Three DCHS seniors, a junior, and a sophomore have joined a very elite group – state-bound scholars’ bowl members.
The DCHS team – consisting of seniors Bryant Addleman, Emma Holloway, and Olivia Williby; junior Cheyanna Hale, and sophomore Jack Holloway – placed second last week at regionals in Lincoln and qualified for State Scholars’ Bowl, which is Saturday, Feb. 11 at Langdon-Fairfield High School.
At regionals, the DCHS team was 4-1 in pool play. Oberlin defeated Little River 40-30, Quinter 90-0, Claflin 30-20, and Lincoln 50-20. The only loss in pool play was to Osborne, the eventual regional champions. Osborne won that round 60-30.
The top three teams from each pool advanced to the championship round, which was also a round-round competition.
In the finals, Oberlin was 3-2. They beat Stockton 40-30, Little River 40-30, and Elyria 20-10. Oberlin lost to Osborne 90-20 and Ness City 60-10.
Jack said that the highlight of regionals for him was how close some of the rounds were. “We won just barely in a few rounds, and it made it quite exciting,” said Jack.
“The highlight for me was beating Quinter 90-0,” said Cheyanne. “That made me feel very proud of us.”
For Bryant, his highlight of regionals was knowing a random tennis fact that won Oberlin the round in the last question against Little River.
A scholar bowl round consists of 16 questions: one foreign language sentence that needs to be translated into English, three social studies questions, three language arts questions, three math questions, three science/health questions, two fine arts, and one current event question.
Besides qualifying for state, the highlight of their season according to Coach Wendy Scott was winning the Colby tournament. “The kids went in expecting to do well, but I don't think they visualized winning the tournament, so they were so excited. They were on a roll that night, and they had a lot of fun.”
According to Emma, “The team is pretty well-rounded. Our losses in the finals [at regionals] were mostly because we weren't fast enough answering questions, and too often we encounter questions that we have knowledge of but can't remember the actual answer.”
Bryant agrees that they are a well-rounded team, “but if I had to state a weakness, it would probably be math --but we still get a fair few of those right,” said Bryant.
Cheyanne said that the team’s biggest strength “is that we get along really well. I don't think we really have a significant weakness.”
According to coach Wendy Scott, the DCHS team is very strong in the foreign language category. There has been only one foreign language question all season that Emma hasn’t gotten. “She can buzz in almost instantly,” said Mrs. Scott.
“The strength of our team is definitely foreign language,” said Jack. “Emma gets basically every one right, putting us at an immediate lead.”
Mrs. Scott also said that over the season, she has seen their science and math performance improve. “Bryant carries most of our science questions, and Cheyanna has been getting better and better at any question involving trig. Jack will also provide some points in the math department.”
Olivia said that their “strengths are generally in science and fine arts. I do well in English questions.”
“My best category is science,” said Bryant, “and I usually get a couple answers per round.”
Cheyanne’s strengths are math and fine arts. She said, “Those two categories I do pretty well.”
“Olivia and Emma are good performers when it comes to literary authors or music questions about composers or keys,” said Mrs. Scott. “Jack has provided points for literary characters as well and often does nicely with Greek gods.”
“They've all really grown over the season,” said Mrs. Scott. “They are more confident and assertive now.”
“One weakness we've overcome somewhat over the season is that the kids are more willing to guess than they used to be, said Mrs. Scott. “I'd like to see them be willing to take more guesses when no one on the team knows a particular question.
How do they prepare for scholars’ bowl meets?
“We prepare by using practice questions we find online and reviewing rules,” said Jack.
According to Olivia, they hang out together and practice questions and have team bonding time.
“Typically in the car, someone will pull up some practice quizzes on their phone, and we do those on the way [to a meet] for a little bit,” said Cheyanna.
“Preparing for a tournament is notoriously difficult because there are thousands of possible questions,” said Emma. “There are questions that are more common than others, so those can be studied, and there are also certain math and science concepts that can be practiced.” She also said that certain strategies such as communicating, using the rules to their advantage, and specializing team members to certain categories were all things they use.
“It's pretty hard to study for scholars bowl since there's no way to know what the questions will be,” said Emma. She compiled lists of famous historical figures (authors, artists, etc.) that she thought might be relevant. At least three on her list were answers at regionals. “I was glad all my work paid off,” said Emma.
What are their goals for state?
“My goal at state is to get AT LEAST five questions right,” said Cheyanna.
“My goal is to win state!” said Olivia.
“One of my goals for them is that they make it out of pool play and into the final rounds at state,” said Mrs. Scott, “but my greatest goal is that they look back at their scholars' bowl experience and feel incredibly proud of themselves regardless of the outcome.”
This is the tenth time in 14 years that an Oberlin scholar bowl team is headed to the state tournament, including six straight years from 2012 to 2017 and back-to-back appearances in 2019 and 2020.
Oberlin placed fifth-at state in 2012, fourth in 2015, and won a state championship in 2016.
In the past 22 years, Oberlin has sent a team to state 15 times. Oberlin also won the state scholar bowl title in 2003. This is Mrs. Scott’s 8th year as the coach. Marlene Moxter was the coach before Mrs. Scott.
“I like scholars bowl because it is fun, said Olivia. “I had a really great time with everyone. Going to state my senior year is a great way to end my scholar bowl career.”
“I enjoy scholars bowl because it shows how different people are smarter in certain topics than others,” said Cheyanna.
“Scholars' bowl has been incredibly fun this season, and I had a lot of fun,” said Jack.
“I am impressed with how well we've done this season considering all the circumstances,” said Emma. “I hope we will be able to practice and study more as a team before the state competition. Some of the teams will be tough to beat.”
“I love Scholars' bowl because I love trivia, and getting to know how much I know,” said Bryant. “My goals for state are to win.”
“The thing that I want to stress with this team is that they perform the best when they're having fun,” said Mrs. Scott. “So going in to state, I want them to have fun and be willing to laugh at themselves. I also like the way they communicate and work together; keep that up.”
“Most importantly,” she said, “I'm really proud of them. I've got to watch each of them become a better and more competitive member of the team as the season progressed. For some of them, I've had the privilege of watching them grow over several seasons.”