LONGVIEW — Players on the Ilwaco High School #2 Knowledge Bowl team felt pretty good going into the penultimate round of Feb. 26’s district tournament in Longview. They did well in the first two rounds and were in the running for a berth to the state tournament.
But they were downright ecstatic when it was announced that they would play for the district title in the final round and that all three of those teams would be advancing to the state tournament in Arlington on March 17. Last season, many of the same players just missed going as only the top two teams advanced and they finished third.
For many on the six-player team, advancing to State was a first.
“I’ve never been to State for anything before,” said Serena Kuhn after the tournament.
And the IHS #2 team are not only smart, but they also recognize humor — after realizing they had been holding their third place trophy backwards for photos, team captain Maddie Chabot pointed out, “We’re going to State for Knowledge Bowl and we’re holding the trophy backwards. It’s irony,” she said.
In the next-to-last round, IHS #2 — made up of Kuhn, Chabot, Jessie Huntley Stern, Zachere Brundage, Devin Cavness and coach Tom Trudell’s son Tristan — faced off with their teammates, IHS #1 — made up of Kiki Roby, Isabel Aguilar, Michael Knudson, Brendan Chabot, Kaden Jeffries and Alex Carper — and the team from Toutle Lake High School.
At the halfway point of the round — where teams can sub players if they choose — IHS #2 was tied 7-7 with Toutle. Despite a slow start to the second round, IHS #2 scored a total of 11 points to finish behind Toutle with 16.
Going into the championship round, IHS #2 was matched up against Kalama High School and Toutle again.
Before the round, coach Trudell pointed out how Toutle was a “monster team, who’re fast on the buzzer,” a technique they used in both rounds — quickly hitting the buzzer first despite not always knowing the answer and then using the 15-second clock to figure the answer out.
This can work to competitors’ advantage when there are questions like, “What epithet did the pilot Douglas Corrigan earn when he took off from New York in 1938 headed for California and ended up 28 hours later in Dublin, Ireland?” (“Wrong Way”) or “What property of a wave is usually represented by the Greek letter lambda?” (Wavelength).
But it was Kalama who ruled the final round, finishing with a final point tally of 79. Points are accumulated during the written first round and the three “Jeopardy”-style quiz rounds which feature 50 questions each.
Ilwaco claimed the third, scoring 57 points total.
Coach Trudell said he likes his team’s chances at State.
“This is a nice achievement,” he said. “I was very proud of them. They had very tough competition with Kalama, Seton Catholic, Toutle.”
Ilwaco will be one of 16 teams competing for the State title next weekend at Arlington High School.
“I think they’ll do very well,” Trudell said, joking, “I’m going to force feed them trivia through a fire hose!”
Kuhn said she thinks the team is a good one because of their diverse knowledge.
“It’s fun having a team,” she said. “You all have a certain skill set or something you know about. And then when you put us all together we make a great team.”
Kuhn said that some players on the team are “specialists,” in a way, as they might know a lot about a certain subject.
“One of us is good at math. One of us is good at history. Another person is good at science. It makes a well-rounded group,” she said, noting that her strong suit is science and medical terms.