Kyle Bonnell felt a little out of place. The Sycamore junior brought only two bowling balls to the state meet, and as he looked around, he saw his competitors had five or six and were constantly switching depending on the situation.
But as he looked around, he noticed the intensity was a notch higher than what he was used to.
“It was crazy,” Bonnell said. “They take it a lot more seriously down there than I expected. I’m not used to taking it that seriously. I just started out bowling for something to do, I never thought I would get to the state point.”
Bonnell was the only area bowler to qualify for the state meet, and he was named Daily Chronicle Boys Bowler of the Year for his accomplishments.
Bonnell always knew there was another level to which he could step up his game.
But now that he was seeing it with his own eyes, he began to take his goals more seriously.
He didn’t make it past the first day, finishing with a score of 1,219, but he thinks just making it that far and measuring up against the best will help him improve.
“It makes me want to be more competitive about it and go down there and possibly go farther than I did this year,” Bonnell said. “I’m definitely going to practice more so that I know I can be consistent all the time. I’m probably going to get some more bowling balls so that I have something to go to if I need a change.”
The fact that Bonnell made it as far as the state meet in the first place was a bit of a surprise. Bonnell went through a slump midway through the season after adjusting to a new bowling ball, and he finished second to teammate Brendan Fank for most of the season. But at the sectional meet, he had the bowling day of his life, finishing with a six-game score of 1375 to win the meet, almost 300 pins better than he had at the conference meet.
Coming into the season, it was always Bonnell and Fank’s goal for one of them to make it to the state meet. But as the season went by, it seemed less and less likely.
“Nobody expected me to make it,” Bonnell said. “I didn’t even expect it. We all expected him to [qualify].”
Next season, qualifying won’t be a far-off goal for Bonnell, it’ll be an expectation.
“Me and Brendan made a goal that we’re both going to state,” he said. “We want to finish first and second in sectionals or make it as a team so we can both go down there.”
2012-13 DAILY CHRONICLE BOYS BOWLING ALL-AREA TEAM
Kyle Bonnell, Sycamore, junior
This year, Bonnell shockingly won the DeKalb Sectional to qualify individually for the state meet. With a summer of hard work, Bonnell hopes he can make it to the second day of the state meet next year along with teammate Brendan Fank.
Michael Beluzzi, sophomore, DeKalb
Big things are expected of the sophomore next year after he finished fifth at the sectional meet with a score of 1,280. He'll help lead a strong crop of returning Barbs.
Seth Pinne, DeKalb, junior
Pinne led the Barbs to second place at the Northern Illinois Big 12 conference meet. He was the highest area finisher in the meet with a score of 1,230.
Brendan Fank, Sycamore, junior
Fank was Sycamore's highest finisher all year. He and Bonnell will return to lead a strong conference contender next year, and the Spartans will have a good chance of making it to the state meet.
Sean Mattingly, DeKalb, sophomore
Mattingly finished 10th at the Northern Illinois Big 12 meet, returning after a standout freshman season. He'll expect a berth in the state meet next year alongside Pinne and Beluzzi.