Tag Archives: Esai Ponce

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.

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.”

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

Kaneland wrestlers handle Hampshire, Marengo

Maple Park–Finishing their last regular season meet on Saturday, Kaneland is going at a pretty good clip to make something happen at Saturday’s packed regional.

Traveling north to Marengo, Kaneland took care of the host Indians by a 42-27 dual score, and wiped Hampshire out with a 48-21 result.

Kaneland’s dual mark is now 17-9 after the two wins.

Against Marengo, Esai Ponce (103 pounds), Devon Scholl (130), Kyle Davidson (145) and Jimmy Boyle (285) all had pinfall victories.

In Kaneland’s win over the Whip-purs, Ponce, Tyler Esposito (119), Scholl, Joe Levita (135), Mark Southern (145) and Chris Sabal (152) all managed pinfall wins.

Now, the Knight grapplers head off to the IHSA Class 2A individual regional in Belvidere on Saturday, Feb. 6. The regional also includes Belvidere, Belvidere North, Burlington Central, DeKalb, Hampshire, Marengo, Rockford East and Sycamore.

The sectional takes place at Sterling on Saturday, Feb. 13.

Grapplers take 3rd at final WSC meet

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 year’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 Batavia’s Joey Shump.

“I 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,” Ponce said.

Ponce began the morning with a 1:40 fall over Sycamore’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 Yorkville’s Connor Bass by 8-1 decision. Goress made it to the final thanks to a 2:40 pinfall over Batavia’s Evan Christianson.

Devon Scholl finished second in thje 125 group because of a pinfall by DeKalb’s Jake Jones in 5:09. Scholl made it to the final match thanks to a 4:47 technical fall over Sycamore’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 Rochelle’s Danza Walsh and took a 6-4 overtime win over DeKalb’s Evan Jones before losing in a 6-1 clash with Sycamore’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 Rochelle’s Mario Vulpitta in 3:40 and lost to Sycamore’s Luke Pritchard. Taber recovered in the third-place matchup beating Glenbard South’s Alex Keep in a 6-3 affair.

Heavyweight Jimmy Boyle pinned Geneva’s Jake Mills in 1:55 but lost in the championship to Glenbard South’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 Saturday’s WSC tourney in Yorkville. Photo by Ben Draper

KHS wrestling defends home mat at Flott Invite

Four weight classes won by Knights in invite win
At the annual Flott Wrestling Invite on Saturday, the Knight grapplers saw plenty of first-place accolades come their way in an invite win.

285-pounder Jimmy Boyle, 145-pound entry Kyle Davidson, 112-pounder Dan Goress and 103-pound representative Esai Ponce all came away with top nods against the varied area competition.

Additional noteworthy mornings were had by Devon Scholl finishing second at 125 and Dennis Brettman taking third in the 130 range.

Boyle’s path to glory started with a one minute, 38 second fall over Marian Central Catholic’s Scott Taylor, and then a 5-0 victory over Tim Vincent of Burlington Central. That led to a championship pinfall over Ottawa’s Robby Marotta with just two seconds left in regulation time.

Boyle’s record stands at 28-2.

For Davidson (27-5), his day started with a technical-fall win over Marian Central Catholic’s Tim Skelton in 4:00. Davidson then pinned Burlington Central’s Omar Awad at 4:12, and then took the final match by 12-4 decision over Larkin’s Brett Barry.

In the 112-pound win for Goress (29-5), it started with a 13-2 decision over Rochelle’s Eduardo Macareno, and then continued with a 8-2 win over Prairie Central’s Ben Traub, and ended with a tech fall win at the buzzer over Bo Pradel of Oswego.

Ponce (24-6) took a 6-4 win over Addison Trail’s Luis DeLacruz and won the group with a 12-6 major decision over Elgin’s Nathan Andresen.

Scholl (25-5) beat MCC’s Tyler Hickey in 3:54 andd BC’s Johnny Major in a major decison before succumbing to Addison Trail’s Johnny Delmedico 8-3. Brettman (17-11) beat Adam Polak of St. Joe’s in a 12-4 major decision and lost to Josh Smith of PC, 7-3. In the third-place duel.

Brettman beat Larkin’s Tim Einhorn 4-2.

Other action during the past week had Geneva beat Kaneland 31-30 on Thursday and Batavia get past the Knights on Jan. 13 by a final of 32-30.

KHS now gears up for the Western Sun Conference meet at Yorkville High School on Saturday, Jan. 23.

Top photo: Kyle Davidson (145) is on his way to a technical-fall victory over Marian Central Catholic’s Tim Skelton in 4:00 on Saturday. Photo by Ben Draper

Wrestlers exhibit strong Sycamore Invite showing

by Mike Slodki
With the way Kaneland High School wrestling began the regular season, conventional wisdom would dictate that it would perform better in Saturday’s 34th Sycamore Invite than last year.

That line of thinking proved to be a winner.

Out of 17 teams present in Sycamore’s gym, the Knights finished sixth with 110 points as a team. It beats last year’s 13th place finish out of 16 teams (49.5) points.

While last year featured no top-three finishes, the Knights brought four of them out of Spartanland. Nick Michels took second place in the 171-pound category.

Jimmy Boyle (285), Devon Scholl (125) and Esai Ponce (103) all came away with third place finishes.

With the vastly improved finish, coach Monty Jahns didn’t put the reason soley at one more year’s experience for the squad, or the aggressiveness he wants Kaneland grapplers to employ.

“It’s a little of both,” Jahns said. “The technical skills they have gained over the last year is evident in the practice room and in competition. The coaches stress basic fundamental wrestling combined with high reps and an aggressive attack. When you have wrestlers willing to give the effort and buy into our coaching strategy, it makes coaching much easier and fun.

Lockport took the invite, as it did in 2009, with 193.5 points. Host Sycamore took second with 173 points and Grant had 158.5 for third place.

For the Knights, Michels went 3-1 on the day which began with a 4-minute, 26-second pinfall against Jacobs’ Kyle Cook.

Michels then beat Downers Grove South’s Adam Oakes with an 8-0 major decision. Michels then beat Moline’s Peter Mickiewicz with a 6-1 decision before losing to Lockport’s Matt Andre in the final, 6-2.

In the 285-pound grouping, Boyle pinned Crystal Lake South’s Sam McCole in 2:17 and then took a major decision over Genoa-Kingston’s Skyler Petracosta, 11-0. Moving to the semis, Boyle was defeated in a 3-2 squeaker by Moline’s Jeremy Howell. Boyle then clinched third place with a 9-1 major decision over Hononegah’s Max Geyer.

Scholl’s day started with a pin in 3:12 over Downers Grove South’s Travis Hill. Scholl then beat Harlem’s Mitchel Kennington 8-2. Lockport’s Jameson Oser of Lockport got the best of Scholl with a pin in 3:30 in the semis before the Kaneland asset won a 7-2 decision in the third place match over Sycamore’s Jeff Flanigan.

Ponce began his day with a 5-2 victory over Downers Grove South’s Frank Wenmouth, and then moved on to a 7-0 win over Harlem’s Jordan Northrup. The Kaneland grappler lost a 3-0 matchup with Crystal Lake South’s Nick Fontanetta before taking the third place match in a 3-2 result over Grant’s Cameron Kennedy.

Lying in wait for Kaneland wrestling is a Western Sun Conference battle at Geneva on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 5:30 p.m.

Grapplers finish fourth at Don Flavin Invite

The wrestlers improved to 15-6 in dual meets this season after a productive Don Flavin Invite in Dekalb that saw the Knights finish in fourth place.

The 11-team meet had Kaneland start off on a high note with Waubonsie Valley on Dec. 29, and also lose to Bloomington 36-35 and beat St. Viator 63-13.

On Dec. 30, the championship bracket had Kaneland beat Elmhurst’s York High School 32-29, and lose to Rockton’s Hononegah 44-18 in the semis before dropping a 40-24 decision to Naperville North.

Ultimately, Hononegah captured the title with a 41-27 win over Stillman Valley. Pewaukee High School of Wisc. beat Prospect 34-26 to take fifth place.

Against St. Viator in the opening session, falls were had by 215-pounder Ben Kovalick, 103-pound entry Esai Ponce, 112-pounder Dan Goress, 119-pounder Tyler Esposito, Deven Scholl at 125, 140-pounder Spencer Bergstrom, JT Webb at 160 pounds, 171-pounder Nick Michels and 189-pounder Keagan Mattes.

In the loss to Bloomington, Esposito earned a fall, while Davidson earned a 17-1 technical fall to keep it close.

Against York, Jimmy Boyle’s win in the heavyweight category by decision gave the Knights the three-point win.

Kaneland wrestling now gets set for a road jaunt to Sycamore on Thursday, Jan. 7, and the Sycamore Invite on Saturday, Jan. 9.

Photo: 171-pound Knight wrestler
Nick Michels had a
productive Flavin Invite, which included
a pinfall vs. St. Viator
of Arlington Heights, Ill.
File Photo

Wrestlers drop WSC clash with Yorkville, compete in Chicago

Knights earn one win out of four in busy week; prepare for DeKalb trip
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland wrestling saw its prolific dual meet streak end on Thursday night vs. Yorkville, but still managed to get one win out of three opponents at a dual meet on Saturday.

The Knights lost to Yorkville 43-19 in front of the home fans, and then traveled to St. Patrick High School in Chicago, where they lost 37-27 to Argo, 43-27 to St. Patrick and beat Kelly 39-21.

Kaneland now sits at 12-3 in dual competition.

Against Yorkville in the 171-pound clash, Nick Michels took a fall from Brian Mogle in one minute, 24 seconds. Jimmy Boyle, at 285 pounds, beat Seth Gonzalez with a pinfall in 2:30. 125-pounder Deven Scholl won a major decision, 11-3 over Chris Watts, and Dennis Brettman won a 6-1 matchup over Brian McCue in 130-pound action.

On Saturday, Kaneland got noteworthy wins over Summit’s Argo High School thanks to Dan Goress at 112 pounds (1:38 pin) and Boyle (3:34 pin). Joe Levita won a 2-0 battle at 135 pounds, and Kyle Davidson won his 145-pound matchup with a 9-2 outing.

Against St. Patrick, the Knights got pinfall wins from 140-pound entry Spencer Bergstrom at :57, Davidson at 4:31 and Boyle at 5:09.

In the lone win of the morning, 103-pounder Esai Ponce won a 15-0 outing, and Goress won a 10-2 meeting. Davidson had himself a 17-0 tech fall win, and 152-pounder Chris Sabal won a 3-1 match. Michels won his match by sticking a pin at 1:43. Keagan Mattes, at 189 pounds, won a 11-1 match. Ben Kovalick won his 215-pound match at 4:59, and Boyle went the distance in a 7-5 win.

The Knights wait until Tuesday, Dec. 29 to face top Midwestern competition. That’s when they’ll travel to DeKalb and join the Don Flavin Invite hosted by the Barbs.

Photo: 103-pound wrestler Esai Ponce, shown here in action on Dec. 5, managed a 15-0 win over his Chicago Kelly opponent on Saturday. File Photo

Wrestlers leave opponents looking up at lights

Three dual wins on Saturday has grapplers unbeaten
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Ask the likes of Bremen, Lemont and Rochelle high schools if they had a nice weekend.

If it concerns wrestling, chances are they would have rather not faced Kaneland.

For on Saturday, the Knights of the square mat continued their hot start at 9-0 in dual competition.

The Knights beat Western Sun Conference rival Rochelle by a final of 58-17, beat Bremen 65-3 and got past Lemont 30-26.

Falls were accomplished by 103-pounder Esai Ponce (technical fall 5:59), 112-pound Dan Goress (3:55), Devon Scholl at 125 (3:10), Dennis Brettman in the 130-pound match (:57), Mark Southern in the 140-pound clash (4:19), 152-pounder Kyle Davidson (4:00), and JT Webb, who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a reversal and pin at 1:30.

“This is a really big meet,” said Webb. “I knew I had to do it for my team. I was on my back and I knew I couldn’t lose.”

Competitors like Davidson are among those who KHS coach Monty Jahns will be counting on for the season’s duration.

“Kyle is aggressive and his confidence level is high right now. He’s moving well and scoring points,” Jahns said.

The win against Rochelle proved a nice barometer for where the coaching staff felt the team was at.

“On our feet, defensively and in the bottom position, I think we were aggressive. We weren’t as aggressive on the top position as we needed to be,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said.

Nick Michels took his match with a pinfall in 5:46, and heavyweight Jimmy Boyle won with a fall in 3:31.

Southern (1:53), Davidson (5:16) and Webb (1:46) earned pinfall wins in the rout of Bremen.

Scholl (5:12), Davidson (1:42) and Boyle (3:42) took the pinfall wins against Lemont, with Goress pulling out an overtime win, 4-2, in the 112-pound match.

The wrestling crew heads to DeKalb on Friday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m. in a Western Sun battle.

Photo: 112-pound entry Dan Goress makes life difficult in a 65-3 team win vs. Bremen on Saturday. With additional wins over Rochelle and Lemont, the Kaneland Knights’ undefeated start has produced a No. 10 ranking in Class 2A by illinoismatmen.com.
Photo by Ben Draper

KHS grapplers manage strong start with 3 wins

by Mike Slodki
BURLINGTON—Why can’t every meet be like this for the Kaneland wrestlers?

While winning against every opponent for the remainder of the year is monumentally tough, the KHS crew saw at least a glimpse of what it was capable of on Saturday.

The Knights won their first three obstacles on Saturday, beating host Burlington Central 40-26, Oswego 27-21 and Freeport 35-6.

Against the host Rockets, pinfalls were had by 103-pounder Esai Ponce (4 minutes, 52 seconds), 112-pounder Dan Goress (1:38), 119-pounder Josh Kuefler (:54) and Nick Michels at 171 (3:41).

125-pound anchor Devon Scholl won a 4-1 decision, and Joe Levita took a 9-2 win at 135. Kyle Davidson, the 152-pound entry, won a 6-3 encounter. 215-pounder Ben Kovalick came out with a 3-2 victory, and heavyweight Jimmy Boyle won 3-1.

When the Knights handled the Panthers, all the wins came on points thanks to Goress (2-0), Kuefler (8-2), 140-pounder Mark Southern (4-1), Davidson (2-0) and Boyle (3-0).

“I just had to be more aggressive,” Boyle said on his win that went the distance. “I could see he was getting a little tired and I just had to keep going.”

Against the Pretzels, the Knights saw impressive wins from Goress (15-1), Dinnis Brettman (11-2) at 130 pounds and 160-pounder JT Webb (17-1).

Photo: 189-pound entry Keagan Mattes, shown wearing a bandage after his Oswego opponent was bleeding, manuevers for points on Saturday. Photo by Mike Slodki

Spotlight on: Esai Ponce

by Alex Vickery
Kaneland Krier Reporter

Kaneland—Esai Ponce has a Rochelle wrestler in a cradle. After struggling for a minute, he finally pins him down. The two wrestlers stand up and shake hands.

The referee lifts Esai’s arm and says “Winner!” The crowd cheers, and the ref says “Good job. Congratulations.”

Ponce has been wrestling for sevens years and loves it.

“Esai has been my practice partner since I was in fourth grade, and even though our weight differences have split, we still stick together,” said Dan Goress, freshman wrestler.

“It’s fun, and it’s good to be on a team sport,” Ponce said.

His biggest accomplishment is taking fifth at state last year when he wrestled a student named T. Zaball.

“My goal for this season is to make sectionals,” Ponce said.

He is preparing for sectionals by going to practice five times a week, conditioning four times a week and working really hard.

“(Esai is) very advanced in his knowledge of his techniques for a freshman. He’s looking to be very varsity ready,” said Joe Thorgesen, wrestling coach.

Knights Wrestling Club ends on high note

The Kaneland Knights wrestling team finished the season in strong fashion last weekend, earning medals at all levels.

After wrestling boys all season, Shelby Kenyeri was crowned State Champion in the USGWA (United States Girls Wrestling Association) for the second year in a row, pinning her opponent in the finals.

Sophomore Jimmy Boyle started for the Knights at the varsity level all year, qualifying for sectionals before bowing to competition. Jimmy pounded his way into the finals of the 275 weight class at this weekend’s Frosh/Soph State Tournament in Springfield before being edged 6-5 in the championship match and bringing home a 2nd place medal.

In the IKWF (Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation), 3 senior wrestlers represented the Knights at the State Tournament in Rockford. Second year wrestler Zach Theis was defeated by a returning medalist in the first round of the 177 weight class.

Two of the lightest Knights proved to have stellar seasons and were crowned with medals.

At 89, Esai Ponce rebounded from a first round loss to a returning medalist, winning four of five matches at the Metro Centre and finishing in 5th place, concluding his season with a record of 41-7.

The 108 class was arguably the toughest in the tournament as the field was filled with multiple state champions and national place winners. Dan Goress fought through a shoulder injury suffered in the wrestlebacks to finish in eighth. Dan finished 41-6 on the year.

Knights Wrestling club a late-season force

Twenty-two wrestlers represented the Knights Wrestling Club at the IKWF Sectional wrestling tournament in Rochelle on Saturday, coming away with eight place winners and advancing three to this weekend’s state tournament in Rockford.

The championship round was a thriller in the Senior (13-14) division, even in the matches where the Knights came up short on the scoreboard. Dan Goress (108) was :01 late on a takedown that would have forced overtime in a 6-4 loss. Esai Ponce (89) also fell just shy in the finals, losing 2-0. Zach Theis (177) pinned his way back to third place, also qualifying for state. Joe Brasfield (156) and Nick Sharp (215) earned fourth-place medals.

Nathan Sowers (115) was the lone place winner for the Knights in the Novice (11-12) division, wrestling to a fourth-place finish.

In the Intermediate (8-10) division, Riley Vanik (95) earned three wins and a technical fall to win the 30-team tournament and be crowned Sectional Champion. Zack Bosek (89) won two matches with pins, and finished in fourth place.

Goress, Ponce and Theis will try to bring home state place medals this weekend.

Knights wrestling club sees success at Sycamore

Nine Senior (ages 13-14) wrestlers entered the IKWF Regional Tournament in Sycamore on Saturday for the Knights Wrestling Club, and all nine advanced to Sectionals in this year’s state tournament series, finishing in fourth place as a tem with 114 points. The Crystal Lake Wizards beat the host Sycamore Spartans 289.5 to 200 to win the Regional, and the Cary Matmen finished just ahead of the Knights in third place.

Dan Goress (108) and Esai Ponce (89) led the way by winning their respective weight classes and running their season win totals to 27 each for the season. Three Knights, Joe Brasfield (156) Zach Theis (177) and Nick Sharp (215) were runners up in their respective weight classes.

Four wrestlers continued after wrestlebacks. Matt Osteland placed 4th to Theis at 177; Luke Kreiter (95) and Jordan Wolf (130) placed fifth in two of the tournament’s most competitive brackets, and Greg Harvey fought hard for his sixth place finish at 122.

In the Novice (ages 11-12) division, three out of four wrestlers advanced into next Saturday’s Sectional at Rochelle High School. Nathan Sowers led the way placing third at 115, Gabe Flowers was fourth at 122, and Drew Franklin placed sixth at 101. Austin Parks won two matches at 89 but did not place.

Riley Vanik led the Knights in Intermediate (ages 8-10), winning the 95-pound weight class with two major victories, while teammate Mitchell Jones placed fourth in the same weight class. Jacob Shearer (74) and Tim Richmond (84) placed third; Matthew Redman (66), Colin Gussman (74), and Zach Bosek (89) placed fifth; Nevin Thielk (66) and Noel Maysonet (89) both finished in sixth bringing the Knights to a fifth place finish in team scoring.

The Knights Wrestling Club had record turnout in the Bantam (8-under) age group this year. Logan Piercy, Zach Farris and Nolan Matthys were all crowned Regional Champions this year while Mason Herst, Orosco, Zane Pozen and Trevor Jones were runners up. Jace Black, Tyler Johnson, Spencer Matia and Brennan Kiefer all placed 3rd with Brenden Parks, Alex Binge, Jeff and Greg Larsen each finished in 4th place.