1995-6 season: 18-3 first in the Suburban Prairie Conference - White.

1996-7 strengths: Experience from last year's great season.

1996-7 Weaknesses: A lot of dependence on freshman.

Coach Ray Epperson (seventh year) says: "I think we're shooting at staying above .500, but you never know with the young kids. Throwing a freshman in on the varsity is always tough. We also have a stronger schedule with Coal City, Montini, DeKalb and Downers Grove South."

1996-7 Kaneland Wrestling Schedule

Day Date Vs Time Location Results
Tue 11/26/96 Elgin Larkin 6:00 Elgin W 40-25
Sat 11/30/96 Dekalb, Downers Grove
South, Belvidere
1:00 Dekalb L vs Dekalb
L vs DG S
W vs Blvd
Tue 12/03/96 Burlington,
Aurora Central Catholic
5:30 Maple Park W vs ACC
W vs Burl
Thur 12/05/96 Yorkville, Coal City 5:30 Yorkville L 12-58
Sat 12/07/96 Coal City F/S Invitational 9:00 Coal City L 13-51
Tue 12/10/96 Oregon 6:00 Oregon L 15-53
Thur 12/12/96 Ridgewood 5:30 Norridge W 39-34
Fri 12/13/96 Reaper Classic 5:30 Plano 11th 16Teams
Sat 12/14/96 Kaneland Frosh Invitational 10:00 Maple Park 11th .
Thur 12/19/96 Lemont 5:30 Maple Park L 15-50
Fri 12/20/96 Batavia, Geneva 5:30 Batavia W 41-29
Fri 12/27/97 Dwight JV Tourn 9:30 Dwight L 24-47
Fri 1/03/97 Morris 5:30 Maple Park L 16-51
Tue 1/07/97 Ashton 5:30 Maple Park W 41-26
Thur 1/09/97 Westmont 5:30 Maple Park W 40-33
Sat 1/11/97 Polo Invitational 9:30 Polo 7th .
Sat 1/11/97 Batavia JV Tourn 9:30 Batavia . .
Fri 1/17/97 Evergreen Park 5:30 Evergreen
Cancel .
Sat 1/18/97 Batavia Tourn 9:00 Batavia . .
Thur 1/23/97 Elmwood Park 5:30 Maple Park W 52-14
Fri 1/24/95 Montini 5:30 Montine L 12-60
Sat 1/25/97 SPC Conference JV/Soph TBA Westmont . .
Sat 2/1/97 SPC Conference Varsity TBA Ridgewood . .
Sat 2/08/97 IHSA Regional TBA Oregon 2nd below


Kaneland edged Stillman Valley for second place in the Oregon Class A Regional meet 122-121. The Knights had championships from Chris Cornell (130), John Accardi (135) and Ryan West (160), a second place from Roy Gustafson (112) and third places from Manuel Guzman (152) and Jason Reyes (275).

Gustafson lost by only one point 6-5 to Tom Bottoms of Oregon in the championship match.

In addition, Conor Gibbons (103) lost in the third place match by a 9-3 decision, while Brian Melton (125) and Jason Harley (152) were pinned in third place matches.

Regional Finals

Oregon won 10 of 13 weight classes in the Class A Dual Meet championship over Kaneland winning 53-11, to advance to the sectionals. Winners for the Knights were Chris Cornell with a 9-5 victory over Josh Flaherty at 130-pounds, John Accardi with an 18-7 victory over Rich Folk at 135 and Jason Reyes with a 12-2 victory over Nate Winters at 275.

The State

Kaneland had two class A state grapplers, Roy Gustafson at 112 pounds and Ryan West at 160 pounds.

In the preliminary round Gustafson defeated Matt Hartman of Taylor Ridge 6-3, but then lost to 4-time state qualifier and now 2-time state champion Todd Combes of Coal City during the quarterfinals. This forced Gustafson to wrestlebacks and a second loss which eliminated him from further competition.

West in turn needed a pair of overtime victories to reach the semifinals. West defeated Lawrenceville's Nathan Hill 4-2 in his preliminary match, then edged Orion's Steve Burleson in the quarterfinals 3-1. West (9-2) earned the chance at the overtime victory when Burleson was penalized one point at the buzzer, creating a 1-1 tie. West then won the match with a quick takedown.

In the semifinals West lost to Adam Schaefe of Morrision 4-2 in his third straight overtime match. Then wrestling with an injury was eliminated in the wrestlebacks. However, West had secured the honor of being among the top six wrestlers in the state.

Kneeling left to right: Roy Gustafson (co-captain, most valuable player award and state qualifier), Chris Cornell, Conor Gibbons and Jason Reyes. Standing left to right: Pete Bloome, Manuael Guzman, Jaason Accardi (most improved award), Jeff Knoerzer, Josh Tapp and Ryan West (co-captain and state qualifier).
The Dave Osman most dedicated award went to Coach Jim Gussman, and Will Schmidt received the most valuable player at the lower level award.

Photo by Robin Harley and courtesy of The Elburn Herald

1996-7 Kaneland Wrestling Roster

1996-7 Kaneland Wrestling Roster
Connor Gibbons Freshman 101
Chad Porter Freshman 101
Josh Rogers Freshman 101
Ryan Kasper Sphomore 113
Clint Kramer Senior 116
Roy Gustafson Senior 121
Mike Jaeger Sophomore 124
Matt McGinnis Freshman 128
Brian Melton Sophomore 128
Mike Berringer Sophomore 130
Chris Cornell Freshman 134
Nick Poss Freshman 136
Manuel Guzman Sophomore 138
Jeff Knoerzer Junior 140
Pete Bloome Senior 144
Zach Augustine Senior 147
Marty Keifer Junior 150
Jason Harley Sophomore 153
Mike Lemmer Sophomore 153
Colin Nolan Freshman 153
Will Schmidt Freshman 163
Josh Tapp Junior 163
Ryan West Junior 170
Jesse Flanders Sophomore 174
Dan DeLeon Sophomore 180
Jason Reyes Junior 235

Photos by and compliments of Dan Anderson

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