Naselle Knowledge Bowl

Left to right: Naselle Knowledge Bowl competitors John D’Agostino, Monte Schell, Travis Popkin and Cooper Miller.

NASELLE — The 2019-20 Knowledge Bowl season is underway, and the Naselle-Grays River Valley High School (NGRVHS) team known as Monte and the Pythons was quick to return to its winning ways.

This is the third year team Monte and the Pythons has competed, earning its way to the Regional and State Knowledge Bowl Competitions in each of the last two years.

Three NGRVHS teams — Monte and the Pythons, The Goop Squad and Scott’s Tots — faced off against 39 other teams from Elma, Montesano, Hoquiam, North Beach, North River, Wishkah, Raymond, South Bend, Valley and Ocosta on Friday, Nov. 15, at the Grays Harbor Community College in Aberdeen. This was the first of three regular season Knowledge Bowl competitions to be conducted by ESD 113.

Including NGRVHS teams, there were a total of 10 teams from 1B schools and 42 teams overall. Monte and the Pythons, comprised of Monte Schell, Travis Popkin, John D’Agostino, and Cooper Miller, finished in first place among 1B school and in third place overall. Teams from Montesano and Ocosta finished in first and second place overall. The Goop Squad, comprised of Brayden Colombo, Owen Matthews, Grace Hunt, Nasir Harris and Malcolm Schell, finished in fifth place among 1B teams and in twenty-second place overall. Scott’s Tots, made up of Josh Chadwick, Theron Frame, Riley Thorsen, Ryan Waltemate, Jack D’Agostino and George Wilson, finished in sixth place among 1B teams and 25th place overall.


Knowledge Bowl is an academic competition for high school students in Washington State. It was originally imported from Colorado. Educational School District (ESD) 114, covering the Olympic Peninsula, coordinated the state’s first Knowledge Bowl competition during the 1980-81 school year in which 42 teams from the regions 15 high schools completed. Within a few years, all ESDs in the state were coordinating regional competitions and the first state tournament was held in 1984. B schools were included starting in 1998. In 2007, B schools were split into 1B and 2B categories based on the size of their student population.

The Rules

The Knowledge Bowl competition consists of a written round and four oral rounds as follows: each room has two adult volunteers who serve as a “reader” and a “timer.” Three competing teams are sent to each of the rooms. The very first test is a 60 question written test. All six members of a team can participate and have 40 minutes to complete the test. Each member of the team is allowed to have a pencil or pen and blank paper. Calculators, cell phones, headsets and computers are not allowed during the competition.

After a short break to allow the timers to bring their scoresheets to the recording center, the first oral round gets underway. After each of the oral rounds is completed, the scores are tabulated and teams are ranked. Groups of three similarly ranked teams are assigned to each room to compete in the next round.

During the oral tests, teams are limited to not more than four members. Members are allowed to switch with alternates between rounds and between questions 25 and 26 during a round. The reader carefully reads the question. The teams have 5 seconds to indicate they wish to answer the question by tapping an electronic contact bar on their table. An electronic control panel allows the timer to determine the order in which each team tapped their contact bar. Once the first team has been identified by the timer, they have 15 seconds to correctly answer the question. If they answer incorrectly, the next team in order has 15 seconds to answer the question. The “reader” determines whether the question has been correctly answered. Each round of oral competition consists of 45 questions. Scores are quickly recorded at the end of each round and standings are posted for the students to view.

Future competitions

The next two Knowledge Bowl competitions will take place on Dec. 6 and Jan. 10, 2020, at the Grays Harbor Community College. At the end of the regular season, the highest placing team from NGRVHS will compete at an ESD 113 regional competition in Tumwater on Feb. 7 for the opportunity to compete at the state Knowledge Bowl in March. The regional competition is limited to 18 teams; six from 1B schools and 12 from 2B schools. Only three of the 1B school teams will then qualify to move on to the state competition.

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