kaneland a fighting chance in a 39-27 loss. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s unfortunate that the Kaneland wrestling squad ran into DeKalb on Thursday evening in Barb-ville, because lately DeKalb’s been running over everyone.

In a Northern Illinois Big XII matchup, DeKalb subdued Kaneland by a 39-27 score in a dual, dropping the Knights to 2-5.

The opening encounter had 119-pounder Esai Ponce earn a 6-2 decision to put KHS up 3-0, but the 125-through 145-pound encounters resulted in a 27-point run for the host Barbs.

Finally, 152-pound entry Kyle Davidson stopped the bleeding with a 13-2 major decision to close within 27-7. With the score 36-7 in favor of DeKalb, the Knights did begin a run. At 189, Keagan Mattes put a 16-0 technical fall forth in impressive fashion.

The work that Mattes has put forth has got the senior believing good things are in store for the remainder of the 2010-11 campaign.

“I always think of going through my matches non-stop. Last year I didn’t do that. It’s more muscle in this weight class, and they still have their speed, but I just have to keep wrestling continuously,” Mattes said.

KHS coach Monty Jahns highlighted the 189-pound victory as a nice pick-me-up.

“Keagan wrestled well and kept attacking. DeKalb’s tough this year. Give them credit, they’ve got a solid lineup,” Jahns said.

At 215 pounds, Ben Kovalick pulled out an 8-4 decision to close the deficit to 36-15, and teammate Jimmy Boyle earned a pin at 3 minutes, 13 seconds.

Steve Gust took a forfeit at 103 pounds, before 112-pound action went the way of DeKalb for the final 12-point margin.

The Knights try and right the mat on Thursday, Dec. 16, in another NIB-12 clash with Yorkville High School in Maple Park.

Kaneland High School rises up with fall sports awards

Photo: Kaneland’s Hayley Guyton, was one of the highlighted athletes recognized for her State trip during the fall season for girls’ golf. File Photo

KANELAND—It was time to think warmer thoughts at Kaneland High School, as Friday had the release of the Kaneland High School Fall Sports Awards.

The awards were announced at this late date due to the postseason success of the football squad.

For girls cross-country, the captain trio of Andie Strang, Jessica Stouffer and Kris Bowen were recognized for its service.

Shaela Collins and Kaitlin Munyon took home the most improved runners honor, and Strang was named most valuable runner. Strang, Ashley Castellanos and Jennifer Howland were named to the Northern Illinois Big XII All-Conference squad, and Howland was honored for her State qualifying appearance in Nov.

For the boys cross-country side, Trevor Holm was picked as most valuable runner. and Ryan Paulson took home the most improved runner honor. The Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength went to Tommy Whittaker. Grant Alef, Holm and Whittaker were recognized as captains.

The Golden Knight award, given to one runner in each grade level, was bestowed upon freshman Dylan Kuipers, sophomore Christopher Wido, junior Clayton Brundige and Tommy Whittaker.

Holm was honored for his standing in the NIB-12 All-Conference group, as well as being a State qualifier.

For football, Joe Camiliere, Jimmy Boyle, Taylor Andrews, Blake Serpa, Tyler Callaghan and Curtis Secrest were recognized as captains. Nick Michels won the most improved player nod, and the MVP honor went five ways with Camiliere, Boyle, Andrews, Serpa and Callaghan earning the honor.

Camiliere was named offensive MVP, while teammate Serpa took the defensive MVP. Quinn Buschbacher won the special teams MVP. A slew of Knights were named to the NIB-12 All-Conference team: Sam Komel, Ben Kovalick, Ryan Noel, Buschabcher, Sean Carter, Camiliere, Boyle, Serpa, Kyle Davidson, Jacob Razo, Callaghan and Andrews.

Concerning Kaneland golf, Anthony Sperando was named most improved player on the varsity level, and Hayley Guyton was named varsity MVP. Matt Yonkovich and Brody Kuhar shared the frosh/soph MVP sward. Sean Glennon was awarded the frosh/soph most improved player award. Team leader Guyton was also lauded for her eighth place finish at the girls’ gold State gathering.

For the Lady Knights volleyball crew, Jessica Lubic took the most valuable player award. Katy Dudzinski was named top offensive player, and Kylie Siebert won top defensive player award. The Spirit Award went to Mackenzie Curran, while most improved player was won by Lauren Banbury.

Lubic and Dudzinski were honored for their spots on the NIB-12 Conference team.

For boys’ soccer, Alex Gil, J.P. Minogue, Thansi Pesmajoglou, Trevor Wolf and Derek White were honored for their captaincy. Alex Weiss and Jordan Escobedo were named co-most improved player, while Minogue and White took home the co-MVP award. Rookie of the Year went to Anthony Parillo. The Coach’s Award was given to Gil, Sam Rymarz, Alec Koczka and Pedro Perez.

All-Northern Illinois Big XII members were announced as White, Minogue, Escobedo, Gil, Chad Swieca and Parillo. Honorable mention members were Perez, Rymarz, Koczka, Wolf, Tyler Siebert, Weiss and Pesmajoglou.

Escobedo was named to the all-Sectional squad, and teammate Gil was an honorable mention.

Wrestling starts on mat in Freeport

KANELAND—With a full lineup after the end of football season, it was time to hit the mat for Kaneland wrestling on Saturday morning.

At Freeport High School, Kaneland emerged with a win over the host Pretzels and a 43-22 loss against Kendall County rival Oswego.

In the 51-21 dual win over Freeport, Chris Sabal earned a pin in three minutes, 59 seconds over Tevin Person in the 145-pound clash.

152-pound entry Jordan Wolf earned a 7-2 decision, while 215-pound teammate Ben Kovalick took home a 4-1 decision.

Stalwart Jimmy Boyle won a technical fall, 17-2, over Kendall Parker in the heavyweight tussle.

112-pounder Connor Williams earned a 3:16 pin over Ryan Angell, while Ryan Goodenough took a 5:20 pin in the 119-pound matchup.

In other victories, 125-pounder Tyler Esposito won a 15-1 major decision, and 140-pounder Andrew Essex won by pin over Wade Dodson in 5:47.

Against the Panthers, wins were harder to come by, but 189-pound rep Keagan Mattes took a 62-second pinfall over Jack Smith, and Kovalick added to the mix with a 4-0 decision. Boyle won a 5-0 decision, and the 130-pound clash went to Dan Goress, who took a 14-3 major decision on the final matchup.

On the horizon for Kaneland wrestling is the first Northern Illinois Big XII meeting in school history, at Sycamore on Thursday, Dec. 2, at 5:30 p.m., and a weekend meeting at Lemont High School that will also feature Thornton Fractional South on Saturday, Dec.4.

Winter sports preview: Wrestlers look to increase 19-win total in 2010-11

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a solid core coming back for coach Monty Jahns’ third season at the helm and a program that thrives on aggressiveness, opponents will have to take short relief in the fact that the Knights are still waiting for athletes to get back from football.

Those include returning State qualifiers Kyle Davidson and Jimmy Boyle. Davidson’s weight class could be 152, while Boyle will stake claim to heavyweight status.

After making it to the big dance in Champaign in February, this year takes on a different light as returnees from State.

“I think they will get that respect,” Jahns said. “I would hope that they’ll take that and lead the team with it. We want to develop six or seven more of those guys this year.”

Returnees also include Zach Ganz (189), Josh Kuefler (who returns from a December injury at 130), Keagan Mattes (189), Cody McGinnis, Nick Michels (171), Tyler Esposito (119) and super sophs Esai Ponce (112) and Dan Goress (125).

“(Esai and Dan) have put a lot of time in the weight room and gained some size so they’ll be able to compete physically with a lot of these kids,” Jahns said.

For the 103-pound slot, look for sophs Stephen Gust and Connor Williams to grapple opponents, while the middleweights will be decided between a handful of juniors and seniors. Cory Taber looks to get time at 160. Ben Kovalick looks to cement the 215-pound category

A 19-10 dual meet record looks to be eclipsed, and Jahns’goal of 20 could be a possibility if some factors fall into place.

“It’s all basics,” Jahns said. “Basics and hard work, and we’ve got a good group here now. They’re all working and busting their butts to get in shape early and be ahead of their opponent.”

Boys track looks to top themselves

Photo: Preparation continues for members of the Kaneland boys track squad that finished 13th in Class 2A a year ago. Photo by Mike Slodki
by Mike Slodki
Maple Park—Can the Kaneland High School boys track roster top last year’s exceptional finish?

Seven separate events saw Kaneland representation at the Class 2A State meet in Charleston, and the team finished 13th overall.

Senior Logan Markuson was crowned State champ in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles.

Graduate Josh Bloome and Markuson both medalled in the pole vault, and senior Nick Sinon took third in the high jump.

It sounds daunting on paper, but with a roster eclipsing the 70-person mark and with a glut of talent familiar with success, it’s possible for huge things to happen for KHS boys track.

“I would say we’re pretty excited,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “We started with a lot of ambition and excitement about what we think we can accomplish. Winning the indoor invite this week was a first step.”

Markuson, now quickly climbing up the record books for Knights track, is appreciated by Baron for what he brings.

“He’s just a great person,” Baron said. “ It’s about more than just athletic ability. He hasn’t missed one day of school ever. Every meet, he’ll go out and do what you ask him to do.”

Markuson will look to make a mark in the hurdles, pole vault and 4×400 relay once again.

Sinon returns to the ranks after some offseason experience and has already cleared 6-8 in the indoor long jump.

“He’s looking at big things this year and is a real student of the sport,” Baron said. “We’ll be strong in all of our jumps, and this is going to be a big year for him.”

Helping the KHS cause was a Western Sun Conference indoor championship last week.

Also back on the sprint side is Taylor Andrews, who qualified in the 110m high hurdles and benefited from racing alongside Markuson.

Much will have to be done to absolve the loss of Lucas Ross, Colin Zagel and Brendan McCarthy.

“We’re looking for Tommy Whittaker to have a nice year and Serpa ran well for us, and then there’s some young guys like Curtis Secrest and Andrew Essex, who are working super hard,” Baron said.

On the relay side, Whittaker, Edgar Valle and Markuson return from the 4x400m.

Valle, who Baron marked as an unsung contributor to track during his tenure, also qualified for the 4x800m relay, along with Derek Bus, Sean Paulick and graduated Hayden Johnson.

“Bus qualified for State last year and has come out this year so far and made a statement,” Baron said.

“(Edgar) doesn’t get a lot of limelight, but he’s been a relay guy for us every meet,” Baron said.

The freshmen class comes in with personnel like Brandon Cottier, Alex Gil and Chad Swieca, who are primed for action.

“Cottier looks like a special athlete, and we’re figuring out what his best event is,” Baron said.

On the field side of things, it’s open season.

“Alex Mollohan and Brett Ketza are throwing for us and they look ready to step up,” Baron said.

Baron added Ben Kovalick to the throwing list.

For vault, Markuson and Jemmar Parrenas take the reins. Parrenas has gone over 12 feet in indoor competition.

For now, Baron mentions only a couple of nagging injury issues to Blake Serpa and Whittaker.

“A big thing right now is taking it easy on people when we can,” Baron said.

Seniors looking to contribute are Justin Choate, Brock Dyer, Dominic Furco, Kevin Hodge, Carlos Hufshlag, Joe Levita, Lukas Liebich, Justin Phillips, Matt Swift and Kyle Wagner.

Juniors looking to get in the mix are Cody McGinnis and Matt Spitzzeri.

Baron cited Matt Reusche on the senior side and juniors Matt Cowans and Trevor Holm as athletes that are capable of big things.

Sophomores are Chase Borneman, Clayton Brundige, Tom Chidester, Joe Cozzi, Mitch Dienst, Evan Dukes, Andrew Essex, Frankie Furco, Jake Ginther, Thomas King, Jimmy Lagness, Mickey Marin, John Michek, Thanasi Pesmajoglou, Kelvin Peterson, Nate Rehkopf, Brandon Stahl, Devin Swearingen and Nicholas Wieglos.

Freshmen are Trevor Anderson, Tanner Andrews, David Barnhart, Ryan Euting, Marshall Farthing, Dan Goress, Kory Harner, Billy Hart, Brandon Huber, Conor Johnson, Brad Kigyos, Jay Markuson, John Meisenger, Jimmy Merletti, Nick Messina, Liam Mulloy, Ben Nelson, Ryan Paulson, Dylan Pennington, Nick Sharp, Ben Sommers, Gus Stott, Chad Swieca, Zach Theis, Chris Wido and George WIlson.

The outdoor season for Kaneland boys track begins on Saturday, April 10, at East Moline United with conference action against visiting Batavia and Rochelle on Tuesday, April 13.

The Kane County Meet is on Friday, May 7, at West Aurora, with the final Western Sun Conference meet on Friday, May 14, at Geneva.

Wrestlers boast two regional champs, five move on

Fortunately for Knights wrestling, offseason plans aren’t starting just yet.

Thanks to a fourth-place finish at Saturday’s regional at Belvidere High School, five Knight grapplers are scheduled to compete at this weekend’s sectional out at the home of the Sterling Golden Warriors.

Esai Ponce (103 pounds), Devon Scholl (125), Kyle Davidson (145), Ben Kovalick (215) and Jimmy Boyle (285) will all see sectional action, with Dan Goress (112) and Dennis Brettman (130) as alternates due to fourth-place finishes.

Sycamore, with 205.5 points on the day, was crowned regional champ, while Burlington Central finished second with 160.5 points. Marengo finished third at 126.5, while the Knights had 120.5 to their credit.

The Knights finished ahead of DeKalb and Rockford East (114 points each).

Belvidere North, Belvidere and Hampshire rounded out the last three spots.

In the 103-pound class, Ponce (33-7) took Brady Weinrich of Burlington Central through a 9-0 major decision for a third-place finish.

Scholl was named regional champ after a 2-0 decision over DeKalb’s Jake Jones. The senior is now 32-6. Scholl finished fourth at last year’s regional.

Davidson (32-9) defeated Burlington Central’s Omar Awad in the third-place encounter by a 18-2 technical fall.

Kovalick (28-15) got past Rockford East’s Matdy Vongsouvanh with an 8-6 decision.

Boyle, a junior, improved to 37-3 with a first-place showing that culminated with a 3-2 win over Sycamore’s Zack Fraedrich in the final.

Kaneland tries to get all five wrestlers into the State gathering at the Sterling Sectional beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12, and continuing on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 10 a.m.

Photo: Devon Scholl