Competition doesn’t always involve sports. The St. Mary’s Colgan High School Scholars Bowl team recently brought home a trophy and medals after placing third the 3A State Scholars Bowl tournament, held Feb. 11 in Kingman.

Competition doesn’t always involve sports. The St. Mary’s Colgan High School Scholars Bowl team recently brought home a trophy and medals after placing third the 3A State Scholars Bowl tournament, held Feb. 11 in Kingman.

“We are the first 3A trophy at the school,” said Beverly Mitchelson, who coaches the team with Beverly Pommier.

Team members are David Krall, William Mitchelson, Taylor Thomas, Ben Cortes and Joe Otter.
Mitchelson said that the team usually practices Tuesday mornings before school and during lunch on Thursday in the SMC library.

“On Tuesdays we answer questions from the previous year’s tournaments, using the buzzers,” he said. “On Thursdays we research and study independently.”

Tournament questions are not released in advance, so how do they know what to study?

“The questions are supposed to be based on the curriculum,” Mrs. Mitchelson said.

“You study as much as you can and hope the questions are there,” Thomas said.

Krall added that Scholars Bowl teams can get some idea about subject areas by noting what questions are asked in previous tournaments.

“Say there’s a question about Arthurian myth in a tournament, then you might study Arthurian myth because there will probably be other questions in that area later on,” he said. “It broadens your horizons a bit.”

Krall transferred to SMC from St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Parsons.

“I did Scholars Bowl there, but they called it Quiz Bowl,” he said.

He was also on the St. Patrick’s Religion Bowl team, which occasionally competed against SMC.

“Ben Cortes consistently creamed me on that,  then I came here, joined the Scholars Bowl team and he’s my team mate,” Krall said.

Team members have their various areas of specialization, and Krall’s is English and literature. Cortes and Thomas answer more of the science questions.

“Whatever questions they ask, chances are you’ve studied it somewhere, especially math,” Cortes said. “And we all read a lot on our own.”

“We really have a pretty well-rounded group, and they all contribute,” Mrs. Mitchelson said. “Our weakness seems to be fine arts.”

There’s another weakness as well. Since all five team members are male, they are less familiar more feminine-oriented subjects, such as books that might be  considered “chick lit.”

“There are times when we consistently get questions on ‘Wuthering Heights’, and we miss them because none of us have read it,” Mitchelson said.

He noted that it’s only been in the past month and a half that all five members have been able to participate in tournaments together because of commitments to sports and SMC theater.

The team competed Feb. 2 at regionals, then went on to state. Otter said that they weren’t especially intimidated to be competing at the state level.

“It’s really the same environment as other tournaments, a classroom with the same buzzers,” Krall said. “That’s kind of comforting.”

In fact, the team tends not to be that anxious about competition.

“We’re kind of laid-back,” said Thomas, who’s team captain. “We’re probably the most laid-back team.”

“We’re definitely less serious,” Mitchelson said, “but it seems to work.”

Krall believes it’s an advantage to be more at ease.

“The more tense you are, the more difficult it is to bring an answer to mind,” he said.

But the state tournament was very special to him.

“I had an anime convention I was going to with my sisters, and as we got closer to the state tournament, I realized that it was on the same date as the convention,” Krall said. “But if I was beside these guys for qualifying for state, I couldn’t just walk away.”

A junior, Krall may go even further in demonstrating his team spirit and loyalty. He’s seriously considering forcing himself to read “Wuthering Heights.”