Scholastic Bowl team heads to regionals

Katie Schober, Staff Writer

The ETHS Scholastic Bowl team is heading to regionals on March sixth, looking to continue their impressive season. The Varsity team, composed of juniors and seniors has been on a winning streak recently, winning their last six matches. The JV team, made up of freshmen and sophomores, has had an extraordinary season this year, going undefeated in their conference tournaments so far.   

Scholastic Bowl, also known as Quiz Bowl, is an academic competition where students compete in 2 opposing teams to answer questions in various categories. The topics typically include things like Literature, Science, History, Geography and Art. 

There is a lot of information necessary to know for a competition like this. It is certainly no easy feat to memorize such a quantity of facts. To make this easier on them, the team members are often specialized in certain categories. However, they still learn material in all of the categories, cramming as much as they can to increase their chances of taking home the win.

Practices are incredibly valuable for the team since they can pick up tons of new information from each other and practice materials. 

“We go through so much information every practice that I feel like I learn so much in an hour and a half,” said sophomore Pippa Walker.

One of the techniques used by the team is a website called Protobowl. It simulates a competition, reading you a question and giving you a short amount of time to provide an answer. Also helpful are the “You Gotta Know” lists, provided by the NAQT, the National Academic Quiz Tournaments. These layout information incredibly important to know for competitions in specific categories like Greek Heroes or Silent Films. 

Students can also pick up facts on their own time, and bountiful information can conveniently be found in the classroom.

“Paying attention in classes is one of the better ‘bang for buck’ things you can do to do well in scholastic bowl,” said coach Beni Keown.

Another good way to prepare for tournaments is just to have mock competitions. The JV and Varsity teams will compete against each other in the same format as a typical match. These allow them to practice scenarios identical to ones found in real competitions. 

In a Quiz Bowl competition, each team member has a buzzer attached to a general console. An individual can “buzz in,” indicating they have an answer to a question. There are two types of questions that can be asked. Tossup questions can be answered by a member of either team, whereas bonus questions, awarded for correct answers, are three-part questions for a single team. If the wrong answer is given, the opposing team has the opportunity to answer it. A single match lasts 24 questions. A school can play anywhere from 2-3 or 9-10 matches, depending on the type of tournament, as well as how they score throughout the day.

As they approach the next few months of their season, the team is excited about what awaits them. They are coming off a first-place win in a Loyola tournament in late January, and hope to continue their notable record. 

“We’re excited to get a chance to replay some of the teams that beat us earlier,” said junior Liam Sieland.

Throughout the season, they have lost to schools like Glenbrook South, Glenbrook North, Vernon Hills, and Deerfield. But they are hopeful that they will be able to outplay them this time around.

“Those are people that we have our eyes on to try to take down,” said coach Keown, “and I think we can do it.”

Beni Keown, a Northwestern senior and captain of the Quiz Bowl team at Northwestern, is the current coach for the ETHS team. An ETHS Quiz Bowl alumn, he is grateful for his experience in high school.

“I only joined my junior year of high school,” explained Keown, “but I kind of got hooked in those two years, and now it’s a big part of what I do every day.”

And the coach isn’t the only one grateful for Scholastic Bowl. The students have expressed appreciation for being able to follow their interests into competition.

“I personally enjoy it because I enjoy academics,” said junior Vasanth Visweswaran. “There’s just something satisfying about knowing the answer to a question.”

“Unlike other academic competitions, it gives you a chance to work with all areas of knowledge, so you get to broaden your knowledge in every aspect of things,” said junior Anna Grigorescu.

“It introduces me to a lot more concepts and things that I didn’t know before, and it broadens my interests,” said sophomore Sam Kemeny.

And some students like to take their newfound knowledge to personal academia. 

“It makes your Wikipedia doom scrolling more relevant,” Pippa Walker admitted.