CHAMPAIGN – Kaneland and Marmion shared the pair of Class 2A mats at past IHSA state wrestling tournaments before the Cadets bumped up to 3A this season.
Today, the Knights and Cadets are re-united in this column as the class of Kane County Chronicle-area competitors at the University of Illinois’ Assembly Hall.
Here’s a look at a few follow-up tidbits from state wrestling weekend:
Team room: Marmion hopes to return to the Interstate 74 corridor as part of the dual team state tournament Saturday at Bloomington’s U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
Individual state champions Johnny Jimenez (120 pounds) and George Fisher (132) will lead the Cadets into tonight’s Hinsdale South Sectional, where a victory against St. Rita would give Marmion one of eight berths at team state.
Marmion advanced 13 athletes from regionals to sectionals and seven from sectionals to state, helping the Cadets remain focused on a bonus state series this month.
“We’re going to smile and we’re going to be happy for the next few hours,” Cadets coach Ryan Cumbee said Saturday night. “And then [Sunday] morning, we take the bus right back to practice. And it’s time to lose weight again, and it’s time to get serious, and it’s time to win a team state title. Individual titles are great, but team state titles are better, because you can celebrate with everybody. That’s what we’re gunning for.”
He thrilled Kenny: Kaneland senior 145-pounder Dan Goress tangled with Knights assistant Jeremy Kenny in the mat room throughout the season. A former Kaneland state qualifier at 171 pounds, Kenny challenged Goress in the early going before Goress routinely got the better of their encounters en route to the 2A crown.
“At the beginning of the season, I couldn’t deal with it. It was very overwhelming for me, but toward the end of the year, I think it was the opposite for him,” Goress said. “I don’t think he could handle it anymore physically. ... We couldn’t do anything else, because I was beating him.”
Kenny, in his sixth season at his alma mater, grinned and agreed.
“I had the weight advantage on him significantly at the beginning of the year. I wanted to frustrate him. I know the kid. I’ve been working with him for four years and trying to figure out the best way to coach him,” Kenny said. “This year, I wrestled him. I didn’t try to overwhelm him and stuff, I just wrestled him.
“Every single day we worked on stuff, he started listening nonstop, picked up on stuff. We kind of butted heads sometimes. I yelled at him sometimes. He yelled at me sometimes. And what he said is absolutely true. I could beat him at the beginning of the year. This week, up to this tournament, I couldn’t beat him anymore. I knew he was ready to go.”
Move it: Northside coaches approached Kaneland coach Monty Jahns and Kenny moments after Knights senior 285-pounder Zach Theis won by a fall against the Mustangs’ Ben Mauk-O’Connor in the fifth-place bout.
Their message to Jahns and Kenny: They had told Mauk-O’Connor to beware of the very move with which Theis won the match, his cradle.
“I didn’t do it as much this year as last year, but just if it’s there, I’m going to go for it, because it’s a good and solid move and I can lock it up, usually,” Theis said.
Theis cited his “long arms and good grip” as keys to the cradle. He’ll be able to use just one of those attributes as an offensive lineman bound for the Carroll University (Wis.) football program.
• Kevin Druley is a sports writer for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.