By Bob Balgemann


The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has accepted a modified sports schedule/plan that was approved July 29 by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) for its member teams in 2020-21. Concurrence for its proposal came from IDPH on Aug. 14.

That means the revised schedule initially will affect the boys and girls golf teams, girls tennis, boys and girls cross country and girls swimming and diving teams. They will play from Aug. 10 through Oct. 24, with state tournaments wrapping up their seasons.

All six teams were considered by IDPH to be low risk for their players being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to affect the entire world.

Fall head coaches are Todd Mueller, new to the girls swimming and diving team; Scott Lemke, girls golf; Brad Sweet, boys golf; Bill Dredge, girls tennis; Kelsey Lueshen, girls cross country; and Mike Oliveri, boys cross country.

Last year junior Brighton Young qualified for state in girls golf. She did so by shooting 82 at the Harlem regional and 78 at the Mount Prospect sectional. At state, she shot 79-76 over the two days to tie for 18th place in the 70-girl field with a 155.

Winter sports

The winter sports lineup is very familiar.

Teams on the list of competitors are boys and girls basketball, boys and girls bowling, boys swimming and diving, wrestling, and competitive cheerleading, and competitive dance. Their season will begin Nov. 16 and conclude with state tournaments on Feb. 13.

There are varying levels of risk among those teams. Boys and girls bowling and boys swimming are considered to be low risk; boys and girls basketball is medium; and cheerleading, dance, and wrestling are high.

Head coaches for the coming season are Bethany Meyer in girls basketball; Mike Winters, boys basketball; Jim Heathscott, girls bowling; Nick Whitmire, boys bowling; Todd Mueller, boys swimming; Sam Enderle, wrestling; Rebecca Doxtater, competitive cheerleading; and Summer Henderson, competitive dance.

The girls bowling team was the NIC-10 champion and finished second at state in 2019-20. The boys bowling team also won the conference title while taking seventh at state. Senior Ethan Pash was the individual state champion.

Harlem’s competitive cheer team returned to state and Doxtater was a coach of the year at Harlem.

Eickstead also was a coach of the year and her boys swimming team had an exemplary season, finishing second in the conference. That was her last year as head coach and she now is assistant coach of the boys swimming and diving team at nearby Beloit, Wis. College.

The girls basketball team finished the season strong, winning 11 of its last 13 games, including seven in a row. The Lady Huskies were 11-7 in the conference and 18-14 overall.

In wrestling, five members of that team were first team, all-conference.

And in competitive dance, this group of Lady Huskies led all winter sports teams by having 14 NIC-10 scholar athletes.

Spring sports

The spring sports season opens Feb. 15, 2021, and continues until May 1. Competitors include football, always a fall team in the past, boys soccer and girls volleyball. Risk factors for those teams are football, high; boys soccer, medium; and girls volleyball, medium.

Harlem’s record-setting senior quarterback, James Cooper Jr., returns for his fourth season on the varsity with Bob Moynihan in his second year as head coach. In 2019, the Huskies finished 7-3 and reached the state playoffs for the 12th consecutive year.

He replaced 15-year Harlem head coach Jim Morrow, who after one year of retirement has signed on as head coach of nearby Belvidere, also a member of the NIC-10.

Spring head coaches other than Moynihan are David Chu, boys soccer, and Gretchen Kuchinski, girls volleyball.

Summer sports

Summertime always was reserved for high school baseball teams competing in the summer league, while the football team had drills including 7-on-7 competitions against schools from the suburbs and southern Wisconsin.

This year summer will see a continuation of the 2020-21 high school season with baseball, softball, boys and girls track, girls soccer, and boys tennis. Head coaches are Scott McCloy, baseball; Kurt Head, softball; Brad Heidenreich, girls soccer; Bill Dredge, boys tennis; Scott Scholl, girls track; Mike Oliveri, boys track.

Risk factors for those sports, according to the IDPH, are baseball, softball, boys track, girls track, and boys tennis, low, and girls soccer, medium.

This season will begin May 3 and conclude June 26.



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