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 Saturdayâ€™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 Ottawaâ€™s Anthony Brown in the second round after a bye. Levita solved Brown with an 11-1 major decision victory. Levita then defeated Rock Islandâ€™s Teighlor Echolds by a 12-5 margin before losing to Washingtonâ€™s Dylan Reel in the final by a 2:45 pinfall.
Levita will face Springfield High Schoolâ€™s Dane Atwood (34-5) in the first round, with the winner facing Bremenâ€™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 wrestlingâ€™s elite group.
â€œIt comes down to conditioning. Most of my matches are won that way. Itâ€™s my basic moves and thatâ€™s what I have to stick with.â€
Wins over Sandwichâ€™s Jake Hankes and Sycamoreâ€™s Sean Akins in the regional provided another needed boost for the senior.
â€œThe two big wins at regionals really motivated me and kind of showed me that I could do it,â€ Levita said.
Heavyweight representative Jimmy Boyle was eliminated in the second round after receiving a bye by Bloomingtonâ€™s Kyle McAvoy.
In the 215-pound group, Knight A.J. Wagner closed his career out with 4:38 pinfall loss to Mahomet-Seymourâ€™s Charles Miller.
J.T. Webb, at 152 pounds, was defeated by Galesburgâ€™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 Springfieldâ€™s Dane Atwood in Champaign this weekend. Photo by Ben Draper