SLUH’s Scholar Bowl teams wrapped up its season last Tuesday at De Smet Jesuit High School, competing against the private school league of teams. This year SLUH fielded two Scholar Bowl teams: a JV and varsity.
The tournament began around 4:15 p.m. as students gathered together to begin their matches, which were structured similar to a game of Jeopardy.
“A match is 20 toss-up questions. These toss-up questions are trivia facts from a wide range,” said senior co-captain Jack Sainz, via email, who participated on the varsity team.
When a student gets a toss-up question correct, he is given a bonus question to answer, but if he answers incorrectly, the other teams have an opportunity to answer.
Each SLUH team participated in at least three matches during the final tournament. By the end of the night, the SLUH varsity team finished sixth out of the 14 teams in the tournament, and the JV pulled off a big win, getting first place in the whole tournament.
“I think we did pretty good considering we weren’t really too concerned with who we had playing when … I am very proud of the group of guys we had,” said Sainz via email. “Our code of conduct throughout the year has been to give everyone equal amounts of playing time regardless of whether we are winning or losing,”
The Scholar Bowl team wanted to give everyone a time to shine, and students voluntarily sat out in order for other kids to get time to play.
“We had a great group of guys, and we did a really good job of trying to even out the playing time, so everyone had equal amounts of time on the bench and time playing,” said Sainz.
Overall, the varsity team finished 13-3 for the season, with two losses coming to Vianney and one to Chaminade.
“We had more dominant wins (this year) than I have experienced in my four years on Scholar Bowl, sometimes winning by 200 or 300 points where the maximum score in a match is only 600,” said senior varsity co-captain Nick Rakonick via email.
In addition to the hard competition each team faced, the varsity team played against some familiar faces when the SLUH’s JV team subbed in for Cor Jesu’s varsity team during a tournament.
“I was a little nervous at first, because when we were juniors, we played the seniors and beat them. I was afraid the juniors might do the same to us and pull off the upset, but we played a good match and beat the juniors, defending our status over them,” said Sainz via email.
However, despite the JV’s loss to varsity, the future looks bright for SLUH scholar bowl as the JV team showed high hopes with outstanding team and solo performances throughout the year, and was honored for winning their entire competition.
“It was nice to do a lot better than we did last year, since last year we came in sixth in the finals. It was very satisfying to see all the freshman and JV people come in first and to have everything come into place,” said sophomore Kevin Hickey, who captained the JV team during the final competition.
In addition to finishing in first place in the competition, the JV was also undefeated the entire season leading up to the tournament, and won each game by quite a considerable margin.
Last year there were two separate freshman and sophomore JV teams, but this year the teams were combined. This change proved helped calm the nervous of the JV players during the rounds.
“We had faster reflexes since we weren’t as nervous, and due to this we choked up less and wouldn’t give the wrong answer,” said Hickey. “I think the team also realized how important guessing is, and we also just knew more things from last year, which is always a help.”
While some may credit the team’s successful season to experience from last year, others attribute it to the fact that they have learned more random trivia.
“I feel like with Scholar Bowl, a lot of it isn’t about experience, because most of it comes from just random knowledge, and you can’t really get that from much of school,” said sophomore Andre Chura.
While having a very successful second year, the JV team also heavily enjoyed being able to display its knowledge of arbitrary facts.
“It’s always fun to be with your friends and answering all this weird trivia, and in a way I enjoyed being able to show off all this useless knowledge that you have,” said Chura.
In addition to the young and new faces on the JV team, the varsity team also had some new faces among the crowd who came in clutch during key moments, most notably Timmy Heinlein with a crucial role in a hard-fought victory against Bishop DuBourg.
“Timmy Heinlein, who was a rookie this year as a senior, came through with the answer as well as the next two to secure the victory. He really came up strong for us that day and it was good to see the completeness of the team shown at that point,” said Rakonick via email.
The future looks bright for the Scholar Bowl team, with a dominant JV lineup and a continual showing of strong numbers of students who participated this year.
“I hope that the underclassmen are able to show their skills next year and I hope the juniors can take control and lead the team to victory,” said Rakonic.