By Bob Balgemann


While the coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented changes for sports teams throughout the United States, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) has worked to be sure there would be a 2020-21 season for its hundreds of high schools and their student-athletes.

Harlem is among them, of course, and not long ago the Huskies finished an abbreviated fall season for their six teams.

Boys and girls cross country, boys and girls golf, girls swimming and diving and girls tennis teams consisted of 98 competitors, among them 31 seniors.

The girls tennis team had the most seniors, nine. They were Kayley Aurand, Lily Bennett, Haley Bibby, Aurora Drevs, Oriana Gjini, Taylor Goodwin, Delaney Johnson, Alexandra Riley and Madison Rush.

There were 22 juniors, sophomores and freshmen, setting the table for an experienced squad to take the court in 2021.

That group included juniors Brooke Decho and Haley Massari; sophomores Emilia Garcia, Abby Saltow, Shaeann Savalick, Kelly Schemel, Olivia Van Hise and Molly Williams; and freshmen Cassandra Claeyssen, Maya Hargraves, Tara Kuehne and Whitney Schlaht. 

Harlem entertained this year’s 2A tennis sectional. Other entries were Belvidere North, DeKalb, Rockford Auburn, Rockford East, Rockford Guilford, Rockford Jefferson and Hononegah. There was no advancement from this event, so it concluded the 2020 season.

Head coach for the Lady Huskies was Bill Dredge.

The girls swimming and diving team had six seniors, who took center stage for the last time in October as they led Harlem into the state tournament series sectional at Byron. They were Trinity Eissens, Taylor Hargraves, Arianna Kerchmar, Haylee McGuire, Piper Richardson and Laura Schuman.

That meet wrapped up the season, as there was no advancement from the sectional.

Joining Harlem at the sectional are Belvidere North Co-op, host Byron Co-op, Freeport, Rochelle, Rockford Auburn, Boylan Catholic, Rockford East, Rockford Guilford, Rockford Jefferson, Rockford Lutheran, Rockford Christian and Hononegah.

During the regular season, the Lady Huskies finished 5-3 in the NIC-10 and in sole possession of fourth place.

This year’s swim team, in addition to the seniors, consisted of numerous contributors including juniors Paige Carpenter, Olivia Disch, Stekenya Gibson, Allison McDonald, Emma Rich, and Sheryl A. Wehde; sophomores Julianna Edwards and Jaime Wedding; and freshmen Carlie Buetsch, Julia Gyruk, Olivia Hall, Madyson Jenkins, Maya Johnson, Ella Kinison, Serenity Maynard, Karalynn Prouty, Madilyn Rich, Jada Seerup and Zoe Shields.

First-year head coach was Todd Mueller.

There were five seniors on the boys golf team, including Eli Barefield, Parker Bernabe, Dylan Henderson, Nathan Kardell and Wyatt Miles. Junior Zach Burfoot was a sectional qualifier in October; juniors Zachery Brien, Adam Fairbanks and Mason Martin; sophomore Jack Erickson; and freshman Grant Redington also were on this team.

Head coach was Scott Lemke, assisted by Doug Livingston.

Also having five seniors was the girls cross country team. Those leaders for the Lady Huskies were Alisyn MacGregor, Miranda Marocco, Faith Procopio, Kiona Scott and Jadyn Totz. Their teammates were juniors Gracie Davenport, Aaliyah Haun and Karissa Hernandez; sophomores Hailey Ferguson, Abbigail MacGregor, Katelyn Penning, Ella Shaw and Cierra Watton; and freshmen Juliana Hardt, Madison Hawn, Lauren Johnson and Kaitlyn Toepfer.

Head coach for the Lady Huskies was Kelsey Lueshen.

The cross country regionals for both boys and girls were held the same day, at Rockford Guilford. The entries were the same for both meets, from Algonquin Jacobs, Carpentersville Dundee-Crown, DeKalb, Elgin Larkin, Huntley, Auburn, Rockford East, Rockford Jefferson and Hononegah.

There were three seniors on the boys cross country team: Nick Greenland, Aiden Gruden and Roger McGee Jr. Other contributors during the season were juniors Telmuun Batzul, Austin Durnil, Adam Gault, Aktanay Kwazdran, Julian Lugo, Jack Seymour and Kadin Woods; sophomores Elisha Hernandez and Tyler Wehde; and freshman Dylan Malmgren.

Head coach for the Huskies was Mike Oliveri.

Three seniors also led the girls golf team with one of them, Brighton Young, qualifying for the season-ending state sectional tournament at Carpentersville Dundee-Crown. She shot an 18-hole round of 78 to tie for fourth place. In addition, she was the regional medalist, with a 71. 

Other seniors on this year’s team were Camille Herdklotz and Lily Runyard. The rest of the team consisted of juniors Keyara Bailey, Kaylie Banks, Kaitlyn Hardy, Reese Stovall and Mya Udell; and freshmen Taelor Paulsen, Eva Perez and Paige Stovall.

Head coach was Brad Sweet, assisted by Livingston.

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