Bigger team fast to the Buzzer

Scholars Bowl increases its numbers heading into a new season of trivia


McKenna White

READY — Junior Emily Guo prepares her buzzer during practice to answer the quickest. Many students, like Guo, spend their first year on the team practicing every week and improving trivia. “The most challenging part of Scholars Bowl is having confidence in your answers,” Guo said, “but it’s fun to test your knowledge.”

By Elyzebeth Workman, Staff Writer

Buzzing in, students began this year’s season of Scholar’s Bowl with twice as many members.

Scholar’s Bowl has been on the rise in recent years under coach Matt Ellis, who began his first year as coach six years ago with just eight students, and now with assistant coach Alex Arteaga helping for two years. The team grew to about 20 last year, and now has about 40 students.

“The last two practices we’ve had Mr. Ellis’s room has been bursting at the seams,” Arteaga said.

The tournaments are set up in a round-robin style where two teams of five go head-to-head. To win, all you need to do is rack up the most points by answering questions about English, math, social studies, year-in-review or foreign language as fast as you can answer them. The challenging part about this is that anyone can answer at anytime. They can even interrupt you and put their team’s points on the line.

To practice for tournaments, the team does mock games with two teams, sometimes three. With such a large team, these practices can get hectic from the pure number of teams trying to answer the same questions.
“It’s just a free for all,” Ellis said.

McKenna White
BUZZ — Smiling while holding a buzzer, juniors Vera Petrovic and Olivia Rothrock prepare for a Scholars Bowl tournament during practice last month. Practices are held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school in Matt Ellis’ room. “[Scholars Bowl] is so much fun,” Petrovic said. “There’s a bunch of people in a room answering trivia questions, and it’s a great time.”

The team meets about 20 times during the season, which lasts from early September until late February. The first meet for JV was on Oct. 23 in Kansas City, Kan., and the first meet for varsity was on Nov. 15. Regionals will be Feb. 2.

Arteaga said they practice with “binders and binders of questions” with past season’s questions in it.

The team hopes to be able to finish in the top three and be able to go to state. With only six open spots on a large team, members have to be competitive to get into those open spots.

Of course they are always trying to grow the team. This year to help make it easy on people, Ellis created a digital signup sheet and put out schedules earlier.

“But my first goal is to always have fun,” Ellis said.

The biggest obstacle for the coaches is getting students to come into the meets; while “…The main challenge is not knowing as much,” freshman Raef Landes said.

In past years, the team has been well suited in such subjects as social science and social studies. This year, the team has shown a good aptitude toward science and math topics. Questions can be as “challenging” as translating “blue monkeys” into German to things that happen in “Colonial Belgium.”

“Sometimes you’ll read something in English and all the sudden you’ll hear it in scholars bowl,” senior Kacee Truong said.

The larger team gives Ellis a variety of student expertise to rely on.
“We try to have a wide variety of people that can cover each category,” Ellis said.

Scholar’s Bowl demands a large group of students.

“Just a very diverse group of people,” Truong said. “It’s not just for smart people.”

Ellis hopes his students will follow his appreciation for Scholar’s Bowl even after they graduate.

“I missed it throughout college, I was just glad to be able to participate when I became a teacher here,” Ellis said.