By Bob Balgemann, REPORTER

 It could be looked on as an early Christmas present for fans of high school wrestling. That gift is the 29th Dvorak Wrestling Tournament being held today (Dec. 22) and Friday in the main gymnasium at Harlem High School. This is an event that some bill as the best tournament going on in the state during this busy time of year. The current field includes 33 teams from Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. They are: Antioch, Bishop McNamara, Bolingbrook, Crystal Lake Central, Dakota, Edwardsville, Freeport, Glenbard North, Algonquin Jacobs, host Harlem, Arlington Heights Hersey, state-ranked Hononegah, Hortonville, Wis., Huntley, Iowa City West, Iowa, Legancy Christian Academy, Ohio, and Luxenburg Casco, Wis. Also, Marist, Mason, Ohio, Metra Valley, Milton, Wis., Mount Carmel, Mukwonago, Wis., Nequa Valley, Plainfield East, Plainfield South, Providence Catholic, Chicago St. Rita, Sterling, Timberland, Mo., Wheaton North, Willowbrook and Yorkville. Seven of those teams are either state ranked or have received an honorable mention from

Sessions will begin at 9:30 a.m. today and at 9 a.m. Friday and continue each day until concluded. Friday’s third, fifth and seventh-place matches will be in the afternoon, to be followed by the championship competitions. A concession stand will be open both days. Defending champion Lake Highland Prep is not participating this year. In 2015, Mount Carmel finished second with Hononegah in fifth and Harlem in 14th. Four Huskies, all Seniors, earned places last year. Jenner Hecox was fourth at 195 pounds; Anthony McKinney was fifth at 285; Dylan Elmore, sixth at 138; and Brandon Elliot, eighth at 220. The Indians went home with one champion, Anthony Cassioppi, now a Junior, at 285. Blake Zalapi, also a Junior this year, was second at 220 with Fernie Silva, a senior, being third at 160. Cassioppi currently is ranked first in the State at 285 by Zalapi is ranked third at 220; Junior Dominic Ballano, honorable mention at 160; and Senior Jordan Shahnikian, sixth at 182.  For Harlem, Senior Dalton Hambrock is seventh at 195. He was a state qualifier for the Huskies last season.

Harlem’s Varsity Girls Bowling Team set a National record and a State record at Saturday’s Rockford East Invite. The National record was for a three-game series, which the Lady Huskies now hold with a 3,508 pinfall. And Sophomore Becca Hagerman led the effort that resulted in their breaking a State record for a single game, reaching a new high of 1,301 pins. Becca bowled a perfect 300 game and was joined by teammates Kayla Verstraete with a 278; Stephanie Richards with a 276; Mylee McCracken with a 237; and Treasure Childs with a 210. Mylee is the only Senior in that group of talented individuals.

Harlem’s Varsity Girls Basketball Team (7-5) finished the week at 1-1, with both being NIC-10 games. The Lady Huskies had a strong first half against Rockford Jefferson, holding a 33-12 halftime lead on their way to a 51-28 victory. Later in the week they dropped a Conference decision to rival Hononegah, 78-25.

The Boys Team (4-4) opened the week with a 58-52 victory over Jefferson. Allen White III sparked the win with a 22-point performance while David Williams Jr. kicked in 15 points. Contributions also came from Larontaye Spates, who scored 11 points, and Jedan Gaither with 10.

Harlem football standout Brenton Shaw has received another honor. He has been selected to play for the West All-Stars in the annual ICA Shriners game, scheduled for June 17 at Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington. Shaw set a new NIC-10 record for career rushing yardage this year. In 2 1/2 Varsity seasons, he carried 528 times for 3,582 yards. That’s an average of 6.8 yards per attempt. Earlier this year he was honored at halftime of the professional football game at Soldier Field, between the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers.  

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