Battle of the brains ensues

Area students' knowledge tested in trivia competition


— High school students from Steamboat Springs to Idaho Springs will test their knowledge of the world today at the last Knowledge Bowl meet before the state qualifying match Feb. 9.

Steamboat Springs, Moffat County, Clear Creek, Middle Park, North Park and Rangely high schools each will gather one, two or three teams, comprised of four students maximum, to play an educational trivia game.

Steamboat Springs will host the Knowledge Bowl from 9 a.m. to noon today.

Trivia questions range from math and science to literature and geography. Four rounds of 50 questions each and a 60-question test allow the teams to get a maximum of 260 points.

The state qualifying match in February will decide who travels to the state match, whose date will be announced later.

After a multiple-choice test, the teams are chosen in accordance with the best scorers. When teams are picked, the top three go into one classroom, the next three teams into another and so on.

At times, teams from the same school may compete against each other. It all depends on who ranks the highest.

The host reads a question and whoever hits the buzzer first answers the question. That team member cannot confer with other teammates, but he or she can ask, "Who has the answer?" Each team is given 15 seconds to answer; if it cannot, or if it answers incorrectly, the next team that buzzes in gets only five seconds to answer.

Lauren Weaver, a sophomore at Steamboat Springs High School, said she gets frustrated when the answers come faster than the reaction.

"I hate when I was thinking the right answer, but I didn't say it and then another team does," said Weaver, 16. "I get sort of mad."

Each team receives one point for the correct answer, and after each round, the host readjusts the teams so that the top three are always together.

This year, the high school has a varsity and a junior varsity team, with the sharpest and sometimes older students on varsity and the others comprising junior varsity.

Junior Evan Champlin has been on both teams, depending on the outcome of his test score. This being his first year in the Knowledge Bowl, Champlin said he has enjoyed it.

"It really helps with the SATs, you get to meet other people, but it's a pain traveling," Champlin said.

Paying attention in class and watching The Discovery Channel are two ways Champlin, 17, said he prepares for the meets.

"Whatever you can learn helps," Champlin said. "But sometimes they ask really minute details."

Lee Cox, math teacher at the high school, and Sam Marti, geography and reading teacher, are sponsors for both teams. Since the beginning of the season in November, Cox and Marti have practiced with both teams once a week, with two practices the week before a meet.

In the beginning of the season, Weaver said the junior varsity team was getting 60 points out of 260; now the team is at about 100. She also said the varsity team was in the 200 range. Although the junior varsity did not place at the last meet, the varsity team took third place.

Clear Creek and Moffat County usually are the top teams, Cox said.

Cox said this is her first year at the Knowledge Bowl and if she and Marti were a team, they would balance each other fairly well.

"I've always enjoyed trivia, but this is much more knowledge-based. I've actually learned a lot," Cox said. "But because I'm a math teacher, I'm not too keen on literature."

Topher Simon, a 16-year-old sophomore, also in his first year of Bowl competition, said the challenge is really fun, but sometimes a little practice is needed.

Simon said he remembers learning who a certain president was during a historical event and distinct features about Mark Twain.

"If you're weak in some areas, then you can study subjects you need to get stronger on," Simon said.


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