Tag Archives: Esai Ponce

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Leveraging Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Dan’-ger Zone

Photo: Kaneland’s Dan Goress wins the Class 2A State Wrestling Championship in the 145- pound weight class at the University of Illinois Champaign on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Goress wins state title for 1st KHS wrestling crown in 20 years
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland last saw one of its wrestlers crowned an individual state champion before current KHS senior Dan Goress was born.

After this weekend in Champaign, Ill., Goress has assured his name will be remembered for a long time.

For the first time since Scott Brewer captured the 145-pound title in 1993, Goress (41-3) became the seventh State champ in school history by taking the 145-pound category after Saturday’s action at Assembly Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois.

“It was really exciting,” Goress said. “During my match, I did what I needed to do to take the lead and didn’t want to make any mistakes. Once I won, I looked up into the stands and saw everybody cheering. It was a feeling that I can’t describe.”

Other State reps for Kaneland included heavyweight Zach Theis taking fifth place, and Esai Ponce in the 132-pound group.

In the preliminary opener, Goress’ skill carried him to a 4-2 decision over Springfield Haratio Austin.

“After my first match, I was really disappointed. They were like, ‘You gotta keep your head up, that’s what the matches are going to come down to.’ You can’t be mad because you won by two points,” Goress said.

Goress then got past Crystal Lake Central foe Kyle Fugiel in the second round by a 4-3 decision.

As part of semifinal competition, Goress defeated Mt. Vernon’s Chase Vosburgh, 5-3, giving Vosburgh just his second setback of the season.

For 145-pound glory in the final, Goress knocked off Montini Catholic counterpart Michael Sepke by a 3-2 margin.

“They’re all solid wrestlers. Every single one of those kids deserved to be down there,” Goress said. “I wasn’t going to get tech falls or major decisions; I was going out there to win. I wasn’t going to try to impress anybody.”

At 285 pounds, Kaneland’s Zach Theis (35-8) earned a 2:11 pinfall over Vernon Hills’ Joe Blitstein in the first round, then lost to Springfield Southeast’s Copache Tyler in 3:06.

Maneuvering his way into wrestlebacks, Theis took it to Tinley Park’s Danny Korycki in 2:09 and Freeport’s Kendal Parker in 3:09. In the semifinal wrestleback, Theis was edged by Chicago’s Lavontay Cobb of King High School by a 5-2 margin.

Theis earned redemption in the final match of his season, beating Northside Prep of Chicago’s Ben Mauk-O’Connor in 2:26 to earn fifth place.

At 132 pounds, Kaneland teammate Ponce (33-5) was defeated in his only match of the journey, losing 5-2 to Mike Gussarson of Antioch, the eventual fifth-place winner.

With the end of the 2012-13 campaign, the Knights say goodbye to David Barnhart, Goress, Stephen Gust, Sonny Horn, Ponce, Nick Sharp, Theis and Connor Williams.

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Kaneland's Dan Goress wins the Class 2A State Wrestling Championship in the 145- pound weight class at the University  of Illinois Champaign on Saturday.
Kaneland’s Dan Goress wins the Class 2A State Wrestling Championship in the 145- pound weight class at the University
of Illinois Champaign on Saturday.

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

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

Points taken

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Success at 1st postseason stop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrestlers drop regular season finale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knights grab 5th on NIB-12 mat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wrestlers take down Morris, host Flott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grapplers open 2013 with dual win

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KHS earns split at usual Flavin stop

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

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

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

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

Kaneland finished eighth in 2011 and sixth in 2010.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knights take 2 of 3 in Woodstock quadrangular

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

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

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

Kaneland’s dual mark sits at 8-8.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrestlers tussle with Yorkville in losing effort

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

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

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

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

Kaneland’s dual record is now 6-7.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaneland also beat Belvidere North 51-21.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Kaneland announces students of the term

Kaneland—Kaneland High School announced the following students of the term list for term two: CTE (Business), Lauren Allen; CTE (Orientation to Family Consumer Science), Esai Ponce; English, Kaprice Sanchez; Fine Arts (Music), Jake Rosko; Fine Arts (Art), Amalia Rosa Tapia Escobedo; Math, Cynthia Vasquez; Physical Education/Health, Kevin Fuchs; Science, Maggie Ruppel; Social Studies, Ethan Witt; Student Services, Philip Rawers.

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.

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.

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 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.