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Scholastic Bowl Sweeps Season

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Fenwick’s Scholastic Bowl teams ended the season well with the Varsity team finishing second in their conference and the Junior Varsity team completing the season undefeated.

Scholastic Bowl can be described as an academic competition very similar to Jeopardy. Each team sends five representatives to compete in a meet and answer questions regarding scholastic topics from areas such as art, history, music, science, and pop culture. Teams compete head to head in an interactive competition.
The round begins with a toss-up question that gives the team that answers correctly ten points, in addition to three bonus questions, each of which are also worth ten points. The team members must answer each question quickly and accurately any time during the question to receive points, because each team is allowed only one buzz in per question. If a player “negs,” a term used when a player answers incorrectly, the other team may take their time to answer the question correctly. In a typical season, conference tournaments occur every few weeks on Saturdays and last almost all day. Each match consists of approximately 80 questions, and the tournament contains roughly eight rounds, where each team plays schools of varying skill levels. Varsity captain Sean Obrochta commented on the spontaneous nature of Scholastic Bowl as he stated, “You could go from dominating one team to playing a team that gets every question in a few words. You learn a lot.”
Two times a week, the Scholastic Bowl members, under the guidance of Dr. Porter and Mr. Burnett, prepare for the season using questions asked in previous matches while competing with one another for practice. Scholastic Bowl members use this practice time to study and learn the questions they did not know or had trouble answering quickly. Dr. Porter stated that the practice questions “develop their recall abilities, develop curiosity about things they may not have encountered before, and they [the team members] also learn teamwork. It is competitive in a good way.” The players examine various works of art and music to familiarize themselves with possible topics that would appear in questions, with the practice matches creating a similar atmosphere to a real match that helps the competitors train under pressure.
Varsity had high hopes this year and finished the season well, ranking second despite the odds. The team faced their challenges head on and came together as a unit. Vice captain John Pollard described the stakes near the end as he said, “We managed to come from about fourth place, fought to second for the end of the season, and finished in second.” Despite crucial, close losses, the Varsity team achieved second place, beating their biggest rivals in Scholastic Bowl, Providence, along with coming out on top when they faced their age-old rivals of OPRF. Sean Obrochta commented, “You definitely have to be able to go to your team when challenges come up. If someone messes up, the team has got to come around them because we’ve all been there. If you dwell on mistakes, it’ll affect how you play. You won’t be as confident, and the team will suffer. Moving on is the best thing to do.”
Junior Varsity ended the season undefeated. Sophomore Lauren Riggs reflected on her Scholastic Bowl experience as she said, “I liked when they asked questions in a category that my friends are really confident in, because I love seeing them get excited about them.” The JV team was brought together and strengthened by friendship. Dr. Porter, coach of JV, summed up the season as she said, “We had a very good year, and we beat some teams that were ranked higher than us, but we also got used to being humbled by superior squads. We thoroughly dominated in our conference, but probably the best achievement was breaking into the elite ranks at one of the non-conference tournaments at the beginning of the year. The best thing about our JV squad this year was balance: all the starters were strong (I cannot even pick two best), and they had excellent support in the relief players, who are getting really good themselves.”
Combined with the hard work and talent of the Scholastic Bowl teams, the members admire and appreciate the guidance and hours their coaches put in as well. Varsity Captain Sean Obrochta praised the moderators: “Mr. Burnett and Dr. Porter do a really good job with getting us the materials we need to succeed. They know the ins and outs of the competition, so they know what we should be studying, and keep us motivated.”
Ending the season strong with second place for Varsity and first place for Junior Varsity, the members are looking forward to next year to come back better than ever. Senior Ciara Hopkinson reminisced about the end of her Fenwick Scholastic Bowl career as she said, “Geeking out over Alfred Lord Tennyson, Snell’s Law, and Roman naval battles with the rest of my team is refreshing and hilarious; I’m going to miss it a lot next year.”

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Scholastic Bowl Sweeps Season