By Bob Balgemann, REPORTER

 The neighborhood sports rivalry between Harlem and Hononegah high schools has returned to the bowling alley. NIC-10 action has yet begun and, already, the Huskies and Indians have run into each other in major boys tournaments in the Chicago suburbs. They first met early in November at the Spartan Eliminator Tournament hosted by suburban Glenbrook North High School. There were more than 30 teams in the field. Hononegah won it; Harlem was second. For the Huskies, Senior Jake Nimtz recorded a six-game 1,486 pin series, good for First Place. He averaged 247 per game. Sophomore Noah Mandujano was 10th, Junior Kyle Gerl in 14th and Senior Collin Day in 15th. Next up was the Lake Park Invite with another suburban field, this one consisting of 24 teams. But it was three NIC-10 teams, Harlem, Hononegah and Rockford East, which finished 1-2-3. Gerl took second as an individual, with teammate Nimtz in sixth.

Speaking of the NIC-10, look for Harlem and Hononegah to once again be the primary challengers for the championship. Last year the Indians (9-0) were the Conference Champions, while the Huskies (8-1) came in second. Hononegah won the decisive dual match over Harlem late in the regular season. Auburn (7-2) supplanted Guilford and Freeport as the team most likely to challenge Harlem and Hononegah for first place. Hononegah also claimed the edge in the postseason, placing second at State, a mere 40 pins behind the champion. Harlem came in fourth. In 2015, Harlem’s boys came in fourth at State, with Hononegah in sixth. That year NIC-10 foe Guilford was the State Champion. The 2016-17 boys’ team will be led by three Seniors, whose play has spanned the past four years. They are Collin Day, Dawson Jones and Jake Nimtz. Senior Devon Lawrence is new to the varsity this season.

After graduating from Harlem in May 2017, Jake is planning to attend McKendree University in Lebanon, near St. Louis. The Bearcats are the defending men’s Intercollegiate National Champion. Teammate Dawson also is considering McKendree. Sammi Hagerman, a former Harlem bowler, just graduated from McKendree and will be an Assistant Coach for the Lady Huskies during the upcoming season. Her sister, Becca, a Sophomore, led the NIC-10 in average last season. Other assistants joining longtime Head Coach Jimmy Heathscott are Kelly Nimtz and Mike Roth. Another Harlem grad and bowler who went to McKendree is Kyle Statum. He will be an Assistant for the boys’ team this year along with Zach Kerby and Don Lemiesz. The Head Coach is Nick Whitmire.

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