Scholars Bowl returns to state

WHS scholars bowl does a buzzer check in the finals round against Northern Heights. The Chargers dropped the match 40-50, finishing second and qualifying to state for the second straight year.

WHS finishes second to Northern Heights

Wabaunsee scholars bowl finished second at the regional tournament, qualifying to state for the second consecutive year.

Seniors Maddie Alderman, Luke Barber, Jarett Bolinder, Sean Dugger, and Dillon Spellman placed second after 13 rounds in the regional tournament that took place at WHS. Alderman lead the team by scoring 360 points with Spellman scoring 100 points and Barber not far behind with 90 points.

“We’ve been competitive at every meet this year, so I knew we were an experienced team with a chance to have a lot of success,” scholars bowl coach Brendan Praeger said.

The format of the tournament separated 16 attending teams into two pools of eight teams each. After playing a round against all teams in their respective pool, the top three continued on towards the championship rounds.

Pool play began poorly with the first match against Kansas City Christian. The team was filled with nerves, competing at home with familiar spectators, judges and moderators. Faced with a difficult selection of questions, the team was destroyed, 80-20 to begin the tournament.

“It was a sketchy way to start the tournament, but we knew it was far from the end,” Spellman said.

The team rebounded to win its next five rounds against Horton, McClouth, Mission Valley, Rossville and Valley Heights. The Chargers dropped the final round of pool play 40-50 against Jefferson County North, ending 5-2 and resusulting in a tie between Jefferson County North, Mission Valley and Wabaunsee.

“Pool play ending in a three-way tie for second made us very nervous heading into the championships,” Alderman said. “Learning that we would have to compete against three private schools did not help with the nerves.”

Tie-breaker rules landed the Wabaunsee team on top of the tie giving them second place in the pool. The six teams in the championship rounds would compete in a round-robin with the top three qualifying for a trip to state. The first three rounds took away the nerves as they resulted in a victory over three private schools. The fourth round was against Northern Heights, with both teams entering the match undefeated.

“Northern Heights was 6-1 in pool play, and they had done well at other meets this year. I had the feeling it would end up being the championship match,” coach Praeger said.

A close 10-point match allowed Northern Heights to take sole possession of first place.

“There were a few questions where we were simply beat to the buzzer,” Praeger said.

IMG_1396With only one loss, a state trip was almost guaranteed, but one last match against Mission Valley would confirm it. Having beat the opposing team before in pool play, the team was confident a victory was in sight.

With only a 5-point lead going in the final question, the year-in review category, the match was intense. Alderman sealed the victory with a buzzer race to answer a question about Rosie the Riveter.

“As soon as I hit the buzzer, I heard the other team sigh and it made me nervous, but I was glad I didn’t mess up,” Alderman said.

The Chargers placed fourth at last year’s state tournament, and look to bring home a bigger trophy this year.

The state tournament begins at noon Saturday at Inman High School. Follow their progress on the Charger Twitter page.

— Sean Dugger, @seandugger01

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