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.