By Bob Balgemann


ROCKTON – Hononegah High School sophomore Nick Sommer took center stage on the floor of the Illinois Senate March 9, when he was honored for his achievement in bowling.

He broke state and national records for high average – a 252.11 – during the recently concluded 2015-16 season.

He was joined by running back James Williams, a senior at Rockford Lutheran, who broke state career records for rushing touchdowns, yards gained and points scored on the football field.

Each received a proclamation to forever memorialize his accomplishments.

The ceremony was witnessed by their families. Nick’s dad, Brad Sommer, is head coach of the Hononegah boys varsity bowling team and previously was the head coach at Guilford, also in the NIC-10.

“It was a great experience and privilege to be honored today,” Nick said afterward. “Sen. (Dave) Syverson was very gracious with his time, giving my family a tour of the capital building and honoring myself and James Williams on the Senate floor with a proclamation.”

“The governor (Bruce Rauner) welcomed us into his office and shared stories about how his grandfather was an avid bowler,” Nick added.

While in the governor’s office, Nick watched him sign the proclamation, which had been approved by the Senate.

Brad Sommer called it a “very proud ‘dad day’ for sure.”

He said it was great to spend part of the day with James and his family. “There is a ton of talented athletes in northern Illinois, within our high schools,” he said. “Nick and James did an outstanding job representing our area today.”

Sen. Syverson, who has served in the Senate for more than 20 years, arranged the gathering while he and his colleagues were in session in Springfield. “These are two incredible young men,” he said of the athletes.

He pointed out that young Williams broke all of those offensive records while usually playing just half of a game. And an injury caused him to miss the last game of his high school career.

His playing time was limited because his team usually was so far ahead at halftime and “the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) doesn’t like teams running up scores,” the senator said.

Williams has decided to stay near home and attend Illinois State University in Bloomington this fall.

Nick Sommer led the NIC-10 with that 252 average this season. His team was conference champion while finishing second in the state, just 40 pins behind the champion, Lincolnshire-based Stevenson. The Indians were state champions the year before.

During the 2016 state tournament in downstate O’Fallon, Nick averaged 222 per game over the two days. He had a high game of 259.

In conference play, he had a season-high 300 game and also led the league with an three-game 824 series.

Last year another NIC-10 bowler, sophomore Jake Nimtz, was honored by the Illinois House of Representatives after his 3,011 pinfall set a new record for series at the state tournament. He also bowled two 300 games during the second morning of that event.

Athlete honored







Courtesy photo

Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) and Governor Bruce Rauner welcomed national record-breaking bowler Hononegah sophomore Nick Sommer and his family to the Illinois Capitol.

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