TEAMS TO WATCH
Kaneland returns a strong haul of seniors that includes 2012 state qualifiers Dan Goress (138 pounds) Stephen Gust (106) and Esai Ponce (126). “Even the young guys, they’re excited to learn to train and be a part of the team,” Goress said. “The older guys, it’s our last year, so we’ve got to go out with a bang. So every practice, we’re putting everything we have into it.”
New coach Ryan Cumbee takes over a team that placed four wrestlers at last season’s 2A state meet. As the Cadets prepare to make the climb to 3A, they’re well-stocked with veterans such as two-time defending state champion Johnny Jimenez (120) and an emerging freshman corps that includes AJ Jaffe (113) and Riley DeMoss (152).
St. Charles East
Two-time St. Charles High state champion Jason Potter happily has grabbed the reins of a veteran team that also will start two freshmen. “It’s great to be back in black and orange and to be a Saint again,” said Potter, who comes to his alma mater from Leyden. “The first two weeks of practice, we’ve all been champing at the bit to get after it.”
WRESTLERS TO WATCH
Marmion, So., 106
Third at 106 in 2A during his prep debut, Bosco shined during preseason nationals and enters the season with high expectations.
St. Charles East, Sr., 170
After advancing to a sectional consolation quarterfinal that put him on the cusp of the state meet as a junior, Carlson is eager to take the next step.
Marmion, Sr., 132
Fisher, of St. Charles, recently committed to Michigan. He has finished no worse than second in state in the past two seasons.
Marmion, Sr., 285
Fritz rounded out the Cadets’ haul of eight state qualifiers last season. As a senior, he’s chiseled himself into top shape again as he eyes a repeat run.
Kaneland, Sr., 138
One of nine Knights seniors with extensive experience, Goress helps guide a Kaneland team with individual and team aspirations in the 2A state series.
Marmion, Jr., 120
The St. Charles resident’s pair of state championships are just scratching the surface. Jimenez has not lost to competition from Illinois in his first two high school seasons.
Geneva, Sr., 120
A returning state qualifier, Martens moved up a weight class and also has embraced a growing leadership role on a deep team.
St. Charles North, Sr., 220
Pasholk brings a unique aggressiveness to the mat, as he also plays both ways in football and competes for club rugby. “He’s a tough nut,” North coach Pete McNamara said. “He’s the real deal.”
Batavia, Sr., 126
Fully recovered after suffering a broken hand during a January tournament, Shump isn’t at a loss for confidence. “Basically, I came back, and I came back strong,” he said.
Kaneland, Sr., 285
Theis recently was named an IHSA all-state offensive lineman. He’d be happy to duplicate his football success on the mat.
St. Charles East, Jr., 132
Vela will swing between 132 and 138 during the early season for a team that’s deep in the middle. The goal: returning to the form of his fourth-place state finish as a freshman.
Batavia, Sr., 195
Another wrestling-football-rugby triple threat, Watson embraced an arduous offseason training regimen after an early postseason exit last winter.
– Kevin Druley