Tag Archives: Jay Levita

Baseball fills void with new talent

Photo: Catcher Austin Conard prepares to block Brian Evers at homeplate during last week’s baseball practice. Photo by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland High School baseball seems to raise the bar every year, and this season hopes to be no different.

Finishing a school record 23-13 a year ago, the Knights nonetheless finished with a 6-5 regional championship heartbreaker at the hands of Burlington Central.

“That regional game is kind of motivating us and pushing us this year,” fourth-year coach Brian Aversa said. “We’re going to try and top 23 wins this year.”

Gone from the ranks are players like Mike Pritchard, Joe Gura, Jeff Smith and Jay Levita.

“Guys like that are hard to replace, they were something special,” Aversa said.

With arms like Smith gone, it’s up to personnel like senior Steve Colombe to get more mound time.

Pritchard yields way to backstop Aaron Hayman, a senior.

“Aaron learned a lot from Mike and is ready for the rigors of the backstop in general,” Aversa said.

The outfield is projected to have junior Corey Landers in leftfield, and Joe Camaliere returns for his junior year in centerfield, with rightfield an open derby.

Third base will depend on the opposing pitcher, with juniors Drew French and Bobby Thorson hoping for a look, along with fellow junior infielder Sam Komel.

Kyle Davidson and Jake Tickle highlight the shortstop ranks, while Jake Fiedler mans second base.

Dave Dudzinski, Thorson and Komel will guard first base.

‘We have some pretty nice competitions going around that’ll come down to the last couple practices,” Aversa said.

Hayman and Tyler Callaghan, a junior, will see time at the catcher’s spot.

In the pitching rotation, senior Ty Hamer ( a University of Illinois signee), Thorson and Colombe hurl the ball.

“We’ll ride those guys, and they can give us a lot of innings. There’s not an ace, it’s our top three,” Aversa said. “Ty and those guys bring a presence on the mound, and it’s going to be hard getting a hit off them, and it helps the defense.”

Komel and junior Austin Conard also look to be employed in pressure situations.

Other Knights shoring up the varsity ranks are P/1B John Kintz, OF/C Josh Kuefler, P/OF Trevor Wolf, INF Brian Dixon and OF Brian Evers.

The regular season was scheduled to begin on Wednesday at Plainfield North with Western Sun Conference play beginning on Tuesday, April 5, vs. Geneva. The regular season ends at DeKalb on Thursday, May 20.

Wrestlers Boyle, Davidson nab one win each at State meet

The Kaneland High School wrestling program can be pleased that they not only sent two wrestlers to the Class 2A State meet at Assembly Hall in Champaign, but also had those grapplers get a win on the Illini mat.

With Kyle Davidson competing at 145 points after finishing third at Sterling High School’s sectional, and Knight Jimmy Boyle also having finished third at the sectional, the Knight duo had opening round matches this Friday and Saturday.

Both Davidson and Boyle both achieved opening round wins before losing quarterfinal matches.

Davidson, who finished the 2009-10 season with a 37-11 record, defeated Rich Central’s Ishmael Rempson in a 7-2 matchup before losing to Triad’s Josh Ballard in a 13-1 major decision. Ballard ended up finishing fourth place overall in the bracket.

For Boyle, who finishes with a sizable 41-win total, got the best of Riverside-Brookfield’s John Schraidt by pinfall in 3 minutes, 33 seconds. Boyle then was defeated by Sprinfgield’s Dave Casper in a 1:48 fall.

In 2009, Kaneland’s Jay Levita was the lone Knight rep down at State, and lost to Springfield’s Dane Atwood, 9-3.

With the season at a conclusion, the grapplers say goodbye to graduating seniors Dennis Brettman, Ben Gust, Joe Levita, Alex Mollohan, Deven Scholl and JT Webb.

Kaneland wrestling sends Davidson, Boyle to Champaign

Photo: Heavyweight Jimmy Boyle makes his first appearance at State with the most wins in the 285-pound category of all the qualifiers in Champaign. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
Every IHSA wrestler with high aspirations has a goal of visiting Champaign in February for the State tournament.

In 2010, that group includes 145-pound Kaneland wrestler Kyle Davidson and 285-pound teammate Jimmy Boyle.

Thanks to third-place, do-or-die finishes on Saturday at the Class 2A Sterling Sectional, Kaneland will once again have a presence down at State.

A year ago, coach Monty Jahns’ crew sent down Jay Levita at 135 pounds.

Davidson (36-10) defeated Richmond-Burton’s Connor Graves in the third-place match, thanks to a 5-2 decision.

“Going into the match, I beat him earlier this year, he was wrestling good and I was wrestling good,” Davidson said. “It didn’t really kick in for a couple hours.”

Kyle Davidson
Kyle Davidson, a 145-pound entry, finished in third place at the Sterling Sectional. File Photo
Davidson, who improved on his 2009 total of 21 wins, faces Ishmael Rempson of Rich Central High School (32-5) in a first-round matchup. The winner faves Triad’s Josh Ballard (45-5).

Even though Davidson lacks a first-round bye traditionally given to the higher seed, Davidson is right where he wants to be.

“If it’s better wrestlers that have the bye, then they’ll be looking down on me, and I can surprise them,” Davidson said.

Boyle comes into State at 40-4, the most wins out of anyone in the heavyweight division.

“I wanted to get to State with 40 wins, and there was a lot running through my head last weekend,” Boyle said. “I had to make sure I got out there and won.”

The junior, who beat LaSalle-Peru’s Jason Huebbe by a 3-1 decision in Sterling, has a challenge in Riverside-Brookfield’s John Schraidt (27-7) in the opener, with the right to face Springfield’s David Kasper.

“I like it because you get to wrestle right away and you’re not sitting around all day,” Boyle said.

Joining Boyle from other Western Sun schools in the 285-pound class is DeKalb’s Alex Robinson and Glenbard South’s Austin Teitsma.

Recent KHS wrestlers at State
2009-Jay Levita
2008-Jeff Stralka
2008-Sean Szatkowski
2007-Jake Goedken
2007-Quinn Jahns
2007-Sean Szatkowski
2006-Jake Goedken
2005-Marcus Goedken

Kaneland Knight wrestlers look to be aggressive on mat

by Mike Slodki
This might be the Kaneland High School wrestling version of a high-powered passing offense in football or a run-and-gun in basketball.

“We are preaching attack, be aggressive and six minutes of offense,” Knights head coach Monty Jahns said.

Himself a state qualifier in 1980-81, the second-year coach realizes the importance of every match during a meet and is eager to see it unfold.

“This year, we’ll see how it goes; we have a lot of tough opponents to deal with,” Jahns said.

Gone are personnel like Matt Wagner, Emiliano Ponce and last year’s lone state qualifier at 145-pounds, Jay Levita.

“Kids really looked up to Jay and saw how hard he worked,” Jahns said.

Returning to the forefront is senior 125-pounder Deven Scholl, who nabbed 24 wins last year.

Also looking to contribute are returnees JT Webb, Joe Levita and Ben Gust, all seniors.

Jahns also likes the prospects of senior Dennis Brettman.

“Dennis is going to be at 130 and didn’t get a lot of time in varsity, but went undefeated in JV and has looked real strong,” Jahns said.

At 189 pounds, Alex Mollohan and Ethan Williams return to the ranks after a couple of years off.

Anchoring the 275-pound group is Jimmy Boyle, team leader in wins a year ago with 30.

“Jimmy is a hard worker and pushes himself so we don’t have to,” Jahns said with a laugh.

Kyle Davidson, with 21 wins in 2008-09, battles at 145 while Josh Kuefler returns to pin opponents at 119.

This also marks the final wrestling go-around with the Western Sun Conference.

“I have mixed feelings—we’ve been wrestling Geneva and Batavia forever and they are good teams; overall it’s a good move,” Jahns said.

Photo: Junior Jimmy Boyle looks to make an impact in the 275-pound division for the Kaneland wrestlers. File Photo

Baseball sees season end at Rockets home

by Mike Slodki
Monday’s Class 3A regional championship showed Kaneland and Burlington Central’s affinity for the long ball.

It was the Rockets who had slightly more of it.

Three costly homers by BC sent Kaneland baseball home for the season in a 6-5 defeat. The loss in windswept conditions ends the memorable season for the Knights at 23-13.

In a season that was accented by the loss of beloved teammate Jeff Malewig in December, the 2009 season is one that won’t soon be forgotten.

“The way we started with all the emotion, we started with these guys and won 23 games, a school record,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “This team is pretty special.”

For the Knights, it’s the third straight season of being ousted in the regional championship.

In 2007, eventual 2A State champ Neuqua Valley beat Kaneland, 4-1. 2008 had Sycamore oust Kaneland 6-5 in Dixon.

In the bottom of the first inning, Knight Jay Levita hit a home run to right centerfield for a 1-0 edge.

In the top of the third inning, Tanner Scott of the Rockets blasted a two-run shot for a 2-1 lead.

The bottom of the third had Jeff Smith reach on a bunt and Jake Fiedler hit a double to put two runners on. Smith scored on a passed ball to tie the game, and Fiedler came home on a fielder’s choice put in play by Joe Gura to take a 3-2 lead.

BC battled back in the fourth when Bill Rodriguez hit a homer to tie the score. Things got bad for KHS when Austin Jarvis hit a homer off Steve Colombe in the top of the fifth to take a 6-3 lead.

The bottom of the fifth saw life from the Knights when Levita hit a two-run shot to close within 6-5.

Ty Hamer shut the Rockets down in the top of the seventh. With one out, Gura drew a walk, but catcher Mike Pritchard grounded into a double play to end the game.

BC’s Nick Hahn earned the win.

On May 27, Kaneland ousted Western Sun Conference rival Rochelle 10-0 in five innings.

Smith gave up just one hit in his complete game effort. Dave Dudzinski’s second-inning homer, Joe Camaliere’s fourth-inning shot and Pritchard’s fifth-inning blast were plenty for the Knights to coast.

The Knights now say goodbye to a cache of seniors: John Rotella, Joe Spitzzeri, Curtis Lubic, Mike and Troy Pritchard, Levita, Ryan Stout, Gura and Smith.

Photo: Tyler Callaghan slides home safely to end the Knights’ 10-0, five-inning win against Rochelle on May 27. Photo by Mike Slodki

Knights earn win against Barbs

Kaneland baseball continues to plug away in the season’s homestretch, and in the process eclipsed last season’s win total.

A 3-2 victory on Tuesday over the rival DeKalb Barbs raised Kaneland’s record to 21-10 with a 12-7 tally in the Western Sun Conference.

Righty Steve Colombe improved to 6-2 on the season and went 6.2 innings while Ty Hamer earned save No. 5 by coaxing the final out.

Mike Pritchard’s triple in the fourth inning scored Jay Levita and gave Kaneland a 1-0 edge.

Jake Fielder hit a single in the bottom of the fifth to score Joe Camaliere, and Jeff Smith came home on an error.

The Knights got some face time at Elfstrom Stadium on Monday against rival Batavia, but lost 4-2 on a late comeback by the Bulldogs.

KHS prepares to suit up against DeKalb in a contest scheduled for Northern Illinois University on Thursday, May 21, at 4 p.m.

It all leads to an IHSA Class 3A Regional showdown at Burlington Central High School against either Hampshire or Rochelle. Besides the top-seeded Knights, who would play on Wednesday, May 27, at 4:30 p.m., (2) Sycamore and (3) Burlington Central make up the rest of the regional.

Knights outslug foes, match ’08 win total

by Mike Slodki
Knights baseball dealt with conference and non-conference rivals alike the same way: by nabbing the “W.”

The varsity Knights took it to Yorkville on Thursday afternoon under drizzly-turned-to-sunny skies and made short work of it, 12-2 in five innings.

Then, the Knights beat Yorkville on Friday, 5-2, Oswego East on Saturday 9-6, and Sycamore on Tuesday, 11-9.

Kaneland improved to 19-7 with a 10-5 Western Sun Conference record.

Joe Gura earned the win and struck out four batters while giving up just two runs on four hits on Thursday. Jeff Smith ended up 2-for-3, while Joe Camaliere plated three of the Knights’ runs. Camaliere reached on a three-base error, which allowed Jake Fieldler to score for the first run in the opening inning. By the end of the second inning, the Knights enjoyed a 7-1 lead that was buoyed by a Gura homer in the second. Kaneland scored five more runs in the fourth inning to go up 12-1 before the game was finished after the top of the fifth.

On Friday, the Knights took care of Yorkville in a 5-2 game that was continued from a Thursday stoppage due to rain. Resuming action with Kaneland leading 1-0, Yorkville came back to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth. The Knights scored three in the top of the sixth and Fiedler walked, later coming home on a second baseman error. Jeff Smith improved to 4-1 in the win.

Kaneland nabbed its 18th win of the season, just one off its 2008 mark, with a 9-6, come-from-behind win vs. Oswego East on Saturday.

Mike Pritchard went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a homer to left center. Jay Levita went 2-for-3 and Curtis Lubic went 2-for-2.

Lefty Troy Pritchard improved to 4-1 in a five-inning outing.

Kaneland struck first in the bottom of the second, thanks to a two-out RBI single by Lubic for a 1-0 advantage.

After Oswego East scored two in the top of the fourth inning, KHS managed to deadlock the affair on a Smith sac fly in the bottom of the inning. The Wolves took advantage of suspect fielding by the Knights to go up 5-2 after the top of the fifth, but Kaneland came back with four of its own in the bottom of the fifth.
Fiedler doubled and Camaliere walked. An errant pickoff throw put runners at first and third when Gura walked to load the bases. Mike Pritchard made it 5-4 with a two-run double and Levita gave the Knights the lead at 6-5 with a two-run single. Pritchard was up to his old tricks in the bottom of the sixth with his three-run homer in the teeth of a strong wind.

“I was just looking for my pitch with no strikes on me, and I got ahold of it,” Pritchard said.

“We didn’t really feel comfortable until the final out. We came through offensively and defensively at the end. Mike’s home run was a big lift, and he’s a leader out there,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We’re going to tighten up the screws and get some guys going here.”

On Tuesday, Fiedler’s two-run homer keyed the win, played at Road Ranger Stadium in Loves Park, home of the Frontier League’s Rockford Riverhawks.

Baseball continues the homestretch of the regular season on Thursday, May 14, at Sycamore and Friday, May 15, at Batavia.

Baseball runs into tough week

by Mike Slodki
Through 20 games, Knights baseball has seen more of its share of steady performances.

However, this week provided more difficulty than most.

The Knights (14-6, 6-4 Western Sun Conference) went 1-3 in a week that had them lose to Plainfield South, Rochelle and Batavia.

Kaneland’s lone win was vs. the rival Hubs.

Tuesday saw Batavia beat the visiting Knights 3-2. The Bulldogs scored one in the third, sixth and the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.

Joe Gura was tagged with the loss, and went 2-for-3.

On a Saturday visit to the Plainfield South Cougars, Kaneland fell 8-3.

Ty Hamer (1-1) went six innings in the loss and strick out two batters.

Three singles in the bottom of the first led to an early 1-0 deficit. A sac fly and a double in the fourth inning sent the Knights down 3-0. Plainfield South added one more in the fifth and four in the sixth before the Knights finally crossed the plate three times in the seventh inning. Curtis Lubic had two RBI in the losing effort.

On Friday, the Knights defeated Rochelle in Maple Park by a 5-2 score, thanks to a winning effort from Troy Pritchard (3-1) and a bullpen outing by Joe Gura (fourth save).

An RBI double by Gura in the third inning tied the score at 1-1. Two more runs came home in the fourth inning to take a 3-2 lead.

Two more came home to pad the final margin. Hamer had two RBI on the day.

Last Wednesday vs. Rochelle, Jay Levita’s double gave Kaneland a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but Rochelle scored two to knot it up in the bottom of the first inning. Rochelle then scored three runs in the top of the third. Levita’s RBI single in the top of the sixth brought it to 5-3 before Rochelle scored an insurance run in the sixth.

Jake Tickle scored on a wild pitch in the seventh to close within two runs, but KHS stranded runners at first and second when the game ended.

“We can’t make errors like we did in the field today,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “Rochelle took advantage. They hit a couple balls at us and that should have been it, but the inning would keep going. (Steve) Colombe took the loss (3-1), but I think he’ll be alright.”

The Knights travel to Batavia on Thursday, April 30.

Knights have field day with a three-game win streak

by Mike Slodki
After falling behind 11-0 last Wednesday and narrowly missing a comeback win vs. Geneva, Kaneland just decided to do away with the dramatics through their next three contests.

Thursday saw Kaneland comeback at Geneva after its 12-9 loss with a 7-5 win over the rival Vikings.

Saturday saw the Knights sweep a double-header with opponent to the north Marengo, 9-0 and 10-3.

When the dust settled on the active week, Kaneland was 8-3 with a 1-2 record in Western Sun Conference play.

Falling behind 11-0 in the third inning, the Knights scored single runs in the third and fourth before coming alive with a five-run fifth. With runners at second and third, Jay Levita laced a two-run double. A fielder’s choice then brought another runner home, and Aaron Lamp hit an RBI single to close the deficit.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Joe Gura hit a two-run double to close it to 11-9, but Geneva held on and added another run.

“We did a nice job of bringing guys to the plate on the comeback, but we can’t start a ballgame in a hole like that,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We limited the strikeouts, and we were seeing the ball well when we scored the runs.”

On Thursday, Mike Pritchard hit a two-run blast with Joe Gura getting the win in relief (1-1).

Saturday had Dave Dudzinski go six innings with six strikeouts for the win. Dudzinski is now 1-0. Lamp went the distance in game two while fanning 14.

In lower class play, Sam Komel tossed a five-inning no-hitter for the sophomores, 14-1.

Spring Sports Preview: After hard times, KHS baseball answers call for 2009 campaign

by Mike Slodki
The past 12 months have seen curveballs thrown at the players on the Kaneland High School baseball team.

Thrown by life, not by pitchers.

First, Joe Spitzzeri dealt with X-Linked lymphoproliferative disease, but found his way back to health and a spot on the team. Then in December the team dealt with the tragic death of teammate Jeff Malewig.

The events of the past year give way to a squad that is familiar with crises, but also conduct baseball matters with maturity.

Along the way, they hope to build on a good 2008, according to third-year coach Brian Aversa.

The 19-12 Knights of a year ago had a regional comeback win over host Dixon before seeing a rally fall short against Sycamore in the title game.

“The hunger is still there. You see a determination from these guys and a deep work ethic, and it’s not something they talk about, but you know it’s there,” Aversa said.

A switch from previous years is that the Knights will look to pitching to get them through games more than relying on hitting.

Coming back to the squad are senior leaders Mike Pritchard and Joe Gura, both all-Western Sun Conference members a year ago.

Pritchard looks to be behind the plate, following in the footsteps of celebrated backstops Brian Claesson and Kevin McMahon. Gura looks to fill the hole at shortstop.

Pritchard hit .377 as a junior, while Gura hit at a .400 clip, going to Aversa’s hope of good balance of senior leadership along with ability from the juniors.

On the mound for the Knights: a list that looks to include seniors Troy Pritchard, Jeff Smith, Gura and Spitzzeri. Patrolling the outfield are projected to be senior Jay Levita and sophomore Joe Camaliere. Candidates for third base include Curtis Lubic.

Other seniors looking to make a contribution are 3B/P John Rotella, OF/P Ryan Stout. Juniors are OF/P Ty Hamer, OF/P Steve Colombe, 1B/P Dave Dudzinski, IF Blake Kendrick, C Aaron Hayman, 2B/SS Jake Fiedler and OF Aaron Lamp.

Kaneland’s third-place conference mark a year ago is something that was a good benchmark and will look to carry the Knights again if the conference is anything like it was a year ago.

“Up and down, the conference will be tough again,” Aversa said. “There is no one you can overlook; Batavia, Sycamore, Geneva have a lot of guys returning that we look to do well against.”

Aversa thinks whatever lineup he dishes out will have the necessary components to do battle in the WSC and beyond.

“We’re looking for a good balance of pitching and depth on defense, and they’re ready.”

4/2/09 Note on omission
In the Elburn Herald’s baseball preview article on March 26, SS/P/2B Jake Tickle was omitted. The sports department regrets the error.

WSC, team honors dished at Winter Sports Awards

Last week saw Kaneland High School dole out its winter athletic awards with four sports being recognized on various levels.

In varsity girls basketball, Mallory Huml was given defensive player of the year, and Mallory Carlson was named most improved player. Katie Hatch and Sarah Rose were named co-MVP’s. Cece Anderson won the Kaneland Knight Award, and Rose was also recognized as a member of the all-Western Sun Conference team. Rose, Anderson, Hatch, Huml, Brianna Hurst, Chassidy Mangers and Alyssa Galvan were also recognized as captains.

In sophomore basketball, Jessica Stouffer and Liz Hylland took the Kaneland Knight awards, while Sydney Bilotta won defensive player. Andrea Dimmig-Potts and Katie Taylor were named co-offensive player of the year. Keara Palpant was given MVP honors.

For the freshman level, Anna Olson took the hustle award, and Katie Tolan won most improved. Christina Janes was named Queen of the Boards, while McKinzie Mangers was given the Dedication award. Kylie Siebert won the Lady Knight award.

For boys basketball, Dave Dudzinski was honored for making the All-WSC team, and was also named as the team’s offensive player of the year.

The Most Improved Player award went to the tandem of Christian Dillon and Sean Paulick. Dudzinski took the team MVP honors, and Curtis Lubic earned the defensive player of the year nod.

Brody Root, Dillon, Mike Prtichard, Lubic, Chris Ott and Joe Spitzzeri were also recognized as captains.

On the freshman level, Eric Eichelberger and Brandon Stahl earned most improved honors, while Jake Razo took home outstanding defensive player, and Jordan Jones was outatanding offensive player.

For the Lady Knights bowling team, Jessica Stebbins was given kudos for high game, high series, and high average.

Danielle Rose earned the most improved award. Emily Curran took home the coaches award and Stebbins, Curran, Kathleen Moravcik and Cassie Wilson were recognized as captains.

For wrestling, Jay Levita was named most valuable wrestler, as well as getting the Bob Domena Memorial Award for hardest worker, and was also given accolades for making the All-WSC team and State.

Jimmy Boyle took the most improved award, while Devon Scholl won the Dave Osman Award for most dedicated. Boyle was given the Russel Anderson Memorial Award, and Matt Weaver took the Heart and Soul Award.

Levita, Weaver and Scholl were also recognized as captains.

Levita’s quest to State ends in opening match

by Mike Slodki
Senior Jay Levita’s impressive 2008-2009 wrestling campaign came to an end on Friday in Champaign after his first match, but it made the season no less impressive.

Levita’s lone match was a 9-3 loss to Springfield’s Dane Atwood in the 145-pound grouping.

Washington freshman Dylan Reel was crowned state champ after beating Fenton’s Josh Castellano in the final.

In only three years, still somewhat raw in wrestling terms, Levita’s time, effort and talent paid off, according to head coach Monty Jahns.

“When you have an athlete, such as Jay, who is willing to put forth the effort, then goals can be attained. I would take a full team of inexperience if they would all had the same work ethic as Jay did this year,” Jahns said.

Levita ended with 31 wins.

Knights send one of their own to State

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrestlers get four through to sectional

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrestling nabs two seconds against WSC best at Sycamore

Sycamore High School was the site of the annual Western Sun Conference tournament, and Kaneland wrestling had some success.

While finishing in eighth place, the Knights saw two of their wrestling brethren get to championship matches.

Batavia won the meet with 177.5 points, followed by Sycamore’s 174.5. Yorkville finished in third with 169.5.

DeKalb was fourth with 151.5 points, followed by Rochelle at 86. Geneva (84), Glenbard South (80) and Kaneland (65) rounded out the last three.

Jay Levita, at 145 pounds, earned a 3:32 pin over DeKalb’s Robbie Miller and a 1:37 fall over Yorkville’s Steven Pozeg. Sycamore’s Sean Akins pinned Levita in the final in three minutes.

Levita’s teammate Jimmy Boyle won over Colton Mejorado of Yorkville in the 285-pound group (1:42 fall), and took a 2-0 OT decision over Sycamore’s Luke Sgarlata before getting pinned in the final by Raider Austin Teistma.

Devon Scholl finished third at 125 pounds after outlasting Glenbard South’s Pat Williams 6-0.
130-pound entry Matt Weaver finished fourth on a day that included a 2-1 win over Geneva’s Collin Callahan.

The grapplers hope to make an impression on Hampshire, Marengo and Sycamore while hosting a quad on Friday, Jan. 30, at 5:30 p.m.

KHS earns 6th at Flott Invite; Levita takes 2nd at 145

Ten Knights battle through competition to place in weight classes

Kaneland wrestling (10-15, 2-4 WSC) had a chance to put competition on notice, and a good number of the Knights did just that.

At the Margaret Flott Memorial Wrestling Invite on Saturday at Kaneland High School, Addison Trail won the meeting with 178.5 points, while Kaneland finished with 120 points.

Prairie Central of Fairbury finished second with 136.5 points and Burlington Central took third with 132 points, out of 13 schools.

Several Kaneland grapplers did their school and faithful proud during the day.

Ryan Goodenough, at 103 pounds, finished fourth overall. Teammate Tyler Esposito had a fourth-place finish at 112 pounds. Josh Kuefler finished sixth at 119 pounds. 125-pounder Devon Scholl also took sixth in his group. At 135 pounds, Dennis Brettman finished in sixth place. Kyle Davidson took fourth in the 140-pound group. Jay Levita was runner-up at 145 pounds. At 152 pounds, Cody McGinnis finished fifth. J.T. Webb finished sixth at 160 pounds. Heavyweight Jimmy Boyle took third in his grouping.

Goodenough got a pin over Burlington Central’s Jon Wight in 1:40 in his grouping before losing to Nathan Andresen of Elgin in 4:51.

Esposito beat Prairie Central’s Joey Reis 15-5 in his grouping but lost to Burlington’s Omar Awad 10-4 in the third place match.

Kuefler beat Josh Reece of St. Edward in the consolation bracket on his way to sixth.

Scholl beat Marengo’s Torben Hoffmeyer 14-0 in the consolation bracket and Ottawa’s Zack Harvey in 1:28 with a pinfall before losing to Oswego’s Ross Reeder in the fifth place match.

Brettman earned a 13-2 decision over Oswego’s Angel Ortiz and a 3-0 decision over Burlington’s Al Willett and a 1:43 pinfall over Elgin’s Ryan Anderson.

Davidson beat Sebastian Altamirano of Elgin in 1:08 and St. Joseph’s Zach Moreno in :54.

The top finisher on the day for Kaneland was Levita as he took care of Larkin’s Perry Allerton with a 2:24 pinfall. He then stuck Prairie Central’s Alex Reis with a 3:30 pinfall before losing 11-2 to Joey Moorhouse of Marengo.

McGinnis earned a 4:29 win over Oswego’s Dan Roman and won the fifth-place match with a 12-8 win over Ottawa’s Derek Martin.

Webb earned a technical fall over Marengo’s Jon Goerke in 3:23 and pinned Ottawa’s Tony Downey in 5:12 before falling to Jon DiBuono of Oswego in 3:27.

Boyle earned a :54 pin against Marian Central Carholic’s Josh LaLuz, and later nabbed a 1-0 win for third place over Ed Nevarez.

Kaneland’s 39-34 win over Geneva on Thursday also featured Senior Night, and wins by Matt Weaver, Levita, A.J. Wagner, and Boyle.

Kaneland now gears up for a meet featuring the other WSC schools at the WSC Tournament in Sycamore on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 9 a.m.

Photo: Kaneland’s Ryan Goodenough (103) battles Prairie Central during his fourth-place day at the Flott Invitational on Saturday in Maple Park. Photo by Ben Draper

Wrestlers look to get up off mat

by Mike Slodki

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

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

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

Kaneland’s head-to-head mark is 9-16.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrestlers see encouraging signs at DeKalb, Woodstock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrestling deals with tough first day of Flavin Invite

by Mike Slodki

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrestlers earn 1 win out of 3 at Saturday’s Argo quad

            Knights wrestling probably couldn’t think of a better present for itself after two weeks of no meets than to get back on the mat and start pinning people.

            The giving began on Saturday out at south suburban Argo High School in Summit for a quad also featuring Chicago’s St. Patrick and Kelly High Schools.

            The Knights lost to St. Patrick 42-33, but beat Kelly 44-27 before losing to host Argo 32-26. In dual meet competition, the Knights sit at 5-7.

            Knight grapplers who secured wins against the St. Patrick Shamrocks of the East Suburban Catholic included 125-pound entry Devon Scholl who won his match 7-1, Matt Weaver at 130 pounds who got a pinfall in 38 seconds, Kyle Davidson at 140 who eked out a 7-6 win, 145-pound asset Jay Levita with a 2:46 pinfall and heavyweight Jimmy Boyle with a 9-3 win.

            Against the Kelly Trojans, Kaneland soared to victory thanks to a 6-0 win by School, a technical fall by Levita in 3:10, a 1:28 fall by 160-pounder J.T. Webb.

171-pound grappler Tim Meyer also won his matchup with a 9-6 total.

            In the close loss to the host Argonauts, 103-pounder Ryan Goodenough took a technical fall in four minutes. Scholl took a pinfall in 3:59 and Weaver won a 7-6 affair.

            Teammate Emiliano Ponce won his matchup 8-6, Davidson earned a pin in 3:48 and Levita won his matchup by an 8-7 clip.

            Coming up for the Knights is the usual Don Flavin stop in DeKalb which takes place on Monday, Dec. 29 and Tuesday, Dec. 30.

Grapplers tear through Saturday quad

Kaneland wrestlers earn three wins at Rochelle meet

            What’s the best remedy for a 1-5 dual meet start if you’re Kaneland wrestling?

            How about going to town on three opponents on Saturday.

            Kaneland improved to 4-5 after a successful outing at Rochelle High School’s gym.
           
In three matchups, the Monty Jahns-led Knights defeated host Rochelle 48-19, Bremen High School of Midlothian 63-12 and Lemont High School 37-32.

            Highlights against the Hubs included 135-pound entry Emiliano Ponce nabbing a 7-6 win with a takedown in the final period.

            Kyle Davidson, at the 140-pound mark, stuck a pin at the 4:42 mark.

            Jay Levita almost pulled out a win in the 145-pound match, down 10-8 in the final period, but lost 13-12 in a valiant effort.

            In the 103-pound match against the Hubs, Ryan Goodenough pulled out a 4:51 pin for a victory. In the 112-pound meeting, entry Tyler Esposito earned a pinfall in 1:44.

            Josh Kuefler won his meeting in the 119-pound range in just 27 seconds due to a pinfall.

            At this time a year ago, the Knights were 5-4 in dual meet action. At that very meet at Rochelle a year ago, Kaneland beat Bremen 60-21, but lost to Rochelle 40-33 and lost to Lemont 46-27.

            In oncoming action, the Knights host Western Sun Conference rival DeKalb on Friday, Dec. 12 at 5:30 p.m., and then travel to rival Glenbard South’s Raider turf on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 5:30 p.m.

Grapplers set to begin Jahns era

by Mike Slodki

            A less prepared team might be scrambling.

            With former coach Gary Baum stepping down after a 20-year coaching career and the departure of four graduates, fans would understand if Kaneland wrestling got off to a slower-than-normal start.

            But with new head coach Monty Jahns, himself a former Knight wrestler and longtime assistant coach, it is going to be business as usual and hitting the mat running.

            “We are going to miss Coach Baum,” Jahns said. “Leadership was his biggest quality, and I hope to carry that on with these guys, along with dedication and making these guys the best wrestlers they can be.”

            Jahns is joined by Rob Bohaczyk, Jeremy Kenny and Joe Thorgesen on the coaching staff.

            Looking to make a name for themselves are Paul Morning at 112 pounds, Devon Scholl at 119 pounds and Matt Weaver at the 125-pound class.

            Kyle Davidson looks to pin down the competition at the 140 class. Senior Jay Levita, fresh off a postseason in which he stood out at last year’s regionals, sits at 145. Keagan Mattes begins at 171 and Jimmy Boyle takes over Fabrizius’ old spot at 285.

            “We want the kids to battle for seven minutes, finish the match strong and never give up,” Jahns said.

            Tuesday, Nov. 25, has Kaneland traveling to East Moline United.