Quiz Bowl team competes in televised event Quest

Six Quiz Bowl members earn the opportunity to compete in annual televised event in Topeka


By Photo by Clayton Kistner

Senior Jack Earlenbaugh, junior Rohit Biswas, sophomore Tom McClain and junior Patrick Gambill compete in Quest at Washburn University on Saturday, Jan. 24. “They have a format that’s more intense and competitive.” McClain said.

Tori Aerni, JagWire editor-in-chief

For the second consecutive year, the Quiz Bowl team competed in the annual televised Quest competition on Saturday, Jan. 24. Sophomore Tom McClain described this event as “a televised game show [where] teams from area high schools come in and answer questions,” including categories such as science, math and fine arts.

This season, the Quiz Bowl team has had a high level of success, but for McClain, Quest is Quiz Bowl taken to another level.

“Quest is televised, and then they sort of just go out of their way to make [the questions] very difficult and push us a lot and bring out the very best teams,” McClain said.

Only 16 high school teams from Kansas qualify to compete in this televised event, and Mill Valley went into the event ranked eighth.

Quest coordinator Michael McGuire said the televised aspect of Quest makes it more exciting for the competitors.

“[For Quest], there’s the opportunity to get on TV,” McGuire said. “The structure might be similar [to Quiz Bowl], we ask academic questions, people buzz in and get called on, but I would like to think Quest is more appealing.”

The Quest team is made up of senior Jack Earlenbaugh, juniors Rohit Biswas, Patrick Gambill and Ryan Schwaab and sophomores Tom McClain and Ben Stadler. Ultimately, Quiz Bowl coach Mary Beth Mattingly makes the final decision of who will compete on the Quest team, choosing based on which team members have the highest scoring records.

Initial qualification began on Saturday, Dec. 6, known to Quest hopefuls as Super Saturday. On this day, schools from all over Kansas traveled to Washburn University and participated in a mock Quest round without competing against an opponent. The teams who score the highest in the Super Saturday rounds then get to move on to the top 16 teams, where the televised rounds begin.

Since qualifying, the team has prepped as if Quest were a regular meet, answering practice questions  that could end up being asked at Quest.

“For Quest we just go to normal … practices,” Biswas said. “There’s no set ‘this is what’s going to be asked’ [at Quest], it’s just generic knowledge.”

While the teams prepare for Quest in a more condensed amount of time, McGuire begins behind-the-scenes work as early as July. This work includes ordering questions, getting the event approved by KSHSAA and scheduling taping dates

.On Saturday, Jan. 24, the first taping date of the event, six games took place in a single-elimination fashion. Mattingly was proud of the way the team competed against Wichita East.

“We were back in forth … They would get 20 points, then we would [get 20 points],” Mattingly said. “It was a strong game all the way.”

Due to the request of Quest administration, the team’s results cannot be revealed until the event is aired on KTWU.

As the Quest coordinator, McGuire enjoys that teams get to show their full potential.

“I like the underlying motive that it’s an academic competition,” McGuire said. “Here’s an opportunity to showcase the people that are working their minds with academics, we want to showcase and celebrate them.”

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