By Bob Balgemann

Lady Huskies win outdoor track meets in LaSalle-Peru, Woodstock

Harlem’s outdoor girls track team was a presence in the region last week, winning both the Lady Cavs Relay Invitational at LaSalle Peru High School, and the Steve Erwin Invitational in Woodstock.

They dominated the Lady Cavs gathering, winning 11 of 15 events while scoring 100 1/2 points to 55 for runner-up and host, La Salle-Peru. In the 10-team Erwin Invitational, the Lady Huskies rang up 136 points to 113 for second-place Algonquin Jacobs and 105 for Antioch, which finished third. There were two other NIC-10 teams at Woodstock: Boylan Catholic was fourth, scoring 51 points, while Jefferson came in ninth, with 10 points.

The meet in LaSalle featured eight relays and one shuttle, with the Lady Huskies winning seven of them. They had two teams in four of those races.

One of Harlem’s victories came in the little-seen, 4-by-100-meter relay – throwers – featuring four of those who throw the shot put and discus. The team consisted of senior Emma Rich, with sophomore Kelcie Logan and freshmen Adyson Andrews and Alexis Rielly. Their time was 1:06.37, some 3 seconds ahead of second-place Lady Cavaliers.

Later in the meet Rich won both the shot put (30 feet, 1 inch) and discus (106 feet, 9 inches), as Harlem entries finished 1,2,4 in the shot and 1,2,3 in the discus. Logan and junior Bryana Travieso held down those spots in the shot; Andrews and sophomore Allyson Beatty were 2-3 in the discus.

Here are the other first-place relay teams for the Lady Huskies: 4-by-100-meters, all seniors, Kaitlynn Zintak, Kenya Gibson, Keyara Bailey and Hannah Bilodeau, with a time of 53.48 seconds; 4-by-200-meters, Zintak, Gibson, freshman Celia Riportella and Hannah Bilodeau, in 1:55.92; 4-by-400-meters, freshman Makenzie Piwcewicz, junior Cierra Watton and sophomores Hannah Ranstead and Carlie Buetsch, clocked at 4:58.62.

Also, SMR 100-100-200-400 meters, Zintak, Riportella, Hannah Bilodeau and freshman Hailey Bilodeau, time of 2:02.20; DMR 1,200-400-800-1,600 meters; Piwcewicz, senior Aaliyah Haun, Hailey Bilodeau and sophomore Lauren Johnson, clocked at 15:09.39; and 4-by-100 hurdles, 33-inch, Ranstead, juniors Gabby Xayasouk and Abbi MacGregor and senior Elizabeth Nelson, in 1:23.34.

Here are the rest of the relay teams and places they won: 4-by-200 meters, Xayasouk, sophomores Kelis Woods and Nathaly Delgado and Ranstead, with a time of 2:08.88; 4-by-800 meters, senior Karissa Hernandez, Watton, junior Ella Shaw, and freshman Nicole Ralph, second place, time of 11:47; 4-by-1,600 meters, Shaw, Hernandez, Johnson and junior Katelyn Penning, second, clocked at 26:36 even; 4-by-100 meters, Delgado, Buetsch, senior Sheryl Wehde and Woods, third, timed at 1:01.29; 4-by-400 meters, MacGregor and freshmen Frankie Guler, Sadie Ramos and Kiera Reppuhn, fourth, in 5:36.82; and SMR 100-100-200-400 meters, Woods, Wehde, Delgado and freshman Maritza Martinez, fifth at 2:33.20.

In field events, first-place performances were turned in by Woods in the pole valut, clearing 6 feet, 5 inches; and senior Keyara Bailey in the triple jump, total of 33 feet, 3 inches. Bailey also took second in the long jump, distance of 15 feet, 1 inch. Delgado was third in the pole vault, with Nelson, seventh, in the long jump.

Woodstock results:

Harlem won six of the 18 events at the Steve Erwin Invitational in Woodstock, led by Hannah Bilodeau’s taking of the 100, 200 and 400-meter dash races. Her respective times were 12.68 and 26.29 seconds, and 1:00.7. Team-wise, Antioch won four events, Jacobs, three, and Boylan Catholic, Jefferson and Woodstock, one each.

The Lady Huskies also were victorious in the 4-by-200-meter relay (Zintak, Gibson, Ranstead and Riportella) in 1:54.1; the 4-by-400-meter relay (Hailey Bilodeau, Hannah Bilodeau, Haun and Piwcewicz) in 4:33.04; and in the discus, with Rich throwing 111 feet, 9 inches. That outcome was close, with Rich edging runner-up Faith Feuerbach of Sycamore by 2 inches.

Finishing in the Top 10 for Harlem in track events were Zintak, fourth in the 100; Riportella, fifth in the 200; Piwcewicz, sixth in the 800; Johnson, seventh, and Hernandez, eighth, in the 1,600; Hernandez, sixth, and Penning, eighth in the 3,200; Xayasouk, third, and Ranstead, ninth, in the 100-meter high hurdles; Ranstead, sixth, and Xayasouk, seventh, in the 300-meter lows; 4-by-100-meters, Zintak, Gibson, Bailey and Riportella, second in 53.53 seconds, less than one second out of first; and 4-by-800-meters, Hailey Bilodeau, Johnson, Watton and Piwcewicz, third in 10:39.8.

In the field events, Rich took third in the shot put; Andrews, third in the discus; Bailey, tied for second in the high jump, clearing 4-feet, 8 inches; Wehde, second in the pole vault, height of 7 feet, 4 inches, and sophomore Madison Hawn, sixth; Xayasouk, 13th in the long jump; Bailey, third, and Gibson, fifth, in the triple jump.

Harlem outdoor track teams gear up for upcoming NIC-10 meet

NIC-10 track meets for boys and girls are going on, with the girls competing the end of last week and the boys on tap for Friday.

Beyond that, the Lady Huskies were scheduled to be part of the IHSA sectional May 11 at Huntley, with qualifiers competing at state May 20-21 at Eastern Illinois University, Charleston.

Harlem’s boys and girls recently participated in a conference quadrangular meet against three of the strong contenders, Rockford East, Belvidere North and Auburn.

No team scores were available but both of Harlem’s teams held their own, as they have in other conference meets this spring.

On the boys side, the E-Rabs finished first in seven of the 18 events followed by Harlem with five, North with three and Auburn with one. The Huskies were strongest among the throwing events; East won three of the four relay races. Among girls competitors, Harlem won seven events and tied for an eighth; Auburn won seven events, North, three and East, one. The Lady Huskies stood out in two of the sprints and in the throwing events.


Boys results:

Senior Aktanay Kwazdran won twice for Harlem, in the distance runs covering 1,600 and 3,200 meters. His winning times were 4:59.95 in the 1,600, a narrow 0.51 of a second in front of sophomore Will Ward from Belvidere North; and 10:41.06 in the 3,200, comfortably ahead of freshman teammate Leo Ramos, who ran second in 12:14.34 Huskie runners took four of the Top 5 places in the 3,200, with freshmen Sawyer Ridens and Kayden Moore coming in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Another double winner for the Huskies was senior Riley Lundgren in the shot put (50 feet, 8 inches) and discus (162 feet, 8 inches, his second best throw of the season). Of the 37 entries in the shot, 22 were from Harlem, with 20 of the 38 participants in the discus being Huskies.

Team-wise, Harlem snagged five of the Top 10 places in the shot, which were held by junior KeShawn Harrington-McKinney in second, freshman Conar Penney in fourth, Sora Anucauskas in seventh and junior Darius Charles in 10th.

In the discus, the Huskies commanded nine of the Top 10 places. Harrington-McKinney was in second, senior Michael Stupek in third, Anucauskas, fourth, junior Thomas Imburgia, fifth, sophomore Santo Salinas, sixth, sophomore Xavion Chapman in eighth and juniors Gabe McNames in ninth and Tony Garza in 10th. The only interruption in the otherwise all-Harlem Top 10 came from sophomore Brett Epperson of Belvidere North, who took seventh.

The Top 5 places in the triple jump were held by sophomore Trey Smith, who won it with a total of 33 feet, 2 inches; freshmen Antonio Aguilera in second and Dakari Coyne in third, sophomores Ayden Flaningam, fourth, and Tyler Halverson, fifth.

And when it came to clustering competitors, the Huskies stole the show in the 400-meter dash where they took the third-through-10th places. That group started with senior Austin Durnil in third place, time of 55.88 seconds; sophomore Dylan Malmgren, was fourth, freshman Nick Trycha, fifth, freshman Brady Jacobson, sixth, seniors Julian Lugo, seventh, Deven Ortiz, eighth and Tommy Piva, ninth, and freshman Jahmani Muhammad, 10th.

Here are other Top 10 place winners for the Huskies among the 18 events:

Jacobson, sixth, Muhammad, seventh, Durnil, eighth and senior Carlos Woodard, 10th in the 100-meter dash; Durnil, second, and Jacobson, third, in the 200; freshmen Owen Recoy, third, and Dominic Carlson, fifth, and junior Eli Hernandez, ninth, in the 1,600 meters; junior Marko Skakavec, third, and freshman Jarome Henert, fifth, in the 110-meter high hurdles; and Skakavec, eighth in the 300-meter low hurdles.

Also, the 4-by-100-meter relay, Henert, freshman Romeo Olivares, Mahammad and Jacobson would up in sixth place; 4-by-400-meter relay, Malmgren, Trycha, Recoy and Carlson, fourth; junior Tyler Wehde, Piva, junior Noah Hernandez and junior Eli Hernandez, fifth; and Ridens, Moore, freshman Stefan Krajisnik and junior Jeremiah Correnti, sixth.

In field events, freshman Isiah Williams-Wallen came in fifth, freshman Henry Clark, seventh, and sophomore Sammy Hodge, eighth, in the long jump.

Girls results:

First-place winners for the Lady Huskies were senior Hannah Bilodeau in the 200-meter dash, with a time of 26.41 seconds; junior Cierra Watton in the 400-meter dash, time of 1:10; freshman Hailey Bilodeau in the 800-meter run, clocked at 2:32.49; junior Gabby Xayasouk in the 100-meter high hurdles, in 17.83 seconds; and the 4-by-400-meter relay team, sophomore Hannah Ranstead, Watton, sophomore Lauren Johnson and freshman Celia Riportella, at 5:04.69.

In field events, winners for Harlem were senior Emma Rich in the discus, throwing 101 feet, 4 inches; senior Keyara Bailey in the high jump, height of 4 feet, 5 inches; and senior Sheryl Wehde, tied with sophomore Bree Messenger of Belvidere North in the pole vault, both clearing 7 feet even.

Also in field events Bailey and senior Kenya Gibson took second and third, respectively, in the triple jump. Bailey also was second in the long jump. Junior Gabby Xayasouk tied for fifth in the pole vault, with sophomore Nathaly Delgado in ninth; sophomore Alyson Beatty finished second in the discus, freshman Adyson Andrews was fourth and junior Bryana Travieso, ninth.

Travieso was second in the shot put, throwing 31 feet, 6.9 inches, and finished on the heels of the first-place winner, junior Grace Hulstedt of Belvidere North, whose winning toss was 31 feet, 7.6 inches. Other Lady Huskies staking places in the shot were Rich in third, sophomore Kelcie Logan, fourth, Andrews, sixth, and sophomore Breana Mackey, eighth.

Track events found Hannah Bilodeau taking second in the 100-meter dash, with Gibson in sixth; senior Kaitlynn Zintak was second in the 200; Ripprtella was fifth, sophomore Carlie Buetsch, seventh and senior Kimora Hammond, in 10th; and in the 400, Gibson was second, Riportella, third, freshmen Frankie Guler, fifth, Maritza Martinez, sixth and Charlee Brockman, eighth.

In the distance runs, freshman Makenzie Piwcewicz finished third in the 1,600, with junior Ella Shaw in fifth and senior Karissa Hernandez in sixth; freshman Sadie Ramos was third in the 1,600; junior Abbi MacGregor, fourth in the 100-meter high hurdles; Ranstead was second in the 300-meter low hurdles with MacGregor in fourth.

Other than the team that won the 4-by-400-meter relay race, Harlem had four other entries in the various relays. The 4-by-100-meter relay team of Wehde, sophomore Kelis Woods, Bailey aand Xayasouk was third, in 57.06 seconds, with the team of Hammond, Brockman, Delgado and Buetsch in fifth. The 4-by-200-meter relay team was second in 2:04.20, right behind the winning time of 2:03.83 turned in by Auburn. Harlem’s team consisted of Buetsch, Woods, Ranstead and Wehde. And the 4-by-800-meter relay team, freshman Nicole Ralph, MacGregor, Penning and Guler, was third in 12:18.13.

Harlem on comeback trail in baseball, overall and in the conference

After a sluggish start, Harlem’s varsity baseball team has bounced back and, thanks in part to more cooperative weather, is showing what it can do on the diamond.

After beginning at 0-4 in the NIC-10 and 1-8 overall, the Huskies most recently have won six of seven in the conference, to improve to 6-5, and 7-10 overall. They are coming off sweeping their two-game league series with Rockford Jefferson, 19-2 and 15-0. Then the string continued, 18-0 over Rockford East.

In the second outing against the J-Hawks, leadoff man Israel Delgado had one of those memorable days, going 1-for-1 at the plate – his only hit was a home run – scoring four times and driving in three runs. He walked three times.

Ethan Seipts pitched a four-inning complete game – it was shortened because of the 10-run rule – allowing one hit with 10 strikeouts. In his NIC-10 start the game before, a 6-2 win over Guilford, he threw a full seven-innings. That resulted in another one-hitter in which he allowed two unearned runs, while striking out 12. So for the season he has improved to 2-2 against conference opponents.

Eleven Huskies participated in the 15-run win over the J-Hawks, which featured an eight-run third inning.

Javier Garcia smashed his first home run of the spring – team’s fourth – and drove in five runs while going 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored and one walk. Owen Hunt (2-for-3) and Seipts (2-for-4) each collected two RBIs, while Timmy Wessels had a two-hit day, one of them a double, while scoring one run. Elijah Skidmore (1-for-1) and Trevor Halverson (0-0) each drove in a run; Skidmore scored once himself. Josh Galassi (0-for-1) scored two runs; Brandon Winters (1-for-2), Kelton Busekros (0-for-0) and Austin Pinkston (0-for-0), each scored once.

Earlier, sophomore Gabriel Solorzano hurled a two-hitter while being treated to 19 runs of support in the first game against Jefferson. He had five strikeouts with no walks.

This time the Huskies’ offense received contributions from all of the 14 players who saw action that day. Delgado (1-for-3) had the only extra-base hit among 11 total, a double, to go to with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Halverson (2-for-2), Kadin Bergstrom (2-for-2) were perfect at the plate and each drove in two runs. Bergstrom scored twice, Halverson once. Other two-RBI days were enjoyed by Garrett Hockinson (0-for-3) and Kelton Busekros (1-for-2). Owen Hunt (1-1) drove in one run, scoring twice himself; while Cooper Gillette (1-for-2), Garcia (1-for-1), Will Johnson (1-for-2), Solorzano (1-for-2) and Hayden Henderson (1-for-2) each had one RBI. Hockinson scored twice, as did Bergstrom. Timmy Wessels (0-for-1) crossed home plate once, so did Halverson, Buskeros, Henderson, Johnson, Solorzano and Maddox Devlieger.

Harlem then made it six-of-seven in recent NIC-10 games by routing Rockford East, 18-0, behind the no-hit pitching of sophomore Elijah Skidmore. The Huskies had it wrapped up after three innings, scoring seven runs in the first, eight in the second and three in the third.

Pinkston (0-for-0), Wessels (1-for-2) and Henderson (1-for-2) scored three runs apiece while Hunt drove in three, going a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate with a double. Two RBIs each were collected by Gillette (2-for-3), Garcia (2-for-3) and Devlieger (1-for-2). Halverson (1-for-1), Wessels, Hockison (1-for-2) and Henderson each drove in one run. Bergstrom was a perfect 1-for-1 at the plate, scoring twice.

At that point in the first week in May, the Huskies had pulled to within one-half game of fourth place, trailing 6-4 Freeport. Belvidere North stunned Hononegah, 2-0, leaving a tie for first place between the two at 10-1 each. Boylan Catholic (7-3) remained alone in third.

The only hiccup in this otherwise string of successful games was a 5-4 loss to Auburn, in the second of their two-game NIC-10 series. It was an unusual outing in which eight of the nine runs were scored in the fifth and sixth innings, as each team scored four times. The Knights got the decisive single run in the top of the third.

Garcia went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and he drove in two runs to pace the Huskies. Starting pitcher Skidmore took the loss, allowing just one earned run while striking out 10.



As the month of April concluded, Harlem’s softball team was riding a four-game winning streak in NIC-10 play that included head-to-head meetings with two teams the Lady Huskies were contending with for third place in the league.

They started off 1-2 in the conference, then rebounded by defeating Freeport, 8-2, and Belvidere, 6-4. When the dust settled Harlem (5-2) was tied with the Lady Bucs (6-3) for third, with Freeport (5-3) one-half game behind. Its overall record was 7-7.

In the middle of all that was a 19-2 rout of Jefferson, which dropped the Lady J-Hawks to 3-5 in the NIC-10.

Against Belvidere, senior Alaina Schwanke had a solid pitching performance, throwing a complete game with six strikeouts, while contributing to the offense with three hits, including a home run and two RBIs. Freshman Aubrey Burbach also homered, which was one of her two hits, and drove in two runs. Junior Skyla Franklin had a two-hit game; other RBIs were collected by sophomore Kaitlynn Lozdoski and senior Kaylie Banks.

Boys volleyball:

Harlem’s boys volleyball team (11-15, 4-6) continued to be busy as April came to a close.

After splitting conference matches with Belvidere and Guilford, winning 2-0 over the Bucs while losing 2-1 to the Vikings, they were in a weekend tournament where they met some of the better programs from the suburbs and lost. That group included Bensenville Fenton, 2-1, Elmhurst Timothy Christian, 2-1, and Des Plaines Maine East, 2-0.

Two non-conference bouts followed, with setbacks at the hands of Glen Ellyn Glenbard West and Geneva, both by 2-0 counts.

There only are two NIC-10 matches remaining before the IHSA state tournament begins May 23, with a regional berth for the Huskies at either Boylan Catholic or Guilford. Games left are today (May 12) against Jefferson, and May 20, with Auburn, both on the road.

Girls soccer:

State tournament play has arrived for girls soccer teams, with Harlem (10-6, 3-3) likely playing at Auburn. Other more remote possibilities are Hampshire or Huntley. Regional quarter-finals are May 13-14, semi-finals May 17-18, and finals May 20-21. Then it’s on to the Round Lake Sectional for the survivors, with the super-sectional at Barrington. State this year is June 3-4 at North Central College in Naperville.

Meanwhile, there continues to be keen competition for top spots in the NIC-10 with Harlem on the edge. Boylan Catholic (6-0), Hononegah (5-1) and Freeport (5-1) are the primary contenders with Belvidere North (4-2) next in line. Then come the Lady Huskies and Guilford, each at 3-3.

In most recent action, Harlem played in a weekend tournament where it won two of three matches, over Woodstock and Crystal Lake South, each 2-0 shutouts, sandwiched around a 1-0 loss to Woodstock North. Their final regular season game will be today (May 12) at Auburn, which is 1-5 in conference play.

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