Rivalry takes over Convo

By Alissa Jacob

DeKalb and Sycamore High School students are gearing up for one of the schools’ biggest rivalry games.

The Annual Castle Challenge will give the young players of two high school basketball teams a chance to show their skills at 6 p.m. Friday at the Convocation Center. The game will be played between the Sycamore High School and DeKalb High School basketball teams.

Heather Priest, assistant marketing director of the Convocation Center, said she has been preparing for the game by promoting the event through the websites niuconvo.com and castlechallenge.com.

“The Crosstown Challenge is a way to bring the entire community together each year,” Priest said.

Tamra Ropeter, principal of DeKalb High School, said she is excited because there is a lot of community involvement.

“I was pleasantly surprised at last year’s turnout. It was my first year as principal. The kids were very respectful to each other,” Ropeter said. “A lot of the excitement leading up to the game was due to the assembly we held to get all grade levels involved.”

Chauncey Carrick, athletic director of Sycamore High School, said the rivalry between the two schools started due to their proximity, and the profits for the Castle Challenge will go to the Athletic Departments of Sycamore High School and DeKalb High School.

“It is going to be a highly competitive game. The two teams have a chance to show support for each other and help raise money for the two athletic programs,” Carrick said.

Tickets are on sale at the Convocation Center, both high schools, Castle Bank, the Kishwaukee YMCA and local middle schools. Kids are also welcome to enjoy the Challenge Zone, which includes bounce houses, mascots, a DJ, Cheer Challenges, 50/50 Raffle, performances by the NIU Silverettes dance team, and a chance to obtain an autograph from 5:30-6:30 p.m. with Indianapolis Colt quarterback Chandler Harnish, Miss Iowa USA Carlyn Bradarich and WGN personality Dolly McCarthy.

Local businesses, organizations and individuals were “Challenged” to help raise funds that improve athletic programs for grades six through 12, and the proceedings will be split equally among the two schools’ athletic booster organizations.

Eric Schultz, Associate Director at the Convocation Center, said he is pleased to accommodate the game, and the stadium fills about 4,500 seats on average every year and tickets are sold for $6 per seat.

“The game is a great event for the local community and allows whomever from DeKalb, Sycamore or [the] surrounding area to attend the game,” Schultz said.