Scholars Bowl steals state title from Olathe North, end of memorable season

Brianna Carmack, Entertainment Editor

After qualifying for their sixth consecutive trip to State, Scholars Bowl traveled to Wichita North High School on Feb. 15. 

“We didn’t quite meet the goal of Regional champion, placing third, but getting into the tournament was the only step needed,” head coach Ted Dawdy said.

Throughout the season, Scholars Bowl has had one goal in mind, which was to compete for the state title and win it. Luckily for them, they managed to steal the state title away from one of their competitors, Olathe North and come out with a victory. This has been the first time the Manhattan High Scholars Bowl team has won the state title since 1998.

“We came into the state tournament with the mindset of wanting to win it all,” senior Josh Brandt said. “It was good to see us finally pull it off.”

The State squad this year consisted of Brandt, seniors Brian Dudley, Allen Zhang, Ethan Meyer and sophomore Abrar Nasser. Since many of the Varsity members are involved in other extracurriculars, the team didn’t have a whole lot of preparation time for State as they anticipated. However, they have set time aside in order to maximize their performance for State.

“Due to various reasons and commitments, we didn’t actually field our whole Varsity team at a meet until League,” Dudley said. “Since then, I think we’ve been able to get into a pretty good rhythm in most of our matches and that trend continued at State. We had the big picture in mind and didn’t get fazed much by losses.”

One of the biggest improvements from Scholars Bowl has been their ability to communicate amongst each other quickly in order to get the right answer. From the very beginning of the season until now, Scholars Bowl’s communication has broadened and is now one of their strengths. From that, members of Scholars Bowl feel as though they have attained a tremendous amount of learning experience through the amount of teamwork and cooperation Scholars Bowl requires.

“They have taught me a lot about teamwork and cooperation, and to trust my instincts,” Dudley said.

Some of the students also feel as though they have learned to better communicate in a more intellectual manner outside of participating in the Scholars Bowl.

“[coaches and teammates] they’ve given me a place to thrive intellectually,” Zhang said. “Scholars Bowl has made me realize that those of us who love learning aren’t obsolete know-it-alls replaced by Wikipedia, but rather the ones who can engage in intellectual conversation, debate and discovery.”

One thing that Scholars Bowl has never really had issues with is how quickly they are with the buzzers whenever they have a definite answer to a question. State was no exception.

“We were quick on our buzzers and didn’t have much unnecessary hesitation,” Dudley said.

For some, answering quickly and buzzing in is all apart of the fun in Scholars Bowl.

“The part that I’m going to miss the most about Scholars Bowl is the rush I get from answering questions,” Brandt said. “It can be stressful at times because of all the pressure, but I’ve always had tons of fun competing.”

Although most of the members from the state squad will be graduating in the spring, Nasser will still participate in Scholars Bowl and will most likely be apart of the state squad in subsequent years.

“I think Abrar is the only returning underclassmen from our state squad this year,” Brandt said. “He’s really good, so I think the future of the team is in good hands.”

For the next season, Scholars Bowl hopes to defend their title by competing for another win at State. The state squad has hope for the future of Scholars Bowl, as more and more students are getting involved. They highly encourage more students to join and fight to keep the state title in the hands of MHS.

“I think we will have a shot at defending our title next year. It would be fun to get an MHS dynasty going,” Dudley said. “I’m glad it has gained more recognition and popularity at our school. I think there are a lot of people who would be interested in it.”