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Scholar Bowl members prepare for tournament season.

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   For 10 points, name what ties 17th-century literature, astrophysics and parmesan pretzel chips together. If you answered ‘things you might find at a scholar bowl practice,’ you would have been correct.

   As tournament season begins for the Scholar Bowl team, coaches Trace Larson and Ryan Brewer are thrilled to see the team size grow. In the last two years, the team has more than doubled, going from six to 14 members. The style of gameplay is simple and has attracted many new faces this season.

We are serious about trying to win every competition, but we always have fun in the process. Winning is always secondary to sportsmanship.”

— Coach Ryan Brewer

   “We form up into two teams and compete against each other to see who can answer the most questions correctly,” senior Kit Mallett said.

   Scholar Bowl rounds consist of two types of questions: toss-ups and bonus questions. A toss-up question is read to both teams. Individuals from either team will answer the question using hand buzzers. Whichever team gets the question correct first will then be asked three bonus questions.

   This format may seem intimidating, but team members pick up the flow of the game with ease.

   “The team is pretty relaxed, there is really no pressure to get all the questions right,” sophomore Henry Witt said.

   The team’s focus is on learning rather than winning, which is a large part of their success. Both academically and socially, Scholar Bowl is a club anyone can enjoy because of its easy-going nature.

Coach Ryan Brewer reaches for the buzzer as times members of Scholar Bowl in a practice competition. “A lot of schools come to tournaments,” junior Braden Reeve said. “There is a bracket where we get seeded to play. We play for as long as we can and hopefully we make it to finals.” Photo by Joey O’Kelly

   It’s very low-key,” freshman Sophia Rakestraw said. “We all sit around and make fun of each other while we play trivia. It’s like playing Trivial Pursuit at a party.”

   When the team isn’t bonding over their shared love of animal crackers or giggling at mispronounced answers, members work hard to learn new things each week to be ready for competition.

    They compete through the Greater Kansas City Suburban Conference Scholar Bowl.

   “A lot of schools come to tournaments,” junior Braden Reeve said. “There is a bracket where we get seeded to play. We play for as long as we can and hopefully, we make it to finals.”

   Scholar Bowl is one of the few academic activities run by MSHSAA, which means when the regular season ends, districts season begins.

   District competitions run the same as any Scholar Bowl tournament, only with higher stakes. Last year, the team made it to semifinals, with a tough loss to Park Hill South.

   Practice time focuses on teaching new members about the game, and this year one of their goals is to perfect the question-answering strategies that will move them further in district competition.

   “Scholar Bowl is more about knowing how to answer questions instead of knowing the answers to all of the questions,” junior Natu Kahassai said. “We have to know how a tournament runs, so things like knowing when to buzz in and when not to buzz in are important skills to have.”

   The first Scholar Bowl tournament of the year usually falls around mid-November. This allows the team almost three full months to prepare before they compete. By then, almost everyone feels ready to go, including Brewer.

   The team has other traditions besides practicing, like selling concessions at sporting events, inside-jokes about The Burger Shack, and meeting new people at practices.  They always have something to laugh about.

  “We are serious about trying to win every competition, but we always have fun in the process,” Brewer said. “Winning is always secondary to sportsmanship.”

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