Instead of athletic prowess, Greenfield’s Quiz Bowl teams exhibit their ability to quickly recall all facets of their knowledge to answer questions for points, and Greenfield’s teams have a history of performing well.
Greenfield’s Quiz Bowl teams offer students the opportunity to be competitive outside of athletics, work as a team, the chance to learn and play, and exercise their brains.
There’s a middle school team, as well as high school junior varsity and a varsity teams.
This year’s Greenfield Middle School Quiz Bowl team consisted of nine seventh and eighth graders. The season got underway in January. Each year, team size varies as other students want to join and give it a try, coach Kristen Wise said. The middle school team is open to any student in the seventh or eighth grade that is interested.
Practice is typically throughout the week and scrimmages are held whenever possible. One of those scrimmages is students against teachers, and it’s one that the students really enjoy, Wise said.
The Quiz Bowl format is kind of like “Jeopardy,” but played in teams, she said. For example: a question will be read and teams have five seconds to buzz in and answer the question. If a math question is read, they have 30 seconds to answer each question. Questions vary and can be based on things like math, history, English, sports, and even be movie- or book-related. In a match, each participating school starts with four players and after the first 15 questions, the schools are given a chance to sub other players.
The GMS Quiz Bowl team scrimmages Ross county schools. The last two years the GMS team has placed first place at this tournament.
Wise said a highlight of the students’ participation is not just them using their knowledge.
“Friendships are made, memories are made and each team continues learning from each other,” she said. “The kids at the middle school level are so fun to have. They amaze me every day by how smart and quick they really are.”
Once students go to high school, those interested in Quiz Bowl must try out. This year, there were about 18 students active in Quiz Bowl — seven varsity and 11 junior varsity, according to first-year coach Rachel Soards.
Quiz Bowl practice typically starts at the end of October and finishes around the end of February. Students compete with other schools in the Frontier Athletic Conference. Soards said there are also tournaments offered throughout the season that include teams outside the league.
During the season students practice a couple times a week, Soards said. They break into groups and do a mock match using questions that cover world history, government, culture, world religions, visual and performing arts, literature, politics and social issues.
Stats are kept to help identify where players’ strengths are. Soards said sometimes players know a tremendous amount of information, but they need to practice to know when to buzz in and they have to gain confidence in their ability.
If a team buzzes in and answers the initial question correctly, the team gets three bonus questions that only that team gets the opportunity to answer. Players can discuss these additional questions and give an answer that they all agree on. This can give the team extra points. Also, if a teammate buzzes in early while a question is still being read and it is before a certain point in the question, they can accrue additional points called power. If they answer the question incorrectly at any point while the question is being read, they get negative points.
This year, McClain’s junior varsity team went undefeated and the varsity team only lost one match. Soards said they “dominated the FAC Tournament,” winning every match. McClain’s Quiz Bowl team qualified for both the National Small School Tournament competition held in Chicago, as well as the national competition held at four different locations across the nation.
Soards said students’ participation in Quiz Bowl gives them the opportunity to discuss important issues and to showcase their knowledge and ability to perform outside of athletic competitions.
“I have to give credit for much of the structure and preparedness of my players to our former coaches,” Soards said. “Our players this year were phenomenal. The coaches are a great group to work with.”
“All of the teams have amazing players and coaches,” Soards said. “They have made the season a great experience for all of our kids.”
Angela is a correspondent for the Greenfield Exempted Village Schools.