The Black Hills Knowledge Bowl team competed in a meet against seven other teams from around the Puget Sound region at Tumwater High School on January 14, 2017.
In addition to facing off against local rival and host Tumwater High School, the Black Hills team also competed against students from Olympia, Rochester, W.F. West, Centralia, Capital, and White River high schools. With many team members absent for the meet, Black Hills’s efforts at the meet, though valiant, did not result in a win for the team.
Knowledge Bowl, advised by Black Hills’s librarian Deb Nickerson, has around ten members this year. Conner Etmund, a senior on the team, explains that the club focuses on expanding and assessing student knowledge in all school subjects, with meets allowing members “to test themselves against people from other schools to see who’s the best”. The opportunity to test their skills “against some of the smartest people in the region” is one of the biggest appeals for Etmund and fellow Knowledge Bowl member Kyle Fisher.
Knowledge Bowl meets consist of two major components: a written assessment, followed by verbal competition. At the beginning of every meet, as Knowledge Bowl member Aidan Swenson describes, “each team gets a sixty question packet” of questions covering a variety of subjects. Following the written section, there are four oral rounds, in which three teams of three to six participants each compete to answer forty-five questions “on varying topics”. To signal their intent to answer, participants must “race to hit the buzzer” before another team does, an endeavor Swenson identifies as particularly entertaining during the meets. Teams earn a point for every correct answer they give during the written and oral rounds, with the three top-scoring teams advancing to a “championship round” to determine the ultimate winner of the competition.
With such a wide variety of potential questions and subject choices, Knowledge Bowl members must prepare their minds for any challenge thrown their way, from simple mental math to naming important historical figures and events. Fisher’s routine for meets includes eating “a whole bunch of food before and during the meet”- particularly, he joked with Etmund, bagels- to power his mind and keep him alert.
Black Hills’s Knowledge Bowl team will have their final meet of the year at the Capital Event Center in February.
By Gabby Connors