Spotlight: Headon sisters enjoying friendly rivalry

Seniors Autumn Headon and Aubrey Headon are having fun during their final season with the Rochelle varsity girls bowling team. The girls admittedly have a competitive rivalry with one another as well. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Seniors having fun during final year with Rochelle girls bowling team

Senior sisters Autumn and Aubrey Headon have a friendly rivalry when they’re together on the lanes. The twins have given the Rochelle varsity girls bowling team a competitive spark this season, and their level-headed nature has allowed them to become role models for their younger teammates.

Both girls were honored before Rochelle’s Senior Night match against Oregon on Thursday, and it was the first time that the girls were recognized together for any varsity sport at Rochelle Township High School. Autumn has been with the girls bowling program for four years, spending three years on the varsity team.

“The one thing I appreciate about Autumn is how even-keeled she is,” head coach Joey Johanning said. “You’ll never know if she’s rolled her highest game ever or if she’s rolled her lowest game ever. She’s so good at maintaining such a calm demeanor, and over the last couple of years, it’s been very welcoming. Sports involved a lot of emotion, and to have a rock like Autumn has been really important for our team.”

Inspired by her older cousin Brandon LaRue, Autumn picked up a bowling ball for the first time when she was 3 years old. She’s been a regular league bowler at T-Byrd Lanes, coming up through the bowling alley’s youth program before joining the RTHS program. Her fondest memories include winning her Most Valuable Player medal after rolling five consecutive strikes during baker bowling action while with the Lady Hubs.

“I enjoy the game and I really like my teammates,” Autumn said. “They’re a really interesting bunch of people I always enjoy seeing them… I feel like I’ve improved my overall game. It’s fun being around other people, learning about their interests and sharing those interests. I think our season has gone pretty well. Bowling with Aubrey gets my competitive nature going.”

Aubrey has been with the RTHS bowling program for two seasons, moving back and forth between varsity and junior varsity as a junior before becoming a regular player in the varsity lineup her senior year. She was convinced to join the Lady Hubs by Autumn roughly two years ago, and Johanning said that Aubrey has been a welcome addition to the program.

“Aubrey’s a competitor and she loves being out there,” Johanning said. “She’s reliable and she’s consistent. She keeps things light with the team and she makes all of us laugh. We’ve had some rough games and some great games throughout the year, but having Autumn and Aubrey together, it’s been wonderful watching their rivalry and having the opportunity to laugh along with them.”

While bowling may not be her primary sport, as she shines in both the swimming pool and in track and field as a U.S. Paralympic athlete, Aubrey said she’s enjoyed having the chance to play alongside her sister. And like Autumn, Aubrey admitted the girls stay competitive with one another while they’re on the lanes.

“She’s my sister so we do have a very competitive rivalry,” Aubrey said. “I just throw the ball down the lane and I hope to hit pins. I think I’ve improved a little bit, but I think I’m more of a track and field person. It was exciting being recognized with Autumn. It’s been a lot of fun getting out of school and meeting new people.”

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