The Scholastic Bowl team consisting of junior Tim Cho, sophomore Ethan Ashbrook, sophomore Dylan Bowman, and freshman Jonathan Lau won first place at the National Academic Quiz Tournament State Championship (NAQT). By winning the tournament, they have qualified for the National Championship in May.
Since the Scholastic Bowl team won a state championship last year, IHSA rules required them to get bumped from 1A to 2A. Participating in 2A this year, the NAQT State Championship was the first state championship the team has won at the highest division of competition.
“Nationally, this [NAQT] is probably more important than IHSA,” said Team Captain Tim Cho.
Uni was against Auburn High school for the championship game. Coming into the tournament Uni was seeded third while Auburn was seeded first.
“Just the championship game was pretty intense,” said Cho. “They got off to a better start than us… Eventually we caught up and clinched the game… We ended up winning by one question.”
In addition to their big win, the season has been bright for the team.
“It [the team] looks great. Maybe the best it’s ever been,” said team sponsor Chris Butler. “It’s really evenly divided, so we go to these tournaments and we will win the tournament, but there won’t be a single one of our players who is on the all-tournament team, like top ten players, because it’s so evenly balanced that they all pitch in.”
As a result of their no-cut policy, the Scholastic Bowl team as a whole splits into the number of people allowed on a team. If, for example, a tournament allows five people teams and they have 15 students, then they send three teams dubbed A, B, C. At the NAQT tournament, which was a qualifying tournament, two groups (A and B) from the team qualified and participated. The A team won the tournament.
“We all split up what categories to study,” said Cho. “We have everything covered and that’s our team strength. A lot of schools they just have one or two people who study a lot and try to know everything, but the thing is when we have four people studying as much as they are it’s hard for them to win.”