Hononegah boys place 2nd; two Harlem girls rise to top at U.S. bowling championships

Hononegah boys place 2nd; two Harlem girls rise to top at U.S. bowling championships

In its final go-round for the 2020-21 sports year, the Hononegah boys team placed second, and a pair of Harlem girls earned the top two spots in the individual standings, at this year’s U.S. High School Bowling National Championships on Sunday in Dayton, Ohio.

“We just dominated in qualifying; just dominated,” Hononegah head coach Brad Sommer said. “But then they wipe the slate clean, and we couldn’t quite get it going in that last one. This was truly a team effort for us, though. We really didn’t have that one MVP; everybody did their part.

Led by the same group that won the Hononegah Invitational at Don Carter Lanes on Feb. 22, which was the unofficial state tournament, Hononegah stormed out to a big lead and the No. 1 seed after the qualifying rounds of the national championships. But the team couldn’t hold the momentum and fell to Centerville, Ohio, 658-613 in the finals. The team set three national tournament records along the way, with Baker scoring records for two games (535), three (792) and six (1,441).

“It was our final high school matches, and it was on such a major stage. It was really intense,” said Justin Mooney, one of four seniors who bowled for Hononegah over the weekend. “It was a great feeling to come away with that second. We wanted that win, for sure, but we came together as a team and fought with everything we had at the end there. That’s all that counted.

Hononegah also took second at another version of a state meet on June 12 at the Illinois State Bowling Proprietors Association, which invites the top 12 teams in the state to compete.

In the individual showdown, Charlie Hunt placed ninth and Cameron Tyler took 10th for Hononegah. Harlem’s Eric Roberts was the top local boy with a third-place finish.

On the girls side, a pair of Harlem bowlers finished their prep careers in a big way as Olivia Watton and Jocelynn Eggert took first and second, respectively, in the final individual standings. Those two seniors are headed to Rock Valley to bowl next year, along with Tyler and 15 of the other top bowlers from the area.

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