With its strong finish at the Hicksville Invitational, the quiz bowl team from Swanton High School proved themselves worthy to play on a national stage. On Friday, May 3 the team will represent their school in a 143-team national competition: National Academic Quiz Tournaments’ Small School National Championship Tournament.
Quiz bowl is a competitive, academic, interscholastic activity for teams of four students. Quiz bowl teams use buzzers to answer questions about science, math, history, literature, mythology, geography, social science, current events, sports, and popular culture.
The matches feature a blend of individual competition and team collaboration, since no individual player is likely to be an expert in all subject areas. Participation in quiz bowl both reinforces lessons from the classroom and encourages players to develop new intellectual interests.
Swanton has attended the Small School National Championship Tournament (SSNCT) two times before. Most recently, in 2018, they finished 4-6.
“This season’s been a lot of fun for me because we qualified for nationals back in November, so I’ve been able to sit back a little more and just enjoy watching my team play,” said Swanton Coach Josh Eppert. “We’re hoping to do well on our first day at nationals so that we can play in the final rounds on Sunday, something we’ve not yet been able to do over the past two years in Chicago.”
The SSNCT in suburban Rosemont, Ill. is the only quiz bowl national championship pitting small schools against each other. It has one division containing non-selective public schools with 500 or fewer students in their top three grades, and another division for other schools with 350 or fewer students in their top three grades. Last year’s tournament featured 96 public-school teams and 64 charter and private-school teams from across the United States. Glasgow High School from Kentucky won the public-school championship for the second year in a row, and the Early College at Guilford of Greensboro, N.C. won the Open Division title.
Swanton may face familiar foes in Rosemont, as Evergreen, Maumee Valley, Pettisville, and Ottawa Hills will also be attending.
The team, in the Traditional Public Schools Division, will be captained by Haiden Gombash and Seth Rains, who will be joined by Riley Bellner, Thomas Chonko, Brady Lemons, Natalie Newman, Haylee Pelland, and Colton Santchi.
The team comes in with some nationals experience: Chonko, Gombash, Rains, and Santchi played the 2018 Small School National Championship Tournament.
“What stands out to me about the team this year is that they’ve been able to remain light-hearted and laugh, even in the most difficult matches we’ve played,” said Eppert. “Most of the varsity team has been playing for the past three to four years, so they’re very experienced and can generally stay relaxed and focused while playing.”
Tournament results will be updated throughout the three days of competition at https://bit.ly/2ILocFb so everyone can follow along and see how the team does.