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.