Varsity Scholars Bowl team earns AVCTL D1 title, explains tournament process

Lorelei Jacobs

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The varsity team poses for a photo after winning the AVCTL Division 1 league tournament with their head coach Brian Skinner.

The varsity Scholars Bowl team went on to win their second AVCTL Division I title at the league tournament on Jan. 23. Scholars bowl head coach, Brian Skinner, is now working with the varsity and JV team to prepare for regionals.

At the regional tournament, 18 teams compete in two pools of nine. Newton will complete a round in their pool and the top three teams in that pool will move onto the finals. This leaves six teams total to compete and the top four will advance to the state competition. Skinner feels they have an advantage for competing and moving on through the competition.

“We’ve got two native Spanish speakers on our team which gives us a leg up for the foreign language [section],” Skinner said.

To prepare for regionals, the team practices by working with example questions. Scholars Bowl assistant coach Adam Williams works with Skinner to create a study sheet with commonly asked questions. They work to figure out the odds of making a reasonable guess to get the question correct.

“We go through how you can tell what a question is asking early on in the question to be able to get an answer quicker for interruptions,” Skinner said.

Questions are broken up into subjects. These subjects include foreign language translation, English and Language Arts, Social Sciences, Math, Science, Miscellaneous, and a Year in Review. When competing, the moderator begins reading the question.

The team has 10 seconds to answer the question with 16 questions per round. If a team interrupts the moderator before they are done reading the question and they get the answer correct, they receive 10 points. If they interrupt and get the question wrong, five points are deducted.

“You took the gamble on potentially losing points if you were wrong and a lot of Scholars Bowl is not about how smart are you, it’s your recall, reaction time. Literally split seconds can make a difference,” Skinner said.

This is the team’s second straight win at league. Last year’s win was the first in six years. Skinner said they faced some tough teams and were not favored to win with their six-person team which includes only one senior.

“It [this year’s league win] shows that even though we have a young team, we’re really strong and we have a lot of potential for the next two years,” Skinner said.