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Host Kaneland may have only filled 11 of 14 weight classes in its 10-team tournament on Saturday, but those 11 wrestlers piled up the points for coach Monty Jahns.
Kaneland won the team title by a wide margin, 227-156 over second-place Elgin. Prairie Central was third and Ottawa finished fourth. Despite struggling to fill a dual lineup all season, the Knights are ranked No. 18 in Class 2A by Illinois Best Weekly.
“As I’ve said for the past two years now, we’re a better tournament team than a dual meet team,” Jahns said. “To win the tournament with only 11 scoring wrestlers showed our true talent level.
“The boys have worked extremely hard all year long and our .500 record in dual meet competition doesn’t indicate the ability of our wrestlers.”
Connor Williams (120), Esai Ponce (132), Sonny Horn (138), Dan Goress (145) and Zach Theis (285) all became two-time Margaret Flott Tournament champions on Saturday. Zach Russell (160) rounded out the Knights’ field of tournament champions.
“I was very excited for Zach,” Jahns said. “He came out with a focused, aggressive attack that led him to his first varsity championship.”
The Knights also got seconds from Stephen Gust (113) and Dane Goodenough (126) and a third from Adam Mish (106). The Knights will compete Saturday in the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference tournament at Sycamore.
“I’m very proud of their individual efforts, and we hope to avenge some previous dual meet conference losses on Saturday,” Jahns said.
Sandwich sixth at Mahomet-Seymour
Sandwich placed sixth at Saturday’s 22-team Mahomet-Seymour tournament with seven wrestlers winning medals, including the tournament’s runner-up at 195 pounds in Tyler Sebby (24-4).
Third-seeded Sebby beat second-seeded Toby Rivera of Champaign Central before losing by decision on the title mat to top-seeded Ryan Berg of Naperville Central.
“Tyler keeps trucking along, mowing down his opponents only losing to top-ranked wrestlers,” Sandwich coach Josh McCarty said.
Sebby is currently ranked 5th in Class 2A.
The Indians’ Jesse Wood (120) and Rigo Fraire (145) finished fourth in their divisions, while Dan Emma (113), Patrick Crothers (138), Erik Schwartz (182) and Kyle Eighner (220) all placed sixth on the day.
“Wood lost a close, two-point decision against (Byron’s) Nelson Baker, who was last year’s Class 1A state champion, and (Emma) is just hard-nosed,” McCarty said. “He could surprise anyone overlooking him during the state tournament.”
Sandwich is ranked No. 16 in Class 2A and has posted a 17-3 record in dual meets heading into Thursday’s Interstate 8 Conference dual meet against Wilmington. The I-8 Conference tournament is Saturday at Reed-Custer.