Conference go-around continues now with the SCC
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Kaneland's Zach Theis, pictured wrestling Geneva's Jake Anderson, is headed to state with two teammates after just missing last year.
Brian Hill | Staff Photographer
It's been a twisty ride on the conference-go-round.
Daily Herald sports writer Kevin Schmit has done an excellent job keeping pace on conference realignments, the wheelings and dealings in the DuPage Valley, Upstate Eight and, for a while there, Metro Suburban conferences.
On a smaller scale, another local conference may see tweaks.
A meeting Tuesday of Suburban Christian Conference athletic directors continued a discussion of potential changes to the SCC Blue and Gold divisions starting with the 2014-15 school year.
The idea initially was to form permanent divisions for football only, based on geography. Larger schools such as Montini and St. Francis would anchor one division, Marmion and Marian Central the other.
Other sports would either align by enrollment or remain the same ó which is to say slight shifts within each sport, boys and girls alike, based on divisional finishes. It's enough to confuse even the coaches, let alone mopes like this writer.
There is consideration of incorporating geographic design into all sports, not just football. There also is continuing discussion regarding alignment based on enrollment, Montini athletic director Bob Landi said Tuesday.
A vote on the issue was planned for Tuesday's SCC athletic directors' meeting but Landi said instead the directors were charged to return to their respective schools for more consultation with their principals and coaches. Further discussion will take place at another ADs meeting March 6 at Montini.
Over in the Interstate Eight Conference, last week Lisle athletic director Dan Dillard said that effective in 2014-15 Dwight is leaving the 12-team association for membership into the Sangamon Valley Conference. That creates a void to be filled in a conference with Large and Small divisions of six teams apiece.
As the dominoes fall, it appears that after the 2013-14 academic year Streator will leave the Northern Illinois Big 12 West, the same parent conference Kaneland is part of in the East, to join the I8.
A Tuesday meeting of Interstate Eight athletic directors at Coal City did not produce an invitation to Streator. Thursday, however, Streator athletic director Kevin Wargo emailed stating: "We have accepted an invitation to the Interstate Eight Conference pending board approval next Tuesday."
So it continues.
Catching up with Zach Theis
A two-year varsity wrestler for Kaneland, 6-foot-2, 280-pound senior Zach Theis on Thursday entered the Class 2A state wrestling individual finals with a 32-6 record at 285-pounds. It's a triumph after he lost in wrestlebacks as a junior with a downstate berth on the line. Twice all-conference in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East, at the Rochelle sectional he beat nemesis Curtis Lilly of Sterling to get to Champaign along with Knights Esai Ponce and Dan Goress. Born in DeKalb, Theis and sister Hannah, a Kaneland sophomore, moved with parents Deborah and Scott to Elburn. To keep his conditioning for football, Zach started wrestling at since-closed Kaneland Middle School ó his mother works in the front office of the newer Harter Middle School. A two-year starting left tackle on the Knights' varsity football team, last season Theis was named the conference's offensive MVP, the first time Knights head coach Tom Fedderly recalled an offensive linemen receiving that award in his 19 years in the program. "A mauler" is how Fedderly described this Class 5A Illinois Football Coaches Association All-State selection, who graded out at 93 percent execution with 50 pancake blocks last season.
Q: Zach, how'd you feel when you heard you were named conference MVP?
A: When they said it, it was like the biggest shock ever. I'd never think that with all the great players in our conference on the offensive side they'd pick an offensive lineman. But with all the respect, and that the coaches picked me, it was a real good feeling.
Q: The equivalent of a pancake block in football must be a pin in wrestling. What's it like to pin someone?
A: It's awesome. Just knowing that you beat the kid. I think it's the most insulting way to lose, I guess. Like, if you get pinned it's the worst. It's bad. You just don't want to get pinned, but it's a pretty good feeling when you can beat someone in that way.
Q: What are your strengths on the mat?
A: I don't have one thing in specific. I just try to stay well-rounded so I don't have any weaknesses. I don't think there's any one or two things I'm the best at. If there's anything I'm not good at, I'll work on it after the meet.
Q: Such as?
A: On the bottom a little bit. I've worked for a while on standups, worked on getting off the bottom.
Q: Do you favor wrestling or football?
A: I like how when you win a match it's all about what you did, and what you did in practice. I feel like it's more gratifying than in football ... Both of them are great to win, but when you win in wrestling and you get your hand raised you know it's about what you did.
Q: On the other hand, what do you like about football?
A: The practices aren't the best thing but just that when you're out there on that Friday night, when you step on the field, the obstacles or whatever ó going against that one guy, seeing if you can beat that one guy every snap of the ball.
Q: What do you think about the Knights football program?
A: It's a great place to play. There's nowhere else in the conference I'd want to be or be playing football for. We win a lot, but it's not just that. We have good players, but it's the work ethic in practice. It's a good thing to be a Kaneland football player.
Q: You followed Kaneland graduate Jimmy Boyle at 285 pounds on the wrestling team, but did you follow in his footsteps working at the Randall 15 movie theater?
Q: Do you, or did you have a job?
A: When it's nicer weather, when it was warm, I worked with a couple football guys (Blake Bradford and Ryan Lawrence) at a farmer's house in Geneva. We'd build pastures for him and we put up some stalls in the barn for their animals. It's more of a vegetable farm, so we harvested their vegetables.
Q: Did you like that?
A: It was good. We made good money and it's nice when you can work with your friends. And when you're done working you can see you accomplished something and have a good feeling after.
Q: What's your favorite pig-out food?
A: A good cheeseburger is always the thing. I'll have a cheeseburger wherever we go when I go out. You can't beat it.
Q: Speaking of can't be beat, what are your expectations at the state wrestling finals?
A: You try to win every match, but I'm just going one match at a time. I'm not looking too far ahead, and I'll be doing the best I can possibly do. I think the main thing is just going one match at a time.
Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1
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