Tag Archives: Monty Jahns

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Many happy returns

Photos: Coaches share memories >

One need not look far for former athletes returning to teach, coach at KHS
KANELAND—It’s one thing to compete for your school—to put in hours of blood, sweat and tears for a shot a glory.

But there are some whose story doesn’t end when they walk through the graduation line. Many of the coaches that patrol the sidelines at Kaneland High School used to be Knights themselves.

The roster of alumni spans a large set of years, going from wrestling head coach Monty Jahns from the Class of 1981, to assistant football and basketball coach Brian Claesson from the Class of 2008.

That space of time has seen considerable growth in the area and much success from the programs that have spawned the future educators.

Participant in girls track, basketball and volleyball, Class of 2003 member Breanne Kahl helps students with biology and AP biology challenges during the day before mentoring freshman volleyball players, something she’s done for the past seven seasons.

“Coaching is something I’ve really wanted to do, I love the game and still play whenever possible,” Kahl said. “What I do now is a great way to connect with the kids and form relationships throughout high school.”

Kahl, a graduate of Aurora University and Masters degree recipient from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, isn’t that far removed from walking the halls as a student, but has seen almost two full classes cycle out of KHS.

It allows for reflection.

“You get to see the transition and it’s really a lot of fun going all the way from freshman year to graduation. Then they go off to college and do great things,” Kahl said.

Someone like Andy Drendel, of the Class of 2005, is no stranger to the Kaneland athletic story, with his father Ralph a storied track coach and current interim athletics director.

“My dad is my hero, and I can go to him for anything and he’ll tell it like it is,” Drendel said.

Drendel already brought a wealth of coaching experience to the current cross-country and track landscape he occupies as an assistant. The McDole Elementary teacher helped coach boys track and girls track at Macomb High School after completing his degree at Western Illinois University.

“I knew all about the great coaches at Kaneland like Bob Pederson and Joe Thorgesen, and grew up with their kids. I knew that I wanted to be a coach since elementary school. In basketball back in high school when a drill was being run, I remember thinking ‘I want to do this,'” Drendel said.

An athlete like twin sister Kelsey, now the head volleyball coach down at Normal West, Drendel’s memory of school time stretches far, something he often brings to his students and athletes.

“It’s easy to be able to relate to them that 20 years ago, I was sitting where they were now,” Drendel said.

Science teacher Mike Thorgesen, a graduate of Kaneland and Illinois State University, was in a spot with his younger brother Boone, a current Plano faculty member, where Kaneland athletics were never far away.

“Growing up a coach’s kid, you were always around the sports. It took me awhile to understand it, but you saw the older kids playing all the time and that’s who I wanted to be,” Thorgesen said.

In his third year of helping lower-level football and varsity wrestling after two years at McHenry High School, Thorgesen wouldn’t have been deterred if the output he saw from father Joe after multiple decades was less than the two State titles.

“Even when we were young, it didn’t matter how good or bad they were, it felt like home. Then, I kind of knew what I wanted to do,” Thorgesen said.

The most recent addition to the group of KHS athletes returning is Claesson, who attended Aurora University and saw action on the diamond as a Spartan, this after playing for both Joe Thorgesen and Tom Fedderly on the football field as well as current baseball coach Brian Aversa.

“I wanted to try and get into coaching and teaching and do P.E. or special ed,” Claesson said. “I wanted to stay close to home and I had a great time at Kaneland, luckily they had an opening.”

In his second year, Claesson has paid his dues assisting the freshman and sophomore football rosters, along with the sophomore baseball team.

A move to varsity baseball could be in the cards in 2014.

“Aversa has pulled that program up since he’s been here, I think my first year, there were nine kids on varsity. He’s won a State championship, and he’s great to coach with. The coaches I work with are great to learn from.” the former Knight catcher said.

Former Knights that return have seen enough experience that that can even serve well in a bind.

“When you switch coaches, and during any transition, it’s very helpful to have coaches that know the routing and who can be looked at for things like even taking attendance on the bus,” Kahl said.

KHS personnel who have made their way back always have an outlet to turn toward for help or advice, as well.

“I’ll bring up something to my dad and mentioned something he did in 1993, but he’ll let me know that that situation was back in 1993 and was different,” Drendel said. “I have (Chad) Clarey in the fall to work under and (Eric) Baron in the spring if I have any questions. They are great coaches as well as great mentors.”

The work put in by the athletes is quite familiar to the coaches that have returned.

“I feel I work best on the freshman level,” Kahl said. “My record has been decent, and the girls that come in are very talented. A lot of times, girls will come in as great athletes but need work on the volleyball skill. You get to see how they do all four years.”

“You see the coaches in your youth and they seem like seasoned veterans to you, but there’s growing pains. You still have to try your own style to get your message across,” Thorgesen said.
Aspects of the experience can still surprise.

“I always loved football, and I’ve really taken to coaching wrestling. They’re two different sports completely, but I’ve really gotten into it,” Thorgesen said.

“The dedication of the players is amazing,” Claesson said. “You have a lot of three-sport athletes at Kaneland and there’s a lot of success. I saw that as a student, especially with football.”

Kahl loves the coaching aspect, and the Lady Knight experience, with all challenges therein.

“I sit through two games that need full attention. Sometimes it’s tough to keep your energy up, but Kelsey Flanagan (Class of 2006) helped this year a lot, and was able to take over a bit in between the games so I was able to gather myself, get energy back and move on to the next match,” Kahl said.

In his still young coaching career, Claesson looks to instill what he was witness to as a diamond backstop and Knight pass-catcher.

“The coaches were always approachable. I could talk with any of them. Kaneland coaches have great relationships with their team,” Claesson said.

For Kaneland High School athletics, it’s been fortunate to see the return of capable athletes from its annals of history mentor current athletes today. It stands to wonder which Knight or Lady Knight currently brandishing the KHS jersey could make their way back in 2024?

Editors note: We contacted numerous coaches at Kaneland that were once KHS athletes, but did not hear back from many prior to publication.

All cylinders

KHS continues to roll in duals, ends regular season with close win vs. Batavia

BATAVIA—It doesn’t matter the caliber of opponent—Kaneland wrestling makes sure the foe has its mat work cut out for it.

The latest example was a 37-32 win over former conference rival Batavia at the Bulldogs’ refurbished fieldhouse on Friday.

The notch in the Knights’ favor cements their dual record for the 2013-14 season at a stellar 15-7, up from 13-13 last year and 11-12 in 2011-12.

“As a dual team, we’re a little bit better than the last two years,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “The frosh/soph guys are doing great, and the upperclassmen are hanging in there.”

The win also bests last year’s 42-30 regular season ender in Maple Park to Batavia. Two years ago saw Kaneland earn a tiebreaker in a 31-31 contest.

There were wins aplenty for KHS, beginning at 106 pounds, with Austin Kedzie pinning Mike Orlow at 1:57. Matthew Redman took a 12-11 decision in the 126-pound battle, followed by an 11-2 major decision for 132-pound entry Hayden Patterson.

At 138 pounds, Dane Goodenough earned a 60-second pinfall over Marc Goodin, while teammate Riley Vanik took the 145-pound mantle in 2:06. George Strang took a 3-2 decision over 152-pound rival Eric Wallerstein, while Austin Parks won the 160 match over Derek Nutley, 11-6 and fellow Knight Tom Price worked to a 3:35 pinfall at 170 to complete the Kaneland run.

“It’s a solid team,” Jahns said. “They are constantly improving, and we have guys like (285-pound) Justin Diddell leading the way with 28 wins. Our goal is to get down to Champaign (Ill., site of dual team finals).”

Up next for the Knights is postseason territory on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Belvidere Regional. Teams include Belvidere, Belvidere North, Burlington Central, Joliet Catholic, Marengo, Boylan Catholic, Sandwich and Sycamore. Last year’s postseason journey yielded a 145-pound State crown for graduate Dan Goress.

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Wrestlers continue to roll

Photo: Riley Vanik throws his opponent to the mat during Saturday’s Tournament at KHS. Vanik took second place in the 145-pound bracket. Zach Parker (below) was Kaneland’s lone tournament champ, winning the 182-pound bracket. Photos by Patti Wilk

KHS takes second at Flott, hands Morris convincing loss
KANELAND—Kaneland High School wrestling is 16-7 in dual competition, which is a decent story in itself.

It’s the convincing way the grapplers have won 16 of 23 duals that has been the main detail.

Before KHS battled its way to a second-place finish at its own Flott Memorial Tournament on Saturday, the Morris Redskins learned firsthand what talent the Knights bring to Northern Illinois Big XII duals, with Kaneland on top 45-15.

At the Flott gathering in Maple Park on Saturday, the Knights’ 170.5 point total was 18.5 points behind Central Suburban Conference mainstay Niles North’s champion-worthy total. At 155 points, Larkin was third, followed by Elgin in fourth at 148 points. NIB-12 rival Rochelle was fifth at 130.5 points, while Plainfield North brought up the rear with 103.5 points.

The Knights had one first-place entry on the afternoon in the form of 182-pound Zach Parker, as well as seven others with a second-place finish.
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Parker defeated Niles North’s Zac Khaya by 4:35 pinfall and stuck Rochelle’s Eli Keating with a 60-second pinfall in the championship final.

The plethora of second-place honorees on the Kaneland side began with 113-pound entry Adam Mish, who beat Larkin’s Edgar Trejo by 7-0 count before dropping a 9-5 final to Hub Jeff Board. At 126 pounds, Matthew Redman finished second by beating Niles North’s Maykel Potros 6-1 and losing to Larkin’s Duke Bogicevic in 1:15. 138-pound asset Dane Goodenough took second by beating Larkin’s Joey Rahn in :54 and Plainfield North’s Dan Valenzio in 5:08, before losing to Joe Pazmino of Niles North 5-3.

Riley Vanik of the 145-pound group mowed through Niles North’s Joe Broton by technical fall before dropping a 12-4 major decision to Rochelle’s TC Hager in the final. At 160 pounds, it was Zach Russell finishing as runner-up after a 3:56 solving of Niles North’s Thomas Gaul and 11-8 loss to Elgin rep Devin Syavong. Tom Price of the 170-pound range began with a 1:17 pin of Plainfield North’s Bryan Bott, and beat Larkin’s Victor Cuevas in :38 before losing by DQ to Plainfield North’s Mark DiNardo in the final. In the heavyweight category, Justin Diddell beat Elgin’s Ariel Barraza in :38 and Niles North’s James Edmond by 4-3 count, before losing to Plainfield North’s Nick Wolf in 1:27.

In the dustup with the Redskin rivals, Kaneland got on a roll early with a 7-2 win for Parker over Ryan Kowalczyk and a 195-pound win for Cullen Murray over Morris’ Victor Toissant, 10-3. After a forfeit, Diddell picked up the slack with a 2:45 pinfall over Andrew Faught to begin a five-match win streak for KHS. Nick Mish won a 10-4 decision over Tony Menozi at the 106-pound mark, followed by Adam Mish at 113 pounds taking a 6-1 decision over Morris’ Andrew Smith. KHS teammate Jacob Shearer, at 120 pounds, took a 1:39 pin, followed by Matthew Redman winning his 126-pound match with Dominic Byerly just 34 seconds before regulation ended.

“I don’t really know what to say, we’re just having a really good year and we have a young team,” Redman said. “We’re succeeding with it.”

The Knights ended up with three more victories in the form of Luke Eggenberger at 132 pounds over Morris’ Hunter Herman (2:42 pin), Vanik with a 6-0 win over AJ Vota, and a 1:17 Russell pin over Ryan Olsen.

It was a satisfying win for the group, especially on Senior Night.

“It was nice for the seniors and for the underclassmen to get the pins where they needed them,” KHS coach Monty Jahns. “It was huge and fun. It’s been a really good year so far.”

Ahead for the Knights crew: the Northern Illinois Big XII meet housed by Sterling on Saturday, Jan. 25.

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KHS grapplers can’t grab hold in tough week

Cary-Grove, CLC, DeKalb dish Kaneland losses
KANELAND—Kaneland wrestling had done well so far this season, but they can be sure to run into a wall of tough opponents for days at a time, as was the case this past week.

On Thursday, the 9-4 Knights took it on the headgear against visiting DeKalb in Maple Park by a 44-18 clip, while Dec. 11 saw a trip to Crystal Lake Central end with losses to both the host Tigers and the Trojans of Cary-Grove, 43-30 and 39-24, respectively.

Against DeKalb, wins came courtesy of personnel like Nick Mish at 106 pounds with a pin at 4:46.

Teammate Dane Goodenough stuck a pin in the 138-pound meeting in 3:31, providing a bright spot in the hard-luck conference loss.

“I saw he was slacking a bit so I was able to get inside control and got the fireman’s and kept driving. Once I saw that, I capitalized and pinned him through that,” Goodenough said. “Most of us thought we weren’t going to start as good as we did. Even with our few losses now, we’re still up there.”

The final pin of the night went to 170-pound entry Tom Price, who won his match in 1:42.

“I thought our kids wrestled hard, but we needed a little more fire when we hit the mat. They didn’t give up, they just didn’t come out with a lot of emotion. We wrestled well against Sycamore, but after DeKalb, there’s some work to do,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said.

In the 15-point loss to C-G, 285-pound Justin Diddell earned a 1:24 pin, while Adam Mish won his 113-pound encounter in 1:18. Goodenough won his bout by 9-3 margin, and Riley Vanik emerged victorious in the 145-pound bout by 6-2 tally.

In the 13-point setback against CLC, Diddell earned another pin in 2:44, while Matthew Redman won a 126-pound encounter in 1:42. The final two wins on Kaneland’s side were Vanik’s 8-1 decision and George Strang’s 5-3 win at 152 pounds.

Friday, Dec. 20, sees a trip to Northern Illinois Big XII rival Yorkville in Kendall County.

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Leveraging Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Success at 1st postseason stop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrestlers take down Morris, host Flott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KHS earns split at usual Flavin stop

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

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

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

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

Kaneland finished eighth in 2011 and sixth in 2010.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrestlers tussle with Yorkville in losing effort

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

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

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

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

Kaneland’s dual record is now 6-7.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaneland also beat Belvidere North 51-21.

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

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

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

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

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

Knights power through

Photo: Kaneland Senior Sonny Horn gets the upper hand on his opponent at Sycamore on Nov. 29. Horn went on to win the match. Photo by Patti Wilk

Wrestlers slammed by Sycamore, split Saturday triangular
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Area teams know when they’ve been on a mat with the Sycamore Spartans—the KHS grapplers are no different.

The Knights traveled to Spartan Trail on Thursday for a Northern Illinois Big XII matchup and fell 55-16 in head-to-head action. Kaneland acclimated itself better with a triangular meet that led to a 36-35 slim loss to Plano and a 54-21 handling of the Lemont Indians on Saturday in Maple Park.

Through six dual encounters, the Knights are 4-2.

Against the Spartan program that had a top-tier finish in the IHSA dual meets in February, Kaneland fell victim to an onslaught that began with a 6-1 loss by Adam Mish to Bryce Hansen in the 106-pound match, a 17-1 technical fall win by Kyle Akins over 113-pound Stephen Gust, and a forfeit in the 120-pound match.

David Barnhart lost to Jesus Renteria 10-1 in the 126-pound clash, and George Strang was pinned in the 132-pound match in 2:40.

Kaneland’s first positive development happened with Sonny Horn’s 3:28 pin of Andrew Larsen at 138, followed by Dan Goress’ 12-4 decision over Dylan Foster at 145.

Sycamore went on another roll with an Austin Culton 19-4 tech fall over Knight Austin Parks at 152, an Austin Armstrong pin of Knight Zach Russell in :51 at 160, a major decision by Ren Swick over KHS rep Zach Parker at 182, followed by two forfeits.

The final two matches of the evening had 220-pounder Nick Sharp of Kaneland lose to Martin Malone by 13-5 major decision, but heavyweight Zach Theis pinned Devin Knight in 3:20.

“We weren’t on the attack like we were in the (practice) room the last couple of weeks,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “We’ll get it back. They’ve got it, they just didn’t bring it tonight. We wrestled well last Saturday. Sycamore’s a different caliber team, but I expect us to wrestle much better the next time.”

Indicative of Theis’ importance to the squad, the anchor knew he had to come through, regardless of the team score.

“I was in the mindset that I needed to do something good,” Theis said. “I was working on moves all week in practice. I’m just going to keep moving and keep learning.”

Jahns said he hopes the Knights don’t serve up a repeat performance of the Knights-Spartans skirmish anytime soon.

Saturday’s encounter with the capable Plano Reapers contingent began with an 11-2 major decision loss by Mish to give Plano an early edge, but Kaneland went on a roll thanks to a Gust tech fall (15-0), a 15-12 win by 120-pound rep Diego Lobo, a forfeit, a 9-0 major decision by 132-pound Esai Ponce, a 2:56 pin by Horn and a tech fall 20-5 win by Goress.

Plano closed the deficit after a pin of Parks at 152, a 3:10 pin of Zach Russell by state-qualifier Wes Brown, a loss by Zach Parker in 9-6 fashion at 170, two forfeits and a 10-2 win by Derrick Maisonet over Sharp.

Theis had a 5:20 pin of Junior Nunez in heavyweight action, but the tiebreaker edge of decisions went to Plano for the razor-thin win.

Kaneland regained its footing with a win over south suburban fixture Lemont, beginning with a forfeit and a 4:56 pinfall win for Gust.

After a Lemont forfeit win, Barnhart picked up a 5-0 decision to lift Maple Park’s spirits. Ponce acted on a 1:20 pinfall, but Horn fell victim to a 7-2 decision in the next two matches.

Goress earned a quick :30 pinfall at 145, and Parks followed up with a 1:28 pinfall. Russell pinned Mike Fragner in 3:52 to send KHS on its way. Kaneland took a forfeit win followed by two of the same for Lemont, before Sharp won a 5-2 matchup at 220, and Theis won a forfeit.

Kaneland was set to head to Crystal Lake Central on Wednesday, with results unavailable at press time. The Knights will then face host DeKalb on Thursday, Dec. 6.

Winter Sports Preview: Grapplers count on experienced core

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Last year brought a handful of success for Kaneland High School wrestling.

In 2012-13, the Knights are looking for more good fortune than they are able to carry.

KHS improved its dual meet mark from the previous year to finish 11-12, and was fortunate to have a sizable postseason presence.

Three of those people return as seniors, including the sixth-best 106-pounder in the state, Stephen Gust, plus Dan Goress (138 pounds) and Esai Ponce (126).

Out of last year’s State qualifiers, Ben Kovalick is gone to graduation, but the returning personnel also includes wrestlers like senior Regional champ Zach Theis, as well as fellow Sectional qualifiers Connor Williams and Sonny Horn.

“Absolutely, these seniors are going to lead the way for us,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “We are going to need points anywhere we can, with us giving up some weights in dual meets. The senior guys take over the room.”

Not only do the senior guys provide talent and leadership, but the wrestlers also have an extra added bonus.

“We were able to get the football players in a little earlier than in the past two years. They are busting their butts right now,” Jahns said.

Additional members of the Knights crew who look to duplicate more positive success to build on include Dane Goodenough and Luke Kreiter.

With the third-place finish in the Northern Illinois Big XII tournament plus additional success as the postseason wore on, Jahns trusts the returning Knights to use those experiences for motivation.

“It makes a big difference to go toward a goal like that, and you include that going into this year and try to be as solid as you can,” Jahns said.

Kaneland will aim for another top-three finish, but has to battle other capable schools.

“Yorkville is pretty dominant even though they lost some seniors. Sycamore is always solid, but they lost a couple people, and you can’t count out DeKalb. This year, we need to get as many wins as we can in the upper and lower weights to make up for a couple forfeits, but the kids are doing what we ask them to do,” Jahns said.

Saturday, Nov. 24, brings the first test with a home quad meet against Burlington Central, Freeport and Wheaton-Warrenville South. The first NIB12 tussle is on Thursday, Nov. 29, at Sycamore.

KHS kids show ‘singlet’-minded focus

Photo: Kaneland wrestlers did their part in spring yard cleanups for senior citizens in Sugar Grove in the effort to raise funds for a trip to Wisconsin for a wrestling camp. Over 280 hours were spent volunteering. Courtesy Photo

Wrestlers’ week at camp fueled by helping community
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—How do 28 Kaneland middle school and high school wrestlers spend four days in the Wisconsin Dells area?

By competing against fellow wrestlers from states like Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin in a team wrestling camp.

An involved week at the Malecek Wrestling Camp from June 25-28 was the final piece of a puzzle that had various levels of the Kaneland wrestling program doing good in the area as a fundraiser to send team members to the elite camp.

The wrestling staff brainstormed some ideas and the plan was announced at the winter Wrestling Banquet in March after setting a goal to send kids to a well-known camp.

According to KHS wrestling coach Monty Jahns, the team volunteered 281.25 hours to the community, with an additional 111.75 hours donated by coaches and parents.

The camp featured 60 high school teams and over 900 wrestlers, but the matches, dual meets and round-robin tournaments were only part of the overall package.

In order to raise funds for the camp goal, donations for volunteer work was decided upon after the brain trust wanted to go a non-traditional route—away from discount cards and popcorn.

Area institutions like the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva, the Sugar Grove Senior Center, Sugar Grove Historical Society, John Shields Elementary School, Conley Farm and Delnor Hospital received volunteer hours.

Beginning the spearheading of the project in the winter, Jahns believes it couldn’t have worked out better.

“It was great that they were able to do this, and we helped people,” Jahns said. “It taught them responsibility and got them out in the community.”

The final total of 17 wrestlers making it to the camp was the result of the very definition of a group effort. The size and scale of the volunteer effort was a new experience for volunteer coach and Knights Wrestling Club coach Bob McCaffrey.

“I have volunteered for larger organizations and have been part of other ‘traditional’ fundraisers for local sports teams,” McCaffrey said. “The most impressive thing was seeing the boys learning and understanding the impact that volunteering has on the people they were helping.”

McCaffrey also made mention of incoming senior Eddie Rodriguez, the Student Administrative Assistant of the program.

The man-hours paved the way for actual mat time featuring duals and round-robins, making for an experience well worth it.

“The competition is a measuring stick for where they boys are at and what they need to prepare for the upcoming season. By being together in the off-season they grow and learn as a team,” McCaffrey said.

Successful wrestling contingents often are only as good as their team effort. An effort on the scale of the past four months seems to bode well for the Kaneland crew.

“This was due to an outstanding effort and constant communication. It was awesome,” Jahns said.

Closest to the Pin


KHS wrestling coach Monty Jahns tees off during the Kaneland Boys Basketball Program 3rd Annual Golf Outing, which was held on Saturday at Bliss Creek Golf Club in Sugar Grove. The golf outing has been developed to bring together the Kaneland community, athletes, parents, alumni and community businesses. The fundraiser raised money for uniforms, equipment and fees for summer leagues and shootouts. Photo by Patti Wilk

Wrestling sends seven to Sterling Sectional

Photo: Sonny Horn won his first match with a pin against Burlington Central during the IHSA DeKalb Regional on Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—When it comes time for postseason wrestling, a preferred mentality is “survive and advance.”

For KHS, it’s seven of its grapplers that put that mode of thinking to use and will live to pin another day.

At Saturday’s DeKalb Regional, the 2A grouping saw Kaneland finish third with 119 points, thanks to a couple of regional crowns to go along with second- and third-place finishes.

Sycamore’s 178-point total was king of the regional, allowing a sectional berth, while DeKalb was second with 145.5 points.

Rounding out the top five in the eight-team regional were Burlington Central with 109 and Belvidere North with 85 points of its own.

The two Knights claiming regional titles were heavyweight Zach Theis and 138-pound entry Dan Goress.

For Kaneland, the junior Theis continued Kaneland heavyweight fortune staked by graduate Jimmy Boyle and won the group with a pinfall in four minutes, 37 seconds over Rockford East’s Michael Estergard.

“Zach and Jimmy have a similar wrestling style,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “Theis is a bit bigger, about four inches taller and there’s not much difference in their footwork.”

Meanwhile, Goress, a junior, snagged his second consecutive regional nod with a 12-3 major decision victory over DeKalb senior Jacob Sommer in the final.

In the 220-pound final, senior Ben Kovalick lost to Sycamore’s Matt Copple in :43, but still moves on to Saturday’s action.

Stephen Gust secured a third-place finish in the 106-pound category after edging Belvidere’s Alex Ramirez by a 2-1 decision.

Teammate Connor Williams’ third place came as a result of a 7-5 win over Belvidere North’s Psalm Fambro in the 113-pound clash.

KHS 126-pound cornerstone Esai Ponce continued his strong season with a third-place win over Burlington Central’s Jon Wright by pinfall in 2:57.

Sonny Horn punched his ticket to Sterling, Ill., with a 12-4 major decision win to earn third place over Sycamore’s Zach Munro.

The next stop for Kaneland is the Sterling Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 11.

It pays to pin: Kaneland grapplers edge Batavia

Photo: Knight Esai Ponce tries to leverage Batavia’s Kamran Khamissi during Friday’s 31-30 mat win. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A roller coaster of emotions set upon the Kaneland wrestling mat at the end of Friday evening’s clash between the Knights and Batavia.

But with the tiebreaker rule of most pins going the way of the black-and-white, Kaneland’s trajectory toward postseason fortune is on a straight line.

Despite Batavia getting a pin to end competition and tie matters at 30 apiece, the pin edge went to Kaneland, giving the Knights a 31-30 win.

The regular season ended on a high note and closed the dual meet mark for KHS at 11-12, an improvement over a year ago.

Coach Monty Jahns will take all the good news he can get, with Kaneland and Batavia always good for action.

“I’m looking for big things, and the kids are wrestling well. Our goal is to win, but we see Sycamore again in a week and other teams we’ve met, and they’re tough,” Jahns said.

Batavia went out to an early 24-4 lead before Kaneland scored 26 straight points.

The 106-pound match went Stephen Gust’s way via technical fall over Matt Patton. Teammate Connor Williams handled business in the 113-pound match by an 8-6 tally.

Esai Ponce won his 126-pound match over Kamran Khamissi in 3:10, but it could have easily gone Batavia’s way had Ponce not cleverly kept his balance.

“A lot of the times, it’s not just one move it comes down to,” Ponce said. “If one move doesn’t work, you have to keep going.”

Sonny Horn won the 132-pound match by 10-6 decision, and teammate Dan Goress won his 138-pound match by 9-4 clip.

Senior cornerstone Ben Kovalick won a major decision over Connor McKeehan 10-0 in the 220-pound match.

KHS now heads to the DeKalb individual regional on Saturday, Feb. 4. Teams accompanying Kaneland are Belvidere, Belvidere North, Burlington Central, DeKalb, Boylan Catholic of Rockford, Rockford East and Sycamore.

Kaneland wrestlers own Flott Invite

Photo: Senior Ben Kovalick goes for the win in his match on Friday. Kaneland emerged with a 38-36 dual win in NIB-12 action.
Photo by Patti Wilk

KHS surge highlighted by 1st place, plus win vs. Morris
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A recent seasonal trend with Kaneland wrestling is an uphill climb at first, but once Kaneland gets tournaments under its belt and conference season hits the homestretch, things look better.

It’s no different this year.

A marquee Friday evening matchup against rival Morris yielded a close 38-36 win over the Redskins, while Saturday’s annual Margaret Flott Memorial Tournament showed a first-place effort for the Knights, their third in a row for the gathering.

The Knights have now eclipsed last year’s dual win total, and sit at 10-12, with the IHSA Class 2A Regional taking place in just over two weeks.

“To have seven wrestlers even get into the finals and having every one of them win says a lot about their drive and determination at this point in the season,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said.

Against the Redskins, Luke Kreiter earned a decision victory over Morris’ AJ Vota by a 9-7 clip.

Kaneland’s Esai Ponce stuck a pin in :57 over Brandon Walker. Teammate Dan Goress took the 138-pound matchup with a 21-6 technical fall.

In the 152-pound meeting, Knight Zach Russell pinned Kyle Abney in 3:03, and 170-pounder Austin Brummel won his matchup via 3:21 pinfall.

Ben Kovalick staked his claim to the 220-pound category with a 1:20 pin on Dalton Ness, while Zach Theis conquered John Guistat in 46 seconds for the heavyweight bragging rights.

The Flott Memorial Tournament, hosted by Kaneland, provided some home mat advantage in the form of seven first places and a 163-point total for the Knights, just four points better than Burlington Central. Addison Trail took third with 143 points in the 10-team clash.

Sonny Horn defeated Rochelle’s Josh Ankeny in overtime, 6-4, then beat Larkin’s Joshua Brooks in a 4:12 tech fall before beating BC’s Jordan Fillmore in a 16-4 major decision for the 132-pound crown.

Goress beat BC’s Andrew Brown in 1:44, beat Addison Trail’s Koani Smith in a technical fall outcome and beat Prairie Central’s Evan Bahler in an 8-3 meeting for the 138-pound nod.

Knight Steven Hlatko was declared champion of the 195-pound group after beating Rochelle’s Tyler Voegler, 5-1, and beating Ottawa’s Alex Fuentes, 7-2.

Kovalick shelved Ottawa’s Cyrano Rayfield in 1:48 and Rochelle’s Logan Sutton in a 4-2 final.

Theis beat Marian Central Catholic’s Scott Taylor in 4:59 and Devontate Joshua of Larkin with :14 left in regulation before handling Danny Robles of Addison Trail in 1:10 in finals action.

Connor Williams took the 113-pound mantle with a 3:32 fall over Larkin’s Tyler Vonnessen and a 13-8 win over Addison Trail’s Jake Plekavic.

Ponce took the 126-pound grouping by shutting out Rochelle’s Joe Goshko 5-0, and then outlasting Prairie Central’s Ben Traub, 6-2.

Leadership key for KHS wrestling roster

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s no small task; to ask a group of grapplers to perform after losing graduates like State-goers Jimmy Boyle and Kyle Davidson of a year ago.

With Knight wrestlers, intangibles they provided will live on in the current crop.

Despite finishing 11-15 in a dual setting, Kaneland had a prolific regional meet, and took what the Class of 2011 left it to heart.

“(Davidson and Boyle) were state qualifiers and four-year varsity starters,” fourth-year KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “Their leadership will be missed, however their tenacity and dedication was taken in by the underclassmen. We expect senior Ben Kovalick to provide solid leadership this year.”

Kovalick competed at 215 pounds a year ago.

“I think Kovalick will lead the Knights this season. Ben is a consistent hard worker that is very coachable,” Jahns said.

Also looking to make hay on the mat are returnees Esai Ponce and Dan Goress, both of whom provided lifts a year ago in the lighter weight classes. Ponce, a junior, was at 119, while classmate Goress excelled at 130 and was one of five Knights to take home regional crowns a year ago.

The Knights are solidifying lineup questions due to the prolonged football quest, but Jahns still has much to be encouraged about.

“This group has an appreciation for the technical skills and is willing to put in extra time to be well conditioned. We’re going to be pretty thin with our line-up for the next week or so, but when all our football players return, I expect the intensity in the practice room to explode,” Jahns said.

Kaneland would love to sync up regular season success with the postseason triumphs, and KHS will need to compete at a high level at duals, and continue the good fortunes at weekend tournaments.

“I think we will just be lacking varsity experience at several weight classes, and that may be difficult to overcome in a dual-meet setting. For tournaments, we’ll have enough very good wrestlers that place high and earn the points needed to compete in a tournament setting,” Jahns said.

KHS wrestlers execute winning combination, take 2nd place at regional

Photo: Kaneland’s Cody McGinnis (160 lbs) executes a take-down during the IHSA Class 2A Regional at Sycamore on Saturday. McGinnis won this match against Wheaton Academy. Photo by John DiDonna

SYCAMORE—When KHS wrestling coach Monty Jahns mentioned that his team had an eye on the postseason and may be better equipped for tournament settings, he wasn’t kidding.

Despite only nine wins in dual meet competition, the Knights wrestling roster stepped up its collective game just in time. A 205-point output at the IHSA Class 2A Sycamore Regional on Saturday was good for second place in the eight-team regional.

Kaneland advanced 11 out of 14 wrestlers to Saturday, Feb. 12, and the Rochelle Sectional.

Sycamore, with a total of 231.5, took the regional. After Kaneland, Rochelle finished third with 113 points, and Burlington Central finished fourth with 104 points. Dixon (76), Hampshire (67), Freeport (43.5) and Wheaton Academy (25) rounded out the bottom four.

Regional champs for Kaneland began with 103-pound Stephen Gust, who beat Hampshire’s Alex Feltz in a 3-1 encounter to take the title.

Sonny Horn, at 125-pounds, beat Hampshire’s Tyler Espino in the final by a 3-2 score. Teammate Dan Goress took the 130-pound final over Dixon’s Kylain Lally by pinfall in 1:52.

Nick Michels, at 171-pounds, won the grouping thanks to a 5-3 overtime win over Sycamore’s Michael Madden.

Jimmy Boyle rounded out the first-place finishes with a 4:48 pin of Rochelle’s Nate Rodefelt.

Other championship finalists included Esai Ponce at 119 pounds, who was defeated by Christopher Kerwin of Sycamore, 7-3. Chris Sabal made it to the 145-pound final, where he lost to Steven Lalowski of Sycamore in 1:03. Keagan Mattes rode to the finals but lost to Sycamore’s Jake Davis in 3:52.

Cody McGinnis, at 160-pounds, beat Rochelle’s Kane Rodrigue, 3-2, to finish in third. Teammate Ben Kovalick beat Rochelle’s Logan Sutton by 15-2 final.

Andrew Essex also finished fourth in 140-pound action.

Kaneland wrestling earns fourth at NIB-12 showcase

Photo: Keagan Mattes took third place to help the Knight effort on Saturday. Kaneland took fourth as a team thanks in large part to Mattes’ performance in the 189-pound group. Photo by Mary Herra

ROCHELLE—Like KHS coach Monty Jahns said a week ago, Kaneland wrestling might just be a better tournament team than a dual team at this point.

That was put into action with the Knight grapplers leaving the Rochelle mats with a top-third finish at the first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII tournament.

With 161 points, Kaneland earned fourth out of 12 teams. Sterling hit a total of 219, edging Sycamore by a half-point. DeKalb was third with 170.5 points, ahead of KHS.

Yorkville was fifth at 154, followed by Morris at 125.5.

Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Dixon , Rochelle, Ottawa and Streator rounded out the rest of the lineup.

The five top finishers for the Knights have been proven stalwarts through the campaign thus far.

Dan Goress took home the championship for 130, thanks to a 12-5 decision over DeKalb’s Evan Jones.

Goress went to the final after a 10-6 win over Sterling’s Dylan Devers.

In the 152-pound bracket, Kyle Davidson lost a 14-4 major decision to Sterling’s Stevie Dewitt. Davidson reached the final with an 8-2 win over DeKalb’s Robbie Miller and a previous pin over Rochelle’s Bradley Mendez in two minutes, 11 seconds.

At 215, Ben Kovalick got to the finals by pinning DeKalb’s Alex Roach in 3:09 and Sycamore’s Matt Copple in 2:03, before losing to Sterling’s George Canales by 12-8 decision.

Third-place nods were gathered by heavyweight Jimmy Boyle and Keagan Mattes in the 189 group.

Boyle beat Rochelle’s Nate Rodefelt by 1-0 decision and Sterling’s Curtis Lilly in the third-place match, 3-0.

Mattes went to the third-place match by beating DeKalb’s Cullen Banta , 8-2, and solved Sycamore’s Jacob Davis in an 8-4 affair.

Davidson, Boyle key in KHS winning own Flott Invite

Photo: Jimmy Boyle takes care of business during the Flott Invite held at KHS on Saturday. Boyle ended the tournament as 285-pound champ. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—While the Knights sit with a dual record they’d no doubt like to improve, gatherings like the annual Margaret Flott Memorial Tournament hosted by KHS do a nice job of getting headed in the right direction.

On the strength of two first places, five second places and a third place, KHS had a winning total of 203.5 team points, besting Marengo’s 148.65 and Prairie Central’s 129.

Kaneland also got a Northern Illinois Big XII dual in and fell to Morris, 33-21, on Thursday.

The Knights’ 9-15 mark will not be rested on, according to KHS coach Monty Jahns.

“We have an eye on postseason, and not as bad a team as our record shows,” Jahns said. “It’s hard to come back from injuries we’ve had, but we’re probably a better tournament team than a dual meet team.”

In the 103-pound group, Steve Gust took a 15-0 technical fall from Cory Graham to get into the final, and lost the final of Elgin’s Nathan Andresen in an 8-4 decision.

At 130 pounds, Dan Gorress took care of Addison Trail’s Eric Feliciano with a 6-4 decision before losing to St. Joe’s Bryant Roby in the final by 1-0 decision.

At 140 pounds, Mark Southern beat Burlington Central’s Brad Roberts in 62 seconds but lost to Prairie Central’s Joey Reis by a 13-11 count to advance to the final.

Kyle Davidson emerged from Saturday as 152-pound titleholder after wins over Addison Trail’s Silvestre Flores (:30 fall), Marian Central Catholic’s Joe Klinger (4:20 fall) and Marengo’s Sam Klenske (14-3 major decision).

“At this weight class, every kid can be great, real strong and quick,” Davidson said.

Nick Michels made it into the 171-pound final by beating St. Joe’s Adam Goetz in 4:50, but lost the final to Marengo’s Jon Goerke.

Michels credits conditioning in helping him get through the longer matches.

“We have one of the best conditioned teams around. Our coach really stresses it, and I know I can get that takedown in the last period,” Michels said.

In 189-pound acton, Keagan Mattes took care of BC’s Brent Sunderlage in an 8-5 encounter, but lost to champ Jared Koch of Marian by 2:55 pinfall.

Ben Kovalick advanced to the 215-pound final by pinning Marengo’s Andrei Doughtery in three minutes flat, but lost the final in overtime, 3-2, to St. Joe’s Malcolm Watson.

Kaneland’s Jimmy Boyle took home the 285-pound honor by pinning Marengo’s Manny Macias in 5:31 and outlasting St. Joe’s Jaleel Johnson 2-1.

Kaneland now gears up for the Northern Illinois Big XII meet at Rochelle High School on Saturday, Jan. 22.

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.”

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

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 top Waubonsie Valley to open Flavin Invite

by Mike Slodki
DEKALB—Kaneland got its first dual out of the way, in a big way.

Going out to a big lead against Aurora’s Waubonsie Valley at the 11th annual Don Flavin Invite in DeKalb, the Knight grapplers took home a 42-24 win to improve to 13-3 in dual action thus far.

Finishing second in Pool B, the Knights await the winner of Pool C, either Naperville North, York, Woodstock or Mascoutah for Wednesday action.

Afternoon results were unavailable as of press time.

Against the Warriors, Deven Scholl earned a pin for a 24-9 lead, while WV crawled back into the dual with wins in the 130, 135 and 140 pound matches. Kyle Davidson nabbed a pin on a reversal while on the mat with :52 left in round 2 to go up 30-19.

“Going out there, I knew I had to get six,” Davidson said. “I needed to step up and I toned it down a bit and did the basics.”

Later, Nick Michels earned a pin at 171 pounds for a the final tally.

“The pins definitely helped us out,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “We started out a little bit slow which is what happened two Saturdays ago. I think we’re awake now and we’re going to wrestling with a little more aggression.”

The Knights go to Woodstock on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010 along with Mundelein and Richmond-Burton.

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

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

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.

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 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.

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.