Tag Archives: Josh Kuefler

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.”

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.

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

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

Grapplers prep for Sandwich

by Mike Slodki
Kaneland wrestling needed one last tune-up before this Saturday’s IHSA Class 2A regional at Sandwich High School.

Time will tell how key the triangular with Marengo and Hampshire was in preparation for the postseason gathering.

With Kaneland’s 45-29 loss to the Marengo Indians and the 63-18 win over first-year program Hampshire, the final dual mark for the Knights is 11-16 (2-5 Western Sun Conference).

Noteworthy pins against the Indians were accomplished by 103-pound asset Ryan Goodenough, 119-pounder Josh Kuefler and 125-pounder Devon Scholl.

“All I did, basically, was try to go out there with intensity, and we needed pins,” Scholl said.

Scholl’s bracket on Saturday morning in Sandwich looks like a gauntlet, with competitors like Yorkville’s Jed Lightfoot and Rochelle’s Geoff Huntley.

“125 is pretty stacked, it’s pretty tough,” Scholl said. “Going through the season, you tough it out and dig deep and that’s what you have to do there.”

Besides KHS, Yorkville, Rochelle and the host Indians, the regional also houses Aurora Central Catholic, Oswego and Sycamore.

Individual standouts will meet up at the LaSalle-Peru Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 14, along with personnel from the Peoria Woodruff, Pontiac and Geneseo regionals.

Photo: Kaneland’s Kyle Davidson (140) tries to bring his Glenbard South opponent down during the WSC invite at Sycamore High School on Saturday, January 24. Photo by John DiDonna

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.

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.

Kaneland wrestlers fighting through early season struggles

            Kaneland’s wrestling squad is giving its members valuable experience, but it probably wishes it could see more of the winning kind.

            After the first two meets of the regular season, the Knight grapplers under coach Monty Jahns have a 1-5 dual meet.

            Tuesday, Nov. 25 had Kaneland travel to the tough East Moline United meet and get defeated by Moline 49-9, Rock Island 30-26 and East Moline United 45-26.

            Good news did find its way to the Knights at the meet though.

            Josh Kuefler, at 119 pounds, won all three of his matches. Meanwhile, 125-pounder Devon Scholl won two matches, 140-pounder Kyle Davidson won two, as did Jimmy Boyle at the heavyweight category.

            The lone win on Saturday in a four way meetup was against Freeport, 50-28.

However, in a 45-36 loss to Oswego, Emiliano Ponce got a pin at 2:51 in the 135-pound class. Boyle earned a pin at 2:57. Kaneland also lost to Burlington Central, 47-24.

            Next up, the Knights take on Bremen, Lemont and Rochelle at the home of the Hubs.