By Bob Balgemann


Harlem, Hononegah and Freeport. Those teams typically battle for first place in NIC-10 boys and girls bowling standings.

Their competitors run into one another during the summer, too, and this year they share the honor of being named to the Rockford USBC Youth all-star teams.

And along the way, they had head-to-head meetings as well.

An busy summer saw Harlem’s Becca Hagerman, an incoming sophomore, and Jake Nimtz, who will be a senior this fall, being named Rockford USBC Bowlers of the Year. And they also won a Rockford tournament held in July at Forest Hills Lanes and The Cherry Bowl.

At the tournament Becca defeated Brigitte Jacobs of Freeport in a best of three series, taking the third game, while Jake did the same thing against Brandon Mooney from Hononegah.

Rockford USBC Bowlers of the Year are chosen in this way. During the regular high school season area bowlers compile a list of their single games over 230 and their three-game series over 650.

The two with the most points are bowlers of the year, with those in second, third, fourth and fifth places joining the champion on the all-star team.

The girls’ all-star team consisted of Becca along with Harlem teammates Mylee McCracken and Stephanie Richards, and Freeport competitors Montana Hughes and Bridgitte.

Jake led the boys’ all-star team that also included teammates Austin Purkeypile, a 2014 graduate of Harlem, along with another incoming Harlem senior, Dawson Jones. Brandon and Nick Sommer from Hononegah rounded out the team.

Becca and Jake were the No. 1 qualifiers for the stepladder tournament, played at Forest Hills Lanes and The Cherry Bowl.

She rolled single games of 225, 1890, 245, 212, 209 and 192 at Forest Hills, along with 243, 207, 192, 244, 256 and 161 at Cherry Bowl. Jake’s games were 240, 245, 246, 227, 248 and 276 at Forest Hills Lanes; 247, 258, 207, 245, 208 and 248 at Cherry Bowl.

In the tournament sometimes it was necessary to compete against a current or former teammate.

That happened to Harlem’s Skylar Russo-Perry, who graduated last spring, in an opening match against 2014 graduate Lindsey Mason, which she won, 223 to 189. Skylar then defeated Stephanie Richards, a 2015-16 teammate.

Freeport’s Brigitte made it to the finals by bowling a 284 in her win over Skylar. But Brigitte was no match for Becca, losing two of three in the championship encounter.

Dawson Jones was a freshman when Austin Purkeypile last bowled for the Huskies and the two of them met in the tournament’s opening round, with Dawson prevailing by a scant 206-203.

He next took on a current teammate, incoming junior Kyler Gerl, and won another close match, 223-214. But in the semi-finals he lost to Hononegah’s Mooney.

Jake took care of his Indian rival by winning the decisive third game in their best of three series for the championship.

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