Strong season sending Scholars Bowl to state Quest contest

IHS team earns trip to prestigious Kansas competition, which will be televised

December 18, 2014

Andrew+Waldman+%28left+to+right%29%2C+Clarie+Moran%2C+Clara+Wicoff+and+Emily+Klubek+prepare+for+competition+during+a+Scholars+Bowl+meet+Nov.+13+in+Oswego.+

Photo by Ryan Eyster

Andrew Waldman (left to right), Clarie Moran, Clara Wicoff and Emily Klubek prepare for competition during a Scholars Bowl meet Nov. 13 in Oswego.

Four Iola High School students used their know-how to place second among 4A schools at a statewide competition and earn themselves a trip to the Kansas Quest High School Academic Competition later this winter.

On Dec. 6, seniors Jonathan Tidd, Andrew Waldman and Sarah Gonzalez and junior Clara Wicoff traveled to Washburn University in Topeka to join students from 50 other Kansas schools in the annual Quest competition. Their 14th-place finish overall qualified them to compete in the televised Quest contest, which is a single-elimination tournament filmed at KTWU-TV.

The top 16 teams at the recent Super Saturday event earned spots in the finals after earning the highest scores in identical timed exams administered to each team.

The Iola High School Scholars’ Bowl team has had an impressive season so far, placing at seven meets — including a first at Burlington, seconds at Crest, Oswego, Central Heights, Eureka, and Anderson County, and third at Prairie View.

“The team is winning a lot of matches and placing at most of the meets,” said adviser Vincent Coons, who has coached Scholars Bowl at IHS for 19 years.

In the nine years that Iola High has gone to the Quest event, this is the first time that it has been in the top 16.

“We tried to qualify two years ago,” Tidd said, “and we had a good team then, but we came up pretty short. This year, I felt like we could do it.”

And achieve that they did. Iola earned enough points to end up second among 4A schools, just 320 points behind first-place Louisburg.

“I was pretty surprised when we qualified,” Wicoff said. “Mr. Coons told us that we would need at least a thousand points to qualify, but even after we found out that we scored 1,180, I didn’t think we would make it.”

The team plans to put extra work into preparing for the Quest competition, which will be filmed in late January and early February. “I’ll definitely be studying my science and history again,” Tidd said, “whereas we don’t usually do that for regular Scholars Bowl meets.”

Last year, the Scholars Bowl team made it to state after finishing first at regionals. The team hopes to be doing well again as the season draws to a close in early February.

“It’s going well,” senior team member Garrett Prall said. “I think we have a chance at winning regionals again and going to

state.”
His coach agreed: “We’ve got a tradition here at Iola,” Coons said, “so we make sure we keep our winning ways.”

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