By Bob Balgemann


It was an unprecedented winter sports season for Harlem teams with fewer games than usual, and mostly a lack of fans who weren’t allowed to attend those games. But the competitiveness and the resilience of the Huskies and Lady Huskies resulted in their achieving many successes.

While the annual awards night couldn’t be held, because of the coronavirus pandemic, Athletic Director Rebecca Hoffmann and administrative assistant, Kim Jack, kept the tradition alive by putting together the booklet memoralizing accomplishments of those winter teams.

For example, Harlem’s boys and girls varsity bowling didn’t have a state tournament this year. They did, however, have a nine-game, NIC-10 season that saw the girls repeat as the varsity champion with the boys and girls capturing titles at the junior varsity level, also for the second consecutive year. All three of those teams were undefeated.

In boys competition, the Huskies recovered from early setbacks to finish 6-3 and tie Rockford East for third place in the conference.

The bowlers weren’t through, however.

In postseason competition the Huskies journeyed to Freeport where they rallied to win a six-game tournament against Hononegah and the host Pretzels, who earlier had finished 1-2 in the final NIC-10 standings.

Senior Alex Cleaveland highlighted the memorable day by rolling a 300 game and winding up as the individual champion. He recorded a tournament-best 1,426 series while averaging 237.67 per game.

The Lady Huskies participated in the 81-team Trevian Invitational, hosted by suburban New Trier High School, and finished as the best in Illinois with senior Olivia Watton the individual champion. She had a tournament-leading 280 single game followed by teammate Madison Woodman, also a senior, with a 278.

Harlem’s boys basketball team rode the strengths of seniors and underclassmen to finish second in the NIC-10 with a 9-3 record. And the girls basketball team had a tough finish but still wound up 8-5 in the conference, which was good for fifth place, a few percentage points out of fourth.

The Lady Huskies’ competitive cheer squad went back to state and placed in the Saturday finals.

The awards

Longtime girls’ bowling head coach Jim Heathscott, whose state championship teams date back to 1999-2000, was named Harlem’s coach of the year.

For 2021, Watton, Jocelynn Eggert and Joana Araojo were selected first team, all-conference, as was Paige Carpenter, who also was named the league’s most valuable performer. Woodman was special mention, all-conference.

There were five NIC-10 scholar athletes on this team, which had no captains.

For the boys’ bowling team and head coach Nick Whitmire, Cleaveland and Patrick Mellies were the captains.

Cleaveland, Eric Roberts and Braden Schuld were first team, all-conference on a team with three NIC-10 scholar athletes.

Harlem’s girls basketball team tied for the lead among winter sports contingents with seven conference student athletes. Alisyn MacGregor was this year’s captain and earned first team, all-conference honors. Also named first team, all-conference was Mya Davidson; Julie Bailey was special mention, all-conference.

Beth Meyer was the head coach.

For the boys basketball team, Dominic Dawson was the captain for head coach Mike Winters, and he also was accorded first team, all-conference honors. Lathan Lewis was first team, all-conference, with DeAndre Young picking up special mention, all-conference recognition.

First-year head boys swimming and diving head coach was Todd Mueller, and his captain was school record-breaker, Kevin McMillan, who in addition was named first team, all-conference. Also receiving first team, all-conference was another setter of school records, Jeremy Mueller (who’s only a sophomore), along with Eli Barefield. Special mention, all-conference honors went to Noah Hernandez and Brandon Ngo.

There were three NIC-10 scholar athletes for this band of Huskies.

Madelyn Wissbroecker was captain of this year’s competitive cheerleading squad, and a first team, all-conference selection, for head coach Rebecca Doxtater. Ashton Gustafson and Annabelle Forte received first team, all-conference recognition; Elexis Faulkner was special mention, all-conference.

There were seven NIC-10 student athletes on this team.

Summer Henderson was back as this year’s competitive dance head coach and her team captains were Emma Bounphithack and Hailey Vrolyk. In addition, Bounphithack was first team, all-conference, as well as the NIC-10 MVP, while Vrolyk was first team, all-conference.

Also, those achieving first team, all-conference honors were Kailey Jacobson, Cassandra Lee and Zoe Shields.

This team had seven NIC-10 student athletes.

Special awards

Seven Harlem student-athletes were busy in both sports and in the classroom. Those winning four-year varsity letters during their careers as Huskies were Alex Cleaveland, boys bowling; Kevin McMillan, boys swimming and diving; Olivia Watton, girls bowling; Madelyn Wissbroecker, competitive cheer; Emma Bounphithack, Cassandra Lee and Hailey Vrolyk, competitive dance.

This year’s most valuable performers among the seven winter teams were Cleaveland, boys bowling; Watton and Paige Carpenter, girls bowling; McMillan, boys swimming; Dominic Dawsey, boys basketball; Mya Davidson and Alisyn MacGregor, girls basketball; Madelyn Wissbroecker, competitive cheer; and Bounphilhack and Vrolyk, competitive cheer.

Special recognition went out to athletic trainer Jason Lubben, student trainers and a special thank went to all of Harlem’s coaches.

Given the year that was still one of battling the coronavirus pandemic, Harlem offered a special thank you to all of the parents and athletes for their patience and understanding “as we all worked together to get through these trying times with the COVID-19 pandemic. This will definitely be a year we will all remember.” 

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.