Harlem heads to state with chip on its shoulder

MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WIFR) Last year's trip to state left a sour taste in Harlem's mouth. The Huskies bowled a strong first round, but were not able to replicate those scores for the remainder of the weekend and after a fifth place finish, the 2017 champs are more than motivated to lift the trophy once again.

Harlem is fresh off a pair of runner-up finishes at the regional and sectional, which it lost only by a combined 21 pins.

The team believes its experience can carry it back to the title this weekend down in O'Fallon.

Only one bowler remains from that championship squad in Noah Mandujano, but both Josh Roth and Cody Lawrence watched from the bench that year and they want a ring.

Head coach Nick Whitmire says as long as his kids play to their potential, the pins should fall for them.

"It's good to get back after having maybe what we would consider disappointment down there last year," said Whitmire. "Obviously we pushed hard last year as well. It's not as if we didn't try. It was just one of those things where a couple other teams had better days than we did. A few of these kids have a chip on their shoulder and want to make sure we can prove ourselves. It's not an all or nothing thing. We just have o go down there and make good shots and put our best selves out there. If you get the title, you get the title and if you don't, just be happy with what you did."