Jessi Huntley-Stern and teammate Anderson Stoddard

Jessie Huntley-Stern looked to teammate Anderson Stoddard in disbelief after it was revealed that the IHS #1 team was in second place going into the final round of the regional Knowledge Bowl meet in Camas Monday.

CAMAS — Fate can be fickle. Just ask the Ilwaco High School Knowledge Bowl team after taking a somewhat circuitous path Monday to earning a berth to the state meet.

Not-so-simple twist of fate

Local high school sports teams weren’t the only ones who had their postseason schedules altered due to the rash of extreme winter weather last month.

The regional Knowledge Bowl meet, with a trip to the state meet on the line, was originally scheduled for Feb. 25. But winter weather caused a postponement to three days later when a good portion of the Ilwaco team would have been in Spokane supporting the IHS girls basketball team at their state tournament, as members of the pep band. But once again, weather caused a postponement to March 4.

Going into the final round of the meet Monday, IHS trailed the leader, Toutle Lake, by just a few points, and was ahead of third place Columbia Adventist Academy.

The final round was the second of two quiz-show-style rounds. But while the previous round had been their most successful of the season, scoring 14 points, the final turned out to be tougher.

Miranda Masonholder of the IHS #2 Knowledge Bowl team

Miranda Masonholder of the IHS #2 Knowledge Bowl team presents a possible answer to her team during the second round of Monday’s regional meet.

With only two of the three teams going to state, Columbia Adventist Academy scored 12 points to easily beat the other two teams in the round. IHS scored five points, placing them third behind Toutle Lake (who scored eight in the round) and leaving Ilwaco out of a trip to state.

However, another twist of fate would help them out. With the state meet taking place on a Saturday, Columbia Adventist would not be able to attend, boosting IHS into the second-place slot and getting them a berth to state.

According to IHS coach Tom Trudell, this scenario has played out before.

“As happened a few years ago, the Adventists cannot go to the state tournament because it’s held on a Saturday,” said Trudell. “I think I had reasonable hopes (going into the meet) but this was our teams’ best performance of the season, by far. They peaked at the perfect time, eh?”

Season comes down to this

Despite being filled with more than 70 students, the Camas High School library fell near silent as the meet began Monday with a 40-minute written round. Each five-student team filled a table, with students popping the staples on the sheets of questions, and passing the papers around the table.

Knowledge Bowl timer

The 40-minute timer for the opening written round ticked away in the background of the Camas High School library Monday.

As the time ticked away, teammates passed whispers and the papers back and forth, with each getting a shot at the various questions.

After a slow start at the beginning of the second round — the first of two “Jeopardy” rounds — the IHS #1 team of Will Brindley, Jessie Huntley-Stern, Zack Brundage, Kyler Blossom and Anderson Stoddard got hot, at one point getting three correct answers in a row.

Meanwhile, IHS team #2, made up of Shasta Stolle, Trinity Wilson, Miranda Masonholder and Austin Wiedeman, were competing in the next room over, and scored three points in the round. Trudell noted that Masonholder, Stolle and Wilson were all newcomers to the team this year, but were important contributors.

Jessi Huntley-Stern and Zack Brundage of IHS Knowledge Bowl

Jessie Huntley-Stern and Zack Brundage of IHS Knowledge Bowl team #1 reacted after answering their third straight question right during the second round of Monday’s regional Knowledge Bowl meet in Camas.

The season began in November with the first of their four regular season meets, at Mark Morris High School in Longview. The December meet was in Woodland, followed by Kelso in January and February in LaCenter.

“Throughout the season, the Ilwaco teams have performed consistently well against very tough competition,” said coach Trudell.

During the regular season, the IHS Knowledge Bowl teams competed against schools of all sizes from throughout southwestern Washington — from 2A schools like Mark Morris, to fellow 2B schools like Wahkiakum.

The state Knowledge Bowl meet is March 23 at West Valley High School in Yakima.

IHS Knowledge Bowl team #1

IHS Knowledge Bowl team #1 worked away at the opening written round of Monday’s regional meet.

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