By Bob Balgemann


Three of Harlem’s four defending NIC-10 champions are continuing their march to repeating their accomplishments of last year, with two games left in the 2021 season.

The varsity and junior varsity girls, along with the junior varsity boys, were atop their respective divisions with 7-0 records as conference competition neared an end. One of Harlem’s reigning league champions, the varsity boys team, won’t be repeating this year. The Huskies were 4-3 after entering the final third of the season.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced cancellation of the invitationals tyically held each year, before the start of the NIC-10 action. But the usual nine conference games were scheduled in spite of it all, and now that abbreviated season is coming to an end.

There will be no postseason this year.

The Lady Huskies, who finished second in state last year, rolled past Rockford East, Boylan Catholic and Belvidere North to post their fifth, sixth and seventh consecutive victories this season.

Three of those competitors, senior Joana Araojo and juniors Carolyn Richards and Paige Carpenter, improved on their earlier personal best efforts against the E-Rabs. Araojo’s average went from 206 to 210, her high single game increased from 234 to 235, and her three-game series went from 662 to 681.

For Richards, she fashioned an increase in her per-game average from 192 to 195, plus a new high single game of 244, up from 237, and improved series, from 614 to 663. Carpenter’s average game score went from 209 to 214.

Those Lady Huskies had bowled in all 15 of their team’s games to that point.

There was one new team personal best, in series, when it amassed 3,855 pins against East. That ranks No. 1 in the conference while its high single game of 1,341 is second, eight pins behind league-leading Hononegah.

In the 3,528 to 2,296 rout of Belvidere North, for their seventh straight win, there were no new personal bests in average, high game or series.

After seven games, Harlem and Auburn were tied for first in the varsity division, each at 7-0, followed by Hononegah at 6-1. The Lady Huskies-Lady Knights were slated to end the NIC-10 season earlier this week, with first place likely on the line.

JV girls

Sophomore Stephanie Windsor was welcomed to the junior varsity ranks in the fifth contest of the season and she accommodated by averaging 185 over her three games against East, with a high single game of 203 and a 555 series.

Beyond that, there were a few new personal bests established as Harlem ran past both East and Boylan.

Averages improved for junior Melanie Dooley (162 to 169); for freshman Kaylynn Coffee (150 to 151); freshman Athena O’Dell (148 to 151); and sophomore Hailee Kerr (186 to 187). O’Dell now has a new high game, of 179, up from a previous best of 171. And Dooley also improved in that area, going from a 205 to a 225.

In the match with Boylan, freshman Alyssa Prince returned to the lineup with improved her average from an early 143 to 149, while rolling a new high single game of 152, improving from a previous 146. Another freshman, Miranda Klenz, saw her average increase from 150 to 152; Coffee’s went from 151 to 156.

The win over Belvidere, No. 7 in a row on the year, saw several personal bests.

Windsor improved her average to 185; her high single game to 211; and her high series to 564.  Dooley upper her average by one pin, from 169 to 170;  Klenz’s average went from 151 to 153. 

The Lady Huskie JVs remained one game ahead of Hononegah, which stood at 6-1; Freeport and Auburn were next, each at 5-2.

Boys results

Harlem’s varsity bounced back after consecutive losses to defeat winless Jefferson in the sixth match for both teams. The Huskies followed by winning handily over Belvidere North to improve to 4-3.

Sophomore Braden Schuld had two big days in a row. Against the J-Hawks, he improved his overall average from 214 to 217 with a new high single game of 257, and a new 696 series. Then, against the Blue Thunder, he upped his average by another three pins, to 220, his high game to 268 and his high series to 715.

Another likely returnee, junior Eric Roberts, had an outstanding night against North, boosting his average to 217, his high game to 280 and high series to 750. His 280 game now is tied for fifth in the NIC-10, second only to four perfect 300 performances.

Against Jefferson, senior P.J. Mellies’ average went up four pins, from 208 to 212, and he also recorded a new high game of 258, an improvement of three pins from the earlier 255. Senior Alex Cleaveland’s average went from 209 to 214, with a new personal best single game of 279.

Harlem now sits in a tie for fourth place with Rockford East, both owning 4-3 records. Despite that, the Huskies have the NIC-10’s second best single game of the season for teams, with 1,407 pins, and the second best, three-game series of 3,966. Hononegah (7-0), Freeport (6-1) and Freeport (5-2) own the top 3 spots in the standings, with two games left to play.

On the junior varsity level, Harlem remains in control of its own destiny, needing to win out for its second consecutive NIC-10 championship. The Huskies are 7-0, followed by Hononegah at 6-1, and Belvidere North and Freeport, both at 5-2. Harlem defeated the runner-up Indians on opening day and the two have been winning ever since.

Most recently available individual statistics for the JVs are through five matches, or a total of 15 games.

Ethan Keller has bowled in all 15 games and is tied with Jeremy Martinez, who has appeared in 12, with team-best 212 average. Keller had a solid outing against Rockford East when he improved his average from 207 to 212, and carded other personal bests of 269 (high game) and 694 (series). Previously, Martinez had the JV’s best single game, a 245, and top series, a 683.

Another JV on a roll against the E-Rabs was Zander Carpenter. He increased his average from 180 to 198, partially built by a new high single game of 268, one pin behind Keller, and new three-game series of 637.

Logan Franklin and Ryen Apgar have better numbers, but both have been sharing time with the varsity. Martinez also bowled three games for the varsity earlier in the season.

In all, 10 bowlers have been competing for the JVs.     

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