Castle Challenge basketball match raises $59K for DeKalb, Sycamore high schools

By Rosie Villegas

Friday’s 15th annual Castle Challenge concluded with a win for Sycamore women’s basketball, DeKalb men’s basketball and $59,000 for the schools to split.

Castle Bank pairs up with NIU and local and national organizations to support the DeKalb High School and Sycamore High School booster clubs. The two high schools participate in friendly competition with football in the fall and basketball in the winter.

A crowd gathered in the Convocation Center as the event began with the women’s varsity team of Sycamore High School beating DeKalb High School with a score of 55-24, followed by a DeKalb men’s varsity win over Sycamore, 43-24. The rivalry was evident, as the white and gold, toga-sporting Sycamore students and neon-orange-dressed DeKalb students cheered their teams on as their schools’ mascots, along with NIU’s Victor E. Huskie, taunted one another in front of the crowd.

Scott Heimosh, DeKalb High School cheerleader, said he was excited for the challenge and said a lot of preparation went into the event. During halftime of the men’s game, the schools’ dance teams performed and the grand reveal of $59,000 raised was made, with $29,500 being given to each school’s booster club.

Tracy Harris, a DeKalb High School booster club member, said the Castle Challenge game is of great importance to the DeKalb and Sycamore communities.

“This event takes place to bring the DeKalb, Sycamore and NIU community together,” Harris said. “We prepare for weeks for the social event that brings everyone together. It is all about unity.”

NIU fraternity Phi Sigma Kappa volunteered at the Castle Challenge, their philanthropy. Members ran challenge zone games for kids as well as bounce houses. Aaron Vazquez, sophomore business management major and Phi Sigma Kappa member, said it was great to be a part of an event that unifies the community.