Quiz Bowl team competes in televised Quest tournament

Results will not be available until airing in April


By Nora Lucas

Posing for pictures, the Quiz Bowl team stands tall. From left to right: junior Sam Phipps, senior Tom McClain, coach Mary Beth Mattingly, senior Ben Stadler, junior Landon Butler, senior Emma Wilhoit, coach Donna Riss and junior Jameson Isaacsen.

Nora Lucas, JagWire editor-in-chief

The Quiz Bowl team competed in the Quest game show at Washburn University on Saturday, Jan. 28. Different from other Quiz Bowl tournaments, Quest is filmed for public television through Topeka’s KTWU. There are three different rounds: toss-up, face-off and the lightning round.

Although the team will return to compete next Saturday, Feb. 4, the results will not be available until Quest’s airing in April as not to ruin the surprise for viewers. The first round will be aired on Sunday, April 2 and the second round will be aired on Sunday, April 30.

Despite the excitement of television airing, senior Tom McClain believes the Quest content is more challenging and specialized.

“Quest tends to be more obscure questions and more focused on literature and history, so we work on those the most when we practice,” McClain said. “Unfortunately, people with science and math specialties get less time in because there are going to be fewer questions in their area of knowledge.”

Because of Quest’s difficulty, the team takes extra measures during weeks leading up to the event to prepare adequately. Senior Emma Wilhoit says most practices focus heavily on advanced questions.

“We have example questions that more closely mirror those asked at Quest,” Wilhoit said. “We also divide the workload into sections, so everyone has relative mastery over a different topic, though [McClain] just carries anyway.”

Aside from the content, McClain thinks the Quest format is different in and of itself.

“The structure when you’re on TV rounds is very different from normal Quiz Bowl,” McClain said. “We have to worry about converting our bonus questions, as well as beating the other team to toss-ups. Also, Quest is just longer than a normal Quiz Bowl round, so you have to work hard to keep an advantage because there’s always time for the other team to come back.”

For McClain, simply participating in the event was rewarding.

“Having gone for four years now, I really enjoyed getting to move up from this lowly replacement guy as a freshman to being team captain as a senior,” McClain said. “That makes Quest all the more meaningful.”

In preparation for the upcoming regional and state Quiz Bowl competitions, Wilhoit says the team is putting in extra effort.

“We’re trying to up the number of days that we practice to ensure we’re in the right mindset,” Wilhoit said. “Also, a lot of Quiz Bowl questions end up being over roughly the same topics, so it’s a matter of reviewing those topics as well.”

The team will next compete at the regional tournament on Thursday, Feb. 2 at Washington High School.

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