Diddell wins conference crown
Team places sixth
STERLING, ILL.—Sterling High School housed quite the collection of wrestling talent on Saturday, as Kaneland found out firsthand.
Earning some individual glory and having to deal with capable talent in both Northern Illinois Big XII divisions, the Kaneland Knights wrestling squad finished in sixth place with 112.5 team points.
The kings of the conference turned out to be Yorkville with a total of 237 points, followed by Geneseo with 219.5. Rounding out the top five schools were DeKalb at 180, Sycamore at 127.5 and LaSalle-Peru at 120. After Kaneland, Sterling finished seventh with a 110 score, and Ottawa took eighth at 96. Morris, Rochelle and soon-departing Dixon and Streator completed the lineup with 67, 60.5, 37 and 21, respectively.
A year ago, Kaneland finished fifth at the NIB-12 meet in Sycamore.
The Knights saw one of their own get to the first-place promised land, as 285-pound juggernaut Justin Diddell owned his weight class, much like graduate Dan Goress did a year ago at 145.
Austin Parks managed a third-place finish in the 160-pound category, and teammates Matthew Redman (126) and Nick Mish (106) took fourth-places for their afternoon effort.
Other KHS action featured Adam Mish (113) managing a fifth, while Zach Parker (170) and Riley Vanik (145) took sixth places.
For Diddell, action began with a win over L-P foe Jon Hewitt in 31 seconds, and a semifinal win over Geneseo’s Nick Verbeck in 3:49. In the heavyweight final, DeKalb’s Alex Roach fell victim to a Diddell pinfall in 3:21.
In the 160-pound landscape, Parks began with a win over L-P rival Mike Milasuski by 1:02 fall before falling to Yorkville Fox Tyler Wilkinson in 2:51. Parks recovered in the consolation semi by beating Sycamore’s Michael Beaudoin in 2:30 before acing Cole Hunzeker of Geneseo in the third-place match by a final of 7-2.
Redman beat Logan Mathey of Sycamore, 5-2 to kick things off, before losing to Geneseo’s Hunter Grau by 20-5 count. In the consolation semifinal, Redman recovered sufficiently to beat Dixon’s Jake Johnson by 8-0 major decision. In the third-place match, Redman fell to DeKalb foe Izaiah Webb, 15-13.
Nick Mish began the day with a loss to Geneseo’s Tumbo Tumbarello by 8-4 count, and then regained composure by beating Morris’ Tony Menozi in 5:11. Moving on to the consolation semi, Mish beat Sterling host Tyrone Long in :41 before losing to Yorkville’s Hunter Vester by 4-0 count.
Ahead for the Knight roster is the traditional end-of-regular season tussle with former conference rival Batavia in the Bulldogs’ newly refurbished fieldhouse on Friday, Jan. 31.
Photos by Patti Wilk: