Photo: Senior Zach Theis won a 3-0 decision against Sterling in the 285 pound weight class at the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional on Saturday. File Photo
Three wrestlers punch State ticket
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It wasn’t 1994 or 2012 levels, but the KHS wrestling squad will take the sectional output.
After sending its biggest State contingent in 18 years a year ago with four representatives, Kaneland continued its upward trajectory in a tough Class 2A Rochelle Sectional.
Esai Ponce (138 pounds) and Dan Goress (145 pounds) are going back to Champaign’s Assembly Hall on Thursday, Feb. 14, as was the style last year, and are joined by heavyweight entry Zach Theis under the guidance of coaches Monty Jahns, Jeremy Kenny and Mike Thorgesen.
Goress and Theis both captured their group’s title after the completion of action in Ogle County on Saturday.
Ponce, a senior, started his high school wrestling tenure in the old 103-pound category and knows his work is not complete just yet.
“At regionals, I thought I was wrestling pretty well,” Ponce said. “At sectionals, I felt like I could have done better, but I still wrestled pretty well. I only had one new opponent from the year in the third-place match and did pretty well against him. That could be an advantage in some cases.
While Rock Island’s Chase Wiggins and Pontiac’s Stephen Richardson claimed the top two spots, Ponce (33-5) earned a 7-0 win over Washington’s Randy Meneweather in the third-place match to end the weekend.
Ponce is scheduled to face Antioch’s Mike Gussarson, who ventures to Champaign with a record of 36-10.
Goress qualified at 138 pounds a year ago, and makes the trip again at a higher weight class.
Goress (38-3) toppled Rock Island junior Jean-Louis Sawadago by 5-2 count.
It almost didn’t matter who was placed in front of Goress this past weekend.
“To be perfectly honest, I didn’t look at anyone in the sectional or my bracket. I wrestled whoever they put in front of me. I just went out there and wrestled and had one goal,” Goress said.
Goress is scheduled to face Springfield entry Haratio Austin (34-7).
Theis, a 32-6 senior, battled fellow Northern Illinois Big XII grappler Curtis Lilly of Sterling in the final and bested the Golden Warrior by a 3-0 tally.
“It’s just getting back to basics and trying to keep the usual this week and going at it over and over,” Theis said. “I’m peaking right now, but there’s always more work to be done.”
Theis draws Chicago’s Lamar Johnson (19-6) of Crane Tech in the opening match.
The 2A tournament begins at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. Feb. 14.