by Mike Slodki
What better way to show the team-wide improvement from a year ago than at the 2010 Western Sun Conference wrestling meet this past Saturday.
Kaneland High School, much elevated from the eight-place output from 2009, finished third overall with a team score of 129 points that included a first place, four second places and a third.
Yorkville, with 171 points, took the final ever WSC gathering, followed by Sycamore (163.5) and Kaneland.
Batavia (115), last yearâ€™s champ, finished fourth, followed by Geneva in fifth with 95 and DeKalb in sixth with 92.
Glenbard South finished in seventh with 58 points and Rochelle finished eighth with 43.
A year ago, Batavia, Sycamore and Yorkville were in the top three spots.
In the 103-pound grouping, freshman Esai Ponce made his way to the first-place nod thanks to a 6-4 overtime win over Adam Wyeth of Yorkville. Ponce also showed impressive swiftness with a 30 second pinfall over Bataviaâ€™s Joey Shump.
â€œI was just going through my mind how to get into position and pin him. I felt I had to step up today because there are tough teams like Sycamore here,â€ Ponce said.
Ponce began the morning with a 1:40 fall over Sycamoreâ€™s Brendon McGehee. The freshman is now 28-6 on the season.
In the 119-pound class, Knights freshman Dan Goress lost in the championship to Yorkvilleâ€™s Connor Bass by 8-1 decision. Goress made it to the final thanks to a 2:40 pinfall over Bataviaâ€™s Evan Christianson.
Devon Scholl finished second in thje 125 group because of a pinfall by DeKalbâ€™s Jake Jones in 5:09. Scholl made it to the final match thanks to a 4:47 technical fall over Sycamoreâ€™s Thomas Ernster. Scholl finished third a year ago.
In the 130-pound group, Dennis Brettman finished second. Brettman won a 7-1 matchup over Rochelleâ€™s Danza Walsh and took a 6-4 overtime win over DeKalbâ€™s Evan Jones before losing in a 6-1 clash with Sycamoreâ€™s Zack Spiewak.
Junior Corey Taber, who came into Saturday with just two wins, earned third place overall in the 160-pound matches. Taber pinned Rochelleâ€™s Mario Vulpitta in 3:40 and lost to Sycamoreâ€™s Luke Pritchard. Taber recovered in the third-place matchup beating Glenbard Southâ€™s Alex Keep in a 6-3 affair.
Heavyweight Jimmy Boyle pinned Genevaâ€™s Jake Mills in 1:55 but lost in the championship to Glenbard Southâ€™s Austin Teitsma. Boyle also finished second a year ago in the WSC tournament.
Other Kaneland action during the past week had the Knights lose a 47-18 dual to at Sycamore on Jan. 20.
Kaneland wrestlers now prepare for a meeting at Marengo on Saturday, Jan. 30 in a meet that also includes Hampshire.
Photo: 103-pound Kaneland grappler Esai Ponce can be called a conference champ after winning his class at Saturdayâ€™s WSC tourney in Yorkville. Photo by Ben Draper