Underclassmen make impressive victory at Scholar Bowl meet

Brianna Carmack, Print Editor-in-Chief

The Manhattan High Scholars Bowl team won first at a Varsity meet they attended at Flint Hills Christian last Tuesday. 

Head Scholars Bowl coach Ted Dawdy decided on inviting underclassmen to compete in the tournament due to the less competitiveness and smaller size of the schools competing.

[Flint Hills Christian meets] usually draw smaller schools so I tend to have underclassmen participate,” Dawdy said.

The team consisted of seven members: four freshmen and three sophomores. Freshmen Anna Irvine, Allie Cloyd, Hunter Taphorn and Michael Hwang competed alongside sophomores Vinny Sun, Thomas Loub and Julius Neumann. MHS managed to place first, collecting 850 points in eight rounds. Council Grove followed MHS in second place with 770 points.

“I think we did well as a team,” Loub said. “Our first place win really shows how much effort we’ve put in this year. Also, the majority of the team this meet were freshmen, which I think makes winning even more impressive.”

The setup of the meet was different compared to others in the past. Many of the new systems put in place due to COVID-19 regulations that the team has trained themselves to work with were not incorporated in this particular meet. There was even a different style of competing that the team was not currently used to.

“Flint Hills was running short on helpers so they changed the format of their tournament,” Dawdy said. “They eliminated the buzzer system and head to head competition. The object was to score as many points as possible in a given round and then the total would be tallied at the end.”

The change in format affected the team, but more so in a good way than a negative way.

“I think [the format of the meet] did affect us a little, but mostly in a positive way,” Loub said. “Not facing off against other teams eliminated the speed aspect of the rounds, which is probably the most challenging part of Scholars Bowl. We were able to think thoroughly through each question and communicate with each other, which I think helped us a lot.”

Since the head-to-head competition style wasn’t incorporated at this meet, the pressure of buzzing in the fastest was completely gone.

“The pressure I felt during this meet was definitely a lot less because we weren’t trying to answer as quickly as possible,” Loub said.

The season will most likely end virtually, meaning that there will probably not be any in-person meets. Although the team believes the best solution to still have a season was to hold meets through Zoom, there were still issues that wouldn’t have been possible if the meets were in-person.

“There are sometimes issues with the virtual meets, like not being able to hear the moderator clearly,” Loub said. “Since we can’t have in-person tournaments though, I think meets through Zoom was the best solution. I really hope we can have in-person meets next season though.”

MHS Scholars Bowl will compete in two more meets, leading up to Regionals on Feb. 14 hosted at Wichita West. The next tournament will be a Varsity meet hosted by Olathe West tonight.