R-P Knowledge Bowl Team headed to state

The Rushford-Peterson Knowledge Bowl Team will be advancing to the state meet held in Brainerd, Minn., in April. Members of the team are, front row (L-R:) Ricky Buchanan and Coach Meredith Johnson. Back row: Jasmine Schueler and Jake James. Not pictured: Leah Himlie
By : 
Chad Smith
Tri-County Record

Rushford-Peterson is excelling in this year’s Knowledge Bowl competitions. Middle school coach Wendy Feldmeier and her team recently finished up their season in January by taking first in their regional meet (no state competition for middle school). The high school team recently advanced to the state Knowledge Bowl Meet in spite of being shorthanded at the Regional Tournament.

Meredith Johnson, R-P Knowledge Bowl Coach says it takes a lot of work to get that far. “We do all of our meets at the Southeast Service Cooperative in Rochester,” she said. “At the Regional Meet, you have five rounds of 45 different questions to answer, so it takes a while.”

Before teams even get to the Regional Meet, there are three regular-season round-robin meets that don’t really count toward any team standings. Johnson said they’re more about getting teams ready to compete in the tournaments. Every meet consists of one round in which students answer written questions, followed by five rounds of oral questions.

“We started off the tournaments at the Sub-Regional, at which teams had to place in the top six in order to advance to the Region Tournament,” she said. “We had one team that placed in the top six and went to regionals, which took place on March fourth.”

That’s where things got interesting for the R-P team. “We had two (Leah Himlie and Ricky Buchanan) of the four students that couldn’t go to the Region Tournament because of Honor Band commitments,” Johnson said. “Jasmine Schueler and Jake James were the only two kids that competed against teams with a full roster. Somehow, they got second place at the Region, which qualified us to go to state.”

Adding two different kids to fill in the empty roster spots on the four-person team isn’t allowed. Teams are only allowed to take the same four students to the Region tournament that competed in the sub-regional. Johnson said she was extremely impressed with how her kids performed. “I just told them to do their best and have a little fun doing it,” she said.

All four team members will be heading to the State Knowledge Bowl Meet, which is in Brainerd on April 10 and 11.  For those who don’t know a lot about Knowledge Bowl, Johnson explained the tournament setup.

“Students go up against two other teams in each round,” she said. “They stand in front of what I call ‘buzzer strips.’ The teams ask a set of questions, which aren’t multiple choice, so they have to know the answer. When they know the answer, the students have to hit one of those buzzers as quickly as possible.

“You have to be knowledgeable to do this,” Johnson added. “They’re very specific about the answers they’ll accept. There are a lot of current event questions, a lot of geography questions, as well as questions on science, history, grammar, and math.

“It’s amazing how well these students can absorb information. If a student just seems to be able to take in and remember a lot of different information, Knowledge Bowl is for them.”

Teams will start off their competition with a written test before the oral round. The tests include 60 questions for the students to answer. Every correct answer means points for the team.

“This is my first year of coaching Knowledge Bowl,” Johnson said. “I coached Academic Triathlon for fifth through eighth graders in Chatfield. We went to state a couple of times and that was a lot of fun too.”