Scholar bowl does not involve a large number of students, but those who participate in it at Stockton and El Dorado Springs high schools work hard and are proud to show off their academic skills and knowledge.
Each county high school has about 10 participating students who are ready to battle students from other schools in a game of knowledge, confidence and quick reaction. The scholar bowl season begins in October and continues into April when district tournaments crown champions and qualify teams for sectional and state scholar bowl tournaments.
The district tournament for Stockton and El Dorado Springs is in Lamar Saturday, April 14. Stockton, El Dorado Springs, Lamar, Nevada, Warsaw, Butler and Buffalo comprise District 9 in Class 3. The winning team advances to a sectional match and then a state tournament in May at the Memorial Union at the University of Missouri in Columbia.
This season, both El Dorado Springs and Stockton have earned honors in the academic competition.
Stockton's team captured the Mid-Lakes Conference title at Skyline High School Wednesday, Feb. 14. Earning all-conference for their effort were Joe Brantley and Sophie Antonopoulos.
In a match a team can have up to four players and during the tournament, Stockton had five students who carried the Tigers to the title. They were Gunner Bothman, Parker Fox, Antonopoulos, Brantley and Victor Arellano.
In addition to the conference tournament, Stockton's 10-member team competes in mid-week practice tournaments which are designed to mirror what Stockton will see at Lamar. They also are called Challenge Games.
In past years, Stockton has done well in scholar bowl competitions, having won district honors and advanced into the post-season.
"We have some pretty dedicated kids," coach Jennifer Ray said.
El Dorado Springs not only goes to practice tournaments, but also to competitive tournaments hosted by other high schools in Missouri.
The Bulldog team went 5-3 to place seventh out of 12 teams, and first in the consolation pool Jan. 6 at Lakeland. El Dorado was seventh in a 20-school field at Sarcoxie with Hunter Jacobs earning an all-tournament medal.
El Dorado's junior varsity team showed off its academic skills, placing second at
Most Challenge Game competitions feature about 12 schools from southwest and central Missouri. The one hosted by El Dorado Springs Tuesday, Feb. 27, brought together teams from nine schools.
El Dorado Springs coach Darrin Griffin said in Challenge Game matches there are 20 toss-up questions followed by bonus point questions. There is a halftime after 10 toss-ups, and coaches can use the break to talk to the students.
Otherwise, coaches must sit quietly except when they challenge a ruling by the moderator. Two overruled challenges and the coach must keep his disputes with the moderator to himself. Most challenges involve a moderator's decision to accept or not accept an answer as correct.
District matches are more intense and longer with four periods and 50 toss-up questions.
Those in the room during the match are told to keep quiet and cannot make any sound — cheer or clap after a correct answer.
The Challenge Games employ questions from National Academic Quiz Tournament, a company which provides questions and answers for academic bowls including the district, sectional and state tournaments in Missouri.
Griffin said using NAQT questions prepares the student for the questions they get at Lamar.
At the practice or challenge event hosted by El Dorado Springs, students had to answer questions on literature, music, math, geography, government, history, science, sports, politics, general knowledge, current events and film/art.
Griffin said he puts together his four-student team with a focus on balance. He wants each student to focus on select areas as they study so the team can be ready for a broad array of questions and subjects.
Sitting alongside the moderator is a timekeeper and scorekeeper; however, students often can be seen keeping their own scores to ensure they know how a match is gong and are able to make sure the scorekeeper is doing their job.
The next practice opportunity where the students challenge themselves will be at Nevada High School. However, the ultimate goal is to bring it all together when the teams reach Lamar.