Pictured with the Championship trophy they won at the Lake Park Invite are (front row, from left) Harlem Head Boys’ Bowling Coach Nick Whitmire, Noah Man-dujano, Dawson Jones and Darby Windsor; (second row, from left) Collin Day, Kyler Gerl, Nick Howard and Jake Nimtz. On the far right is Lake Park Coach Greg Edwards.


By Bob Balgemann


The 2019-20 winter sports season was an especially memorable one at Harlem. Among the special moments were three head coaches being selected by their peers as Coach of the Year in their respective areas. They are:

Nick Whitmire, boys bowling. This was a statewide honor and for 2019, when his Huskies were state champions for the second time in three years, and finished fourth at nationals. In addition, then-senior Noah Mandujano won the national singles competition.

Kellie Logterman, boys swimming and diving. Her team, which finished second in the conference, was one of the best in Harlem history.

Rebecca Doxtater, competitive cheerleading, whose team qualified once again for state and finished second in the NIC-10.

Boys bowling

“This award is not just me,” Coach Whitmire said. “It’s about my whole staff and then some. I have a great group around me that helps keep us competitive in their own individual ways.”

Assistants Zach Kerby, Brent Broege and Kyle Statum are all part of that award, he said.

In addition, “The support we get from our girls coaches cannot be unnoticed as well. It’s a full support system. I put all my heart into this team, but as much as that is, it wouldn’t be enough without all of theirs as well.

“My support system at home is uncanny. My wife is my biggest fan and without the support of Melissa, every single day of the high school season, none of it would be possible. She is as much Harlem Bowling as I am, and between all of the meets and tournaments she attends, to the disarray my house becomes, she is 100 percent supportive. She deserves part of that award as well.”

Coach Whitmire thanked Harlem High School for giving him the opportunity “to coach the sport I love. The support I have from athletic directors and staff there has been amazing. Kurt Weigt and now Rebecca Hoffmann have been nothing but supportive in our cause and fight for results.”

Then there are the student-athletes themselves, “for staying dedicated and buying into my team-results approach, and learning to be one unit and buying into the day in and day out sermons on how to win and how to win as a team,” he continued.

Lastly, the coach said he wanted to thank his full time employer, Gleason Cutting Tools of Loves Park. “Without their support I wouldn’t be capable of coaching full time through the winter,” he said.

In summation, he added, “I have a great leadership group and team to win this award, and they should know it!”

During the 2020 season the Huskies won the NIC-10 championship while taking seventh at state. Senior Ethan Pash was the individual state champion, averaging 222 per game over the two-day, 12-game tournament.

Other seniors on this team were Nathan Broege, Jason Claus, Lucas Merrick, Josh Roth and Devon Schwanke. Roth and Schwanke were NIC-10 scholar athletes.

Boys swimming

Coach Logterman called her honor a team honor.

“We had such strong leadership in our senior class and just a great group of guys all around,” she said.

Those seniors were Bryer Ackerson, Lucas Anucauskas, Daniel Lamb, Jose Martinez, Nathaniel McNames, Enrique Moreno, Tiago Tarragona, Artim Veseli, and Donovan Zezniewski.

She continued, “The team is very close-knit and they wanted to have a great season this year for each other, especially the seniors. These praises extend past just our varsity team. In swimming, our JV and varsity practice together and they all do the same workout, to an extent. I like that we don’t have that separation because it allows them to form those bonds and motivate each other during practice.”

Across the board, she said, “We had the most productive practices this season, than any other I’ve coached, and that really showed in their meet results. I’m honored that my fellow NIC-10 coaches would vote me as ‘Coach of the Year,’ but the honor goes to the team for their hard work and dedication, and definitely to our seniors who turned this team into a family.”

Competitive cheer

The Lady Huskies returned to state this season, under the continued direction of Coach Doxtater. In addition to taking second in conference, they had a Harlem-best meet score this season. “So, overall, it was a successful season and we were very proud,” she said.

What sticks with her the most, she said, was that their four-year varsity seniors qualified for the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state series every year of their high school careers. “I think that’s an incredible accomplishment, and it’s a testament to the dedication and passion that our athletes put into our program,” she added.

Specifically, those seniors were Arianna Austin, Michaela Day, Madison Johnson, Kennedy Robison, Elizabeth Thomas and Madison Williams.

It was a bittersweet year for all Harlem student athletes, however, given the coronavirus pandemic that took away their spring season.

“I’m grateful that our team, and especially our seniors, were able to finish the competitive cheer season and compete at state,” coach Doxtater said. “But I’m sad for them that they don’t get to experience their last semester of high school in person.

“I especially feel for our spring athletes. We have several team members who participate in track and softball, and it kills me that they aren’t able to compete during their last season. It really puts everything into perspective and reminds me that – regardless of scores and placements – we should all be grateful for the opportunity to make memories with our teams and spend time together.”


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