After a lackluster freshman year, Circle’s Jerod Hromek was determined to turn things around last year as a sophomore.
After all, a lackluster year is not good in what could be called the Hromek family business. Jerod’s father, Justin, played four years for Wichita State and was an All-American before joining the PBA Tour.
But Jerod rolled his way to a breakout year, capturing individual titles at the 5-1A regional and state tournaments last year. He won his state debut by 32 pins, putting the Thunderbirds in line for the team title.
However, Eisenhower pulled out a narrow victory by five pins, and that has Circle and Hromek hungrier for this season. Last year’s team title was one that got away, he said.
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“We could have won easily with just one more spare,” Hromek said.
The individual victory was nice, he said.
“But if I don’t strike a couple of times, it’s a lot closer,” Hromek said.
Added experience was a key to his turnaround, Hromek said.
“I took it a little more serious than I did my freshman season,” he said. “I just bowled better, worked with my dad and put in more practice time.”
So what is on tap for his junior season?
“We don’t have high expectations, but we’d like to go to state again,” he said. “Last year was the highest score we’ve ever shot.”
The focus is clearer this year, Hromek said.
“We’re emphasizing spares this year,” he said. “We’re taking practice a little more seriously, too. Last year, we goofed off too much.”
As for his personal goals, a repeat state title would be nice, but he really just wants to bowl well and keep his average high. He began with a 763 series Thursday that included a 300 game at Derby.
When your dad is a pro bowler, it’s not unusual to see other former Shockers on the pro tour stopping by from time to time, and Hromek said he has used those visits to improve his game.
“Sean Rash helped me out and has given me different tips about spares and let me practice with him,” Hromek said. “Being around pros helps my mental game.”
Outside of school, Hromek can be found working the front desk part-time at Thunderbird Bowl in Wichita.
Hromek still has two years of high school, but becoming a part of the respected Shocker bowling program is definitely in his future in a sport he has played since age 7.
“I’ve always been in a bowling alley,” he said.
AREA BOWLERS TO WATCH
Andover – Boys: Jordan Dotson, jr.; Sam Plummer, sr.; Cliff Brubaker, jr.; Michael Reneau, jr.; Colin Esworthy, sr.
Andover Central – Boys: Cord Whiteker, jr.; Denver Smith, so.; Josh Wood, jr.; Spencer Malinauskus, so.; Girls: Caaley Wheeler, sr.; Heather James, sr.; Natalie Howarter, so.; Maddie Clark, jr.
Buhler – Boys: Chase Myrtle, jr.; Colton MacArthur, so.; Karson Nisly, jr.
Cheney – Girls: Kelsey Reida, sr.
Circle – Boys: Cade Liby, sr.
Collegiate – Boys: Jack Stewart, sr.; Michael Park, so.
Derby – Boys: Noah Brooks, jr.; Sam Kerbs, sr.; Bryce Morgan, sr.; Justin Ash, sr.; Girls: Brooke Webb, sr.
El Dorado – Boys: Bryant Asian, jr.; Spencer Gannon, sr. Girls: Chelsey Harber, sr.; Destiny Bowlin, jr.; Mariah Hart, sr.; Jessica Travnicek, sr.
Maize – Boys: Merrill Conner, sr.; Michael VanDeest, so.; Sam Cohlmia, jr.; Brenton Mauldin, jr.; Garrett Karp, so.; Girls: Cheyenne Esser, sr.; Susan Forgie, sr.; Jaden Light, jr.; Gabby Winegarner, jr.; Melody Rozner, so.
Maize South – Boys: Kevin Foster, sr.; Cody Houle, sr.; Cade Delperdang, jr.; Casey Doyle, jr.; Sean Whitaker, jr.; Cameron Davis, so.; Robbie Krueger, so.; Girls: Natalie Knapp, sr.
Mulvane – Boys: Matt Temple, jr.; Jordan Blaine, jr.; Greg Houser, jr.; Girls: Larissa Ester, sr.; Kiley White, sr.; Hannah Burget, jr.; Katie Gile, so.; Megan Ruyle, jr.; Allie Federico, sr.
AREA TEAMS’ SCHEDULES
9 – Hutchinson, Goddard at Maize triangular, West Acres Bowl, 3:30 p.m.; Andale at McPherson. 10 – Carroll Invitational, West Acres Bowl, 10 a.m. 12 – Eisenhower at Cheney, Cheney Lanes. 13 – Buhler at Circle, Grizzly Bowl (El Dorado), 4; Maize, Andover at Newton triangular; Hutchinson at Salina South-Salina Central triangular. 14 – Maize South at Andover, The Alley, 3:30. 15 – Andover Central, Salina South at Derby, Derby Bowl, 3:30; Mulvane at Collegiate, The Alley, 4. 16 – North, Independent, Newton at Trinity Academy quad, Northrock Lanes, 3:30; Andover Central at Goddard, West Acres, 3:30; Buhler at Andale, West Acres Bowl, 3:30; Augusta at McPherson. 20 – Goddard, Salina Central at Campus, Seneca Bowl, 3:30; Andale at Mulvane, Derby Bowl, 4; Maize, Andover at Salina South triangular; Andover Central, Salina Sacred Heart at Newton triangular. 21 – Hutchinson, Eisenhower at Andover triangular, Northrock Lanes, 3:30. 22 – El Dorado at Augusta, 4; Collegiate vs. Buhler at Newton; Goddard at Cheney. 23 – Great Plains Girls Bowl, Northrock Lanes, 10 a.m. Maize South at Goddard, West Acres, 3:30. 24 – Great Plains Boys Bowl, Northrock Lanes, 10 a.m. 27 – Newton, Independent at Campus, Seneca Bowl, 3:30; Mulvane at Augusta, Holiday Bowl, 4; McPherson at Circle, Grizzly Bowl (El Dorado), 4; Derby at Salina Central. 29 – Eisenhower, Newton at Derby, Derby Bowl, 3:30; Augusta at Circle, Grizzly Bowl (El Dorado), 4; Buhler at Mulvane, Derby Bowl, 4. 30 – Kapaun at Trinity Academy triangular, Northrock Lanes, 3:30. 30 – Andover at Andover Central, Northrock Lanes, 4; Collegiate at Andale, West Acres Bowl, 3:30; Eisenhower at Maize South, West Acres Bowl, 3:30; Hutchinson, El Dorado at McPherson triangular.
2 – Hutchinson, Cheney at Campus, Seneca Bowl, 3:30. 3 – Eisenhower, Salina Central at Newton triangular; Andale at Circle, Grizzly Bowl (El Dorado), 4; McPherson at Mulvane, Derby Bowl, 4. 4 – Hutchinson at Andover, The Alley, 3:30. 5 – Augusta, Cheney at Collegiate triangular, The Alley, 3:30; Buhler at El Dorado, Grizzly Bowl, 4. 6 – Newton, Andover at Heights triangular, Northrock Lanes, 3:30; Maize South at Andover Central, Northrock Lanes, 3:30; Goddard, Dodge City at Eisenhower triangular, 3:30. 7 – East, North, Northwest, Southeast, West, Derby, Augusta, El Dorado, Goddard, Maize, Andale, Independent, Buhler, Circle, Mulvane at Campus Invitational, Seneca Bowl, 2 p.m. 10 – Hutchinson at Derby, Derby Bowl, 3:30; Salina South, Cheney at Newton triangular. 12 – Andale at Augusta, Holiday Bowl, 4; McPherson, Salina Central vs. Buhler at Newton, 4; Mulvane at El Dorado, Grizzly Bowl, 4. 13 – Campus, Maize South at Maize Invitational, West Acres Bowl, 3:30; Goddard at Andover, The Alley, 3:30; Eisenhower at Andover Central, Northrock Lanes, 3:30; Hutchinson, Emporia at Newton triangular. 14 – Andale, Andover Central, Augusta, Maize South, Mulvane, Collegiate, Great Bend at Andover tournament, The Alley, 8 a.m. 18-19 – AV-CTL Division III tournament, The Alley. 19 – AV-CTL Division I tournament, Seneca Bowl, 2. 21 – AV-CTL Division II tournament, Seneca Bowl, 2 p.m. 23-24 – Regionals.
6 – State tournament, Northrock Lanes.