Lawrence High’s Kevin Honas enters break with confidence after undefeated run in opening month
photo by: Nick Krug
Lawrence High junior wrestler Kevin Honas has a pair of top-five finishes during his first two trips to the state tournament, but he has every intention of climbing to the top of the podium come February.
After one month of the 2020-21 campaign, Honas has put himself in a good position to do just that. He’s won all five of his matches so far this season and is ranked No. 2 in the 120-pound weight class in Class 6A.
“I’m trying to win it all this year,” said Honas, who finished fifth at state as a freshman and placed fourth during his sophomore season. “I think I’ve put in tons of work in the offseason, and I’ve gone hard every day during the season. So I think I’m capable of winning it all.”
Honas, who went 33-10 as a sophomore a year ago, is off to a pretty strong start to accomplishing his goal of winning a state title.
Honas has walked away victorious in every match he’s competed in thus far. Only Washburn Rural senior Bishop Murray is ranked higher than Honas in the 120-pound weight class in Class 6A.
But the final meet before winter break was perhaps the most-important event for Honas.
In a triangular at Olathe North on Dec. 16, Honas earned a victory via a major decision (8-0) against Olathe North’s Jacob Vasquez. He also pinned Jantzen Borge of Manhattan High to enter the break undefeated on the year.
Honas said that performance gave him plenty of confidence entering the break, as he is attempting to stay in shape on his own.
“It was the first time this year that I saw good competition for me,” Honas said. “I did what I needed to do. We haven’t had that many opportunities to wrestle. That tournament was my best one so far.”
Honas said the key to a successful showing that day was that he didn’t overthink either match. Now in his third season wrestling at the high school level, Honas is much more comfortable at meets and has complete confidence in his ability.
“I think a big part of my game is my mental game,” Honas said. “I think I can beat anybody, so I just went out there confident. I think I wrestled to my full potential nearly every time I step on the mat. When your mental game is on or off, it can change the way matches go.”
A lot of that mentality comes from the amount of work Honas has put in to get to this point.
Honas wasn’t certain there would even be a season, but that didn’t stop him from preparing as hard as he ever has. He went to train in a gym in north Lawrence with his younger brother, Andrew Honas, three days per week this past summer.
There wasn’t one specific area that Kevin focused on, but rather fine tuning all parts of his game.
“Every day was a little bit different,” he said. “You want to polish up technique stuff, but also keep your cardio up and get stronger. Any workout is better than no workout.”
While this past summer was perhaps his biggest development yet, Honas has grown as a wrestler during his three years at Lawrence High.
He had to change up his style of wrestling because older wrestlers could overwhelm him with their physicality. He has since hit the weight room hard to add more strength to his game to become a well-rounded wrestler.
Most of all, Honas is as confident on the mat as he has ever been. That much was obvious during the first month, and it should continue as he prepares to put himself in the best position possible entering the postseason.
“I just need to show what I can do,” Honas said. “I think I’ve grown in a way that I can be more confident out there.”
Lawrence’s wrestling team will return to practice on Jan. 4. LHS will then have a dual at Baldwin on Wednesday, Jan. 13. That meet is slated to begin at 5 p.m.
Latest Class 6A rankings (via KWCA)
Team rankings: 1. Washburn Rural 2. Dodge City 3. Garden City 4. Manhattan 5. Derby 6. Olathe North 7. Free State 8. Junction City 9. Wichita West 10. Olathe South
Area wrestlers ranked in Class 6A boys
106-pound weight class: 2. Nolan Bradley, Free State, sophomore
113-pound weight class: 4. Eric Streeter, FS, sophomore; 5. Jack Elsten, LHS, sophomore
120-pound weight class: 2. Kevin Honas, LHS, junior
138-pound weight class: 2. Caleb Streeter, FS, senior
145-pound weight class: 4. Trey Medina, LHS, senior
160-pound weight class: 6. Laython Biddle, FS, freshman
170-pound weight class: 5. Matthew Marcum, FS, sophomore
220-pound weight class: 5. Cole Rorick, FS, senior