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.