High-schoolers flex knowledge muscles

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The Steamboat Springs High School Knowledge Bowl team began its season in impressive fashion Saturday, never letting go of an early lead at a Rangely tournament and cruising to a win.

"We blew 'em away," said coach Barb Tuchlinsky, an assistant librarian at the high school. "We won every oral round."

Six students are members of the Knowledge Bowl team. They are senior Sarah Bockelman; juniors Kristin Toy, Andrew Riley and Austin Anderson; and freshmen Anna Roder and Charlie Stoddard. All but Toy competed in Saturday's tournament.

Knowledge Bowl is an "academic sport," Tuchlinsky said, in which teams from area high schools compete against one another. Tournaments consist of one written round -- with a 60-question multiple-choice test -- followed by four oral rounds of 50 questions each. Questions in all rounds can cover math, science, history, grammar and even popular culture.

"It's a broad range," Tuchlinsky said.

Teams of four students from each school compete in the oral rounds, with three schools playing one another at a time. The first student to hit a buzzer as a question is being read has 15 seconds to answer that question.

It can make for a tiring day.

"They're kind of brain-dead when they're done," Tuchlinsky said. "Although our team was pretty psyched."

It had reason to be. The Steamboat team answered 44 of the 60 written questions correctly, placing it in first from the start. The team then won all the oral rounds -- though they were not all easy.

"I won the last round on the very last question," said Roder, recalling how she knew that the fall of the Roman Empire ended the historical period known as "Classical Antiquity."

For one team member, nailing tough questions is what makes Knowledge Bowl so enjoyable.

"It's really fun when you answer a question and no one else in the room knows it," Bockelman said Monday. "That's the best feeling."

Four other high schools competed Saturday: Moffat County, Rangely, North Park in Walden and Middle Park in Granby.

Steamboat finished with 101 points. Moffat County was second with 86.

The team's next tournament is Jan. 6 in Walden. Tuchlinsky, who is in her fifth year coaching the team, said a tournament in Steamboat is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 10.

-- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203

or email mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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