The top 15 high school bowlers in the Rockford area as the postseason rolls on

·5 min read

After six Rockford-area teams and 13 more locals advanced past last weekend's regionals and into sectionals, the bowling season is nearing the pinnacle.

For the first time in two years there will be an Illinois High School Association state tournament. Harlem, Hononegah and Freeport's boys all showed they are ready to make a run at a championship with powerful runs through regionals.

The girls bowling postseason begins with the Harlem Regional on Feb. 5. But the boys are already in the thick of it.

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"There was no postseason for us last year, so this is big," Hononegah coach Brad Sommer said. "For us, it's time to quit coming in second this year."

After Hononegah placed second in the national tournament last summer, Harlem edged Hononegah by 30 pins in its regular-season dual to snag the NIC-10 title, putting Hononegah in second. The Huskies, even though they graduated the last IHSA individual state champ Ethan Pash last year, also relegated Hononegah to second place in five tourneys this season.

That includes Saturday's regional, where Jermarrion Simmons led the Huskies to the victory with a regional-best (and a season-best for him) 1,424 series.

Jermarrion Simmons poses with the regional championship plaque after sparking Harlem to the team title by winning the individual title on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Rockford.
Jermarrion Simmons poses with the regional championship plaque after sparking Harlem to the team title by winning the individual title on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Rockford.

"I just had a terrible match a couple of days before regionals, and I told myself 'Jermarrion, you have to be better, you have to be a better leader,'" Simmons said. "It's an amazing feeling to bowl so well in a big spot. We showed teams that Harlem is here, we're ready to compete, and we're not letting up."

With just two more boys tournaments left — starting with Saturday's Hononegah Sectional at Viking Lanes and concluding with the state finals in O'Fallon on Jan. 28-29 — let's take a look at who's hot headed down the stretch.

Here are the top 15 boys bowlers to watch headed into sectionals and state, in alphabetical order:

Wyatt Anderson, Belvidere

The junior was one of three Bucs to roll over 1,200 at the Boylan Regional, sparking Belvidere to fourth as a team, just making it in to sectionals as a squad. Anderson rolled a 1,247 series, averaging over 207 per game after averaging 194 during the regular season.

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Johnny Carter, Belvidere

The junior led the way for Belvidere with a 1,264 series at regionals. He led the team with a 209 average during the season, and then averaged over 210 in last weekend's tourney.

Justin Curtis, Belvidere North

The junior was not one of the four Belvidere North bowlers to average over 200 during the regular season. But he found a way to really turn it up at regionals, rolling a 1,362 for a 227 average.

Charlie Hunt, Hononegah

Hononegah's Charlie Hunt gets set to release during this season's action. Hunt and Hononegah advanced out of regionals and into next weekend's sectionals as a team.
Hononegah's Charlie Hunt gets set to release during this season's action. Hunt and Hononegah advanced out of regionals and into next weekend's sectionals as a team.

Hunt rolled a 1,286 series to help spark Hononegah to second place at Saturday's Boylan Regional. Using his two-handed bowling style, Hunt has been one of the league's most consistent bowlers this year, averaging 218, tied for fourth best all year.

"He's just been one of the most steady bowlers around this year, and I expect him to keep it going," Sommer said of Hunt. "He's really found his way with that two-handed style, and we're looking for big things from him."

Isaac Kaltenbrun, Oregon

Although it wasn't enough to boost Oregon in to sectionals as a team, Kaltenbrun rolled a 1,204 series and advanced as an individual. The senior will look to keep it going at this weekend's sectional.

Connor Mooney, Hononegah

Mooney, now a senior, was up and down this regular season, but he rolled a 1,293 series Saturday, the second best on the team and the 10th best in the field.

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Logan Moore, Hononegah

This junior rolled the third-best series of the Boylan Regional with a 1,366, and he continues to come up big in big tourneys.

Sam Moran, Belvidere North

Moran had the highest average out of any NIC-10 bowler during the regular season, and then he rolled a 1,297 on Saturday to spark the Blue Thunder to a third-place finish in their regional. Moran is looked at as a top medalist contender at state if he bowls like he did this season during the postseason.

Chad Morgan, Belvidere

The sophomore rolled a 1,258 on Saturday. He averaged 209 during the regular season.

Nathan Perkins, Belvidere North

With a 1,306 at sectionals, and with a 221 average on the season, good for a tie for second in the conference, Perkins appears to be ready to show he belongs in the big tourneys.

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Kamdyn Raymond, Freeport

This junior led Freeport to the Sterling Regional title with a 1,311 series, finishing second in that field. Raymond averaged 210 this season.

Eric Roberts, Harlem

Roberts poured it on with a 1,380 for Harlem at regionals, and he appeared to be ready to help the Huskies make a deep run in the postseason. Roberts has been a key cog to Harlem's depth this season, averaging 221 tied for second in the league.

Braden Schuld, Harlem

Schuld rolled a strong 1,345 series at regionals, and has been solid all season long with a season average of 216. He's one of six Huskies to average over 200 this regular season.

Jermarrion Simmons, Harlem boys bowling
Jermarrion Simmons, Harlem boys bowling

Jermarrion Simmons, Harlem

Simmons dominated at regionals, rolling a season-best 1,424 series, which is the second-best series rolled at any regional in Illinois this year. "This is just momentum, that's all," Simmons said. "But we're going to use it. We want to use it all the way to that state championship."

Payton Worker, Freeport

This freshman led the team with a 217 average during the season, and he then stormed out and rolled a 1,264 series at regionals to spark the Pretzels again. This is a bowler to watch for years to come.

Jay Taft: jtaft@rrstar.com; @JayTaft

This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: IHSA bowling: Rockford area's top boys bowlers at sectionals, state

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