The 2018 IHSA Boys Bowling State Finals will unfold on Friday and Saturday, January 26-27 at St. Clair Bowl in O'Fallon.
Eight of the Top 12 teams from the 2017 field return to the 2018 championships, but the story of the weekend starts firmly at the top with the trophy teams from a year ago.
Defending state champ Harlem, runner-up Hononegah and third-place O’Fallon all appear to have all reloaded, as the three programs tallied the top team pinfalls in the state during last week’s Sectional round. Harlem again came in the top spot with a Sectional score of 6,526, while O’Fallon (6,480) and Hononegah (6,395) switched spots this time around.
Junior Noah Mandujano was the key to Harlem’s first state championship in school history last year, as the current junior placed 8th in the state in 2017 with a score of 2,665. Meanwhile, junior Cody Lawrence has emerged, posting a team-high 1,390 at Sectionals.
Hononegah has now been the runner-up in back-to-back seasons after claiming the state crown in 2015. The Indians top two scorers from last year’s state meet graduated, but the brother tandem of senior Nick (1,398) and junior Jacob Sommer (1,304) both cleared 1,300 pins at Sectionals and can keep the team in trophy contention for a fourth straight year.
O’Fallon has placed in the Top 5 six years in a row, winning four trophies in that span, and hopes to hoist its first state title trophy in program history this weekend. Junior Donny Richards (1,394) paced the Panthers at Sectionals, while senior Mark Hoerner placed 25th in the state last year (2,582).
Freeport (6th) just missed a Top 5 team finish a year ago, and with the top scorer from that squad returning in senior Julian Dyson (T15th, 2,630 in 2017), the Pretzels have their sights set on their first trophy since 2007, when they were state champs.
Lake Park is another serious contender with a previous state title (2008) on its resume. The Lancers were seventh a year ago and tallied the fourth-best Sectional pinfall (6,363) in the state last week. Freshman Jason Gutkowski (1,357) paced Lake Park to the Sectional team title and is surrounded by several bowlers with state final experience.
Lincoln-Way West welcomes back the 1-2 punch of senior Caleb Kirby (11th, 2,651 in 2017) and junior Michael Nork (50th, 2,471) from a Top 10 team in 2017 (9th), while fellow district school Lincoln-Way Central won its Sectional with the state’s fifth-best pinfall (6,343) and was the lone Sectional team champ to also produce an individual Sectional winner (Alex Nolan, 1,316).
A glut of Top 30 individual players from a year ago graduated or did not qualify for the state final field in 2018, opening up the chance for several players to improve on their individual standing. That group includes Freeburg senior Tyler Hunter and Columbia junior Justin Budde, who have both guided their respective teams to the state tourney this weekend. Hunter, a 2018 individual Sectional champ, is one of two Top 10 returnees in the field after placing seventh a year ago with a score of 2,666, while Budde was 24th last season (2,587).
Three individual qualifiers to watch on the leaderboard, who were all among the Top 35 a year ago, include Morgan Park senior Reginald Petty (29th, 2,562 in 2017), Niles North senior Avery Wolf (T31st, 2,552) and Lockport senior Alex Buchaas (T31st, 2,552).
Stevenson senior Lucas Pinkus (1,547) and Reavis senior Omar Martinez (1,396) round out the individual Sectional winners, with Pinkus’ efforts helping the Patriots reach the state meet as a team after a one-year absence.
There are no entries this season in the Wheelchair Division.
16th year of State Series
16th year at St. Clair Bowl
6th year of Wheelchair Division
St. Clair Bowl (O'Fallon)
O'Fallon High School
Friday, January 26
9:15 AM - Opening Ceremonies
9:45 AM - Start Round 1
1:00 PM - Start Round 2
Saturday, January 27
9:15 AM - Introductions
9:45 AM - Start Round 3 & Wheelchair Class
1:00 PM - Start Round 4
4:00 PM - Awards
Qualifiers & Lane Assignments
RESULTS & LIVE STATS
Live Leaderboard - Mobile
Friday Prelim Results
Saturday Finals Results
#IHSA on Twitter
Twitter - @IHSAstate
Instagram - @IHSA_IL
Classic IHSA YouTube Video
OFFICIAL STATE FINAL
Gear from Minerva
Photos from VIP
Wilson Sporting Goods
HISTORY & RECORDS
2018 State Series Results
Record Book & Past Champions