Four Urban Middle School students sped through questions Monday about the origin of words, the sinking of famous ships and the hosts of presidential debates to be crowned Quiz Bowl champions.
The winning team from Urban - John B., Kevin G., Cole M. and Bram V. - was one of nine middle school teams that faced off at the annual Sheboygan Area School District Quiz Bowl, held at Horace Mann Middle School.
Farnsworth, Horace Mann and Urban middle schools each sent three teams comprised of four students to the competition. They raced to answer questions that showed off their knowledge of current events, geography, math and science.
"It's one of the most exciting times of the year," said Cindy Lindeen, a Horace Mann teacher who organized the event. "They really compete hard to get to the final three. I'm just impressed with what they know."
Preliminary rounds narrowed the field to three teams, two from Urban and one from Farnsworth.
They sat under the spotlight in the auditorium for a final round while Tom Binder, principal of Wilson Elementary School and longtime master of ceremonies, sped through about 15 minutes worth of questions.
Most competitors sat expressionless and stared straight ahead while the questions were asked. Then they threw their heads back and sighed when they buzzed in seconds after an opponent. Sometimes they burst into laughter as students guessed, one by one, every incorrect choice to a multiple-choice question.
"Which of the following famous ships did not sink?" Binder asked. "Which of the following nations does not border Libya?"
On stage, the competitors gripped their handheld buzzers to signal they knew the answer. In the audience, the eliminated competitors squirmed in their seats and whispered the answers under their breath.
After a rapid-fire round, the team from Urban easily claimed the top spot. They won with 19 points, more than twice the score of the runner-up, also from Urban.
The champion eighth-grade teammates have all competed since sixth grade and first joined forces this year. They say they rely not on practice, but on lessons learned in the classroom.
"It's fun to see what facts you know," one student said.
They call themselves experts in certain categories: One excels in math, while another claims the sports questions. "Sometimes, you just shout out and get it right," another student said.
The teens, who said they will miss the rush to answer a trivia question when they move to high school next year, took home trophies to mark the end of their quiz bowl careers.
Sheboygan Press Article - Kate McGinty