By Bob Balgemann

All four starters made all-state (Ashlin Teves 1st, Allison Roberts 2nd, Addison Brien 6th, and Alexis Born 9th)! The team broke the IESA record by 411 pins! Machesney/Olson Park Girls Bowling finished 5th! Youngest team in the tournament. HMS Boys Bowling finished 7th!Masen Evans was all-state with 3rd place finish! Ben Dahle placed 9th (Machesney Boys Bowling)!

The Bowling Feeder System is continuing to supply talented individuals for the boys and girls teams at Harlem High School.

Evidence of that was seen at the 2022 Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) tournament April 8-9 in Joliet, where the Lady Huskies won their fourth state championship in eight years of team competition. Their entire four-girl team wound up in the Top 9 overall, with eighth-graders Ashlin Tewes and Allison Roberts finishing 1-2.

Machesney Elementary School’s girls went from ninth in the preliminary round Friday to fifth after Saturday’s finals.

And on the boys side, Harlem had a strong showing in the prelimins and wound up seventh. Also, two individuals from Machesney Elementary who qualified for state as individuals were a presence, with sixth-grader Ben Dahle rising from 14th after Friday’s prelims to a final ninth place finish.

The finals

The Lady Huskies roared out of the starting gate while winning the Dixon sectional and never looked back.

Saturday’s final round meant bowling six games, with Harlem finishing strong and ultimately totaling 7,669 pins, to 7,158 for runner-up Shorewood Troy near Plainfield.

Its starting lineup withstood a late charge by Troy, led by Roberts who closed with a 1,268 series, averaging 211.3 pins per game. She was no stranger to the pressures of bowling in a state setting, having been at Town & Country Lanes in Joliet before, back in 2019 as a fifth grader. She represented Machesney Elementary that year, as an individual, and finished fifth overall with a 193.7 average.

Tewes averaged 201 over Saturday’s final six games; eighth-grader Alexis Born, 175.5; and Addison Brien, the only seventh-grader on the team, 171.2.

Overall, for the tournament, Tewes carried an average of 212.6; Roberts, 201.7; Brien, 180.6; and Born, 172.

Also in girls competition on Saturday, Machesney Elementary passed Cicero Unity, Sterling Challand, Morton Junior High School and Freeport while settling in at fifth place. Next in line were Freeport in sixth; Morton in seventh; Challand in eighth; and Channahon in ninth.

That Machesney Elementary surge saw sixth grader Sarah Wilson average 162 over her six games; sixth-grader Hailey Semenchuk, 155; sixth-grader Natalie Abruzzo, 127; and fifth-grader Siren Anderson, 110.3.

On the boys side, Machesney Elementary was represented by eighth-grader Aiden Higgenbotham as an individual. He missed the cut, at 72, on Friday and after all scores were counted on Saturday, he finished 87th in a field of 156 participants.

The preliminaries

Harlem’s girls improved on their three-game sectional performance with a 3,115-pin count over four games, to handily win Friday’s preliminary round and advance to the finals at state. Machesney Elementary took ninth, to also earn a berth in the finals.

Tewes had an outstanding day, leading her team with a 920 series and averaging 230 per game. She began with a 194 and followed up with single games of 255, 235 and 236.

Meanwhile, the Huskies leap-frogged from sixth at their sectional to second among the 24 qualifiers, and earned a berth in Saturday’s finals. They had a 2,628 pinfall to trail the leader, Homer Glen Homer, by just 60 pins.

Evans led the way with a four-game 820 series, averaging 205 per outing and including a personal best single game of 266.

Back to the Lady Huskies, Brien (224, 186, 224 and 185) added a 779 series followed closely by Roberts (212, 165, 201 and 181) with a 749. Born (181, 170, 189 and 127) chipped in a 667.

Sherwood Troy was a distant second with 2,599 pins.

Machesney Elementary’s 2,801-pinfall included contributions from Semenchuk (161, 178, 134 and 206), with a team-leading 679 series; Wilson (132, 145, 124 and 213), totaling 614; Abruzzo (120, 109, 103, 100), for a 432; and Anderson (110, 91, 71 and 84), at 356.

Sisler rolled a 741 series for the Huskies, built on single games of 186, 207, 177 and 121. Pappini was next, his 139, 158, 119 and 152 single games adding up to a 568 series. And Adkins’ (108, 136, 149 and 105) string of single games gave him a 489 series.

Dahle, one of two individuals representing Machesney Elementary, finished 14th in the preliminaries, counting 220, 150, 167 and 176 single games for a 715 series. Higgenbotham finished 73rd in the field of 156, with single games of 146, 136, 148 and 150 for a 580 pinfall.

The sectional

The Lady Huskies rolled to the Dixon sectional championship, ringing up 2,228 pins to easily outdistance second-place Sycamore, at 1,656. Machesney Elementary also was among the six state qualifiers, finishing fourth and a short distance from the runner-up spot, with 1,622 pins.

On the boys side, Harlem grabbed the last state qualifying spot, also at Dixon, taking sixth with 1,741 pins. Machesney Elementary was a few pins shy of advancing as a team, but was represented at state by two individuals, sixth graders Dahle (three-game 593 series) and Higgenbotham (423 series).

For Harlem’s sectional champion girls, Teves led the way with a three-game 591 series. That was built on single games of 181, 195 and 215. Next up was Roberts, at 589 pins, with single games of 165, a team-best 223 and a 201. Born, the third of four eighth-graders, shot 561 on single games of 159, 215 and 142. And Brien, the only seventh grader, rolled a 532 with single games of 173, 138 and 215.

Eighth-graders Rylee Fish and Kaylee Martins also were in the tournament team but not bowl.

Individually, Teves’ 591 was the second highest series among those shot by representives of the 13 teams at Dixon. Roberts finished third; Brien, fourth; and Born, sixth. Team-wise, Harlem’s 2,228 total pins were highest among the four sectional champions with Shorewood Troy’s 2,131 being the only one that was close.

For Machesney Elementary, its state qualifying effort was led by Semenchuk’s 531 series with single games of 171, 213 and 147. She was followed by Wilson and her 465, built on single games of 165, 161 and 139. In addition, Abruzzo rolled single games of 108, 135 and 83, for a 326 series, with Anderson carding a 300 series that included single games of 81, 125 and 94.

On the boys side, Harlem’s qualifying round was sparked by Evans’ 570, third highest series of the day, built on a foundation of 147, 192 and 231 single games. Sisler, shot 445 with 126, 162 and 157 single games. The rest of the team consisted of Adkins with a 378 series that included 136, 125 and 117 single game, and Papini Jr., who carded a 348 series built on 120, 122 and 146 single games.

Of the two at-large state qualifiers from Machesney Elementary, Dahle recorded a 593 series at the sectional, second best round of the day, built on single games of 225, 176 and 192. He was joined by Higgenbotham, who shot 423, with single games of 121, 131 and 171.

That team also was made up of fifth-grader Dean Martins and his 416 series, with a foundation of 161, 130 and 125 single games, along with sixth-grader Daniil Kasinuik who turned in a 296 series, which included 100, 93 and 103 single games.

Fifth-grader Jaxon Rodriguez was on the travel team but did not bowl.

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