The St. James High School Knowledge Bowl team placed 14th out of 95 teams at last weeks subregional meet, qualifying them for regionals.
The team consists of five bright-minded students, excelling in subjects all across the academic board; seniors Chantel Henderson, Trey Witcraft, Sara Craig and juniors Briar Lenz and Raymundo Cardenas.
The team placed in the top-six at each of their previous meets prior to sub-regionals, including third and second place finishes.
With just 15 seconds to answer each question, it takes quick thinking and a level head to stay focused in a high-pressure situation.
“If you know something that might possibly be the answer, you just throw it out there,” said Chantel Henderson.
In those moments, two members of the team can debate over the correct answer, adding to the tension.
The level of success the Saints have had led them to be bumped up into a tougher division of teams.
“Whenever you get into the top two rooms it’s so intense because you never get to hear a full question because somebody always knows the answer,” said Trey Witcraft, spokesperson for the group.
Other times, frustration sets in when a team buzzes in right before the quintet from St. James.
“Sometimes you’ll know the question but you’ll buzz in like a hundredth of a second after another team. It happens a lot in those higher-up rooms,” said Briar Lenz.
Each of the five students has their strengths, where they are most comfortable. Even with their impressive placement at sub-regionals, the group knows of at least one topic they need to improve on.
“World Geography,” said Henderson bluntly.
As the stakes get higher heading into regionals, five of St. James’ brightest still find a way to keep the mood calm and enjoyable. Keeping emotions and tensions under control is manageable with Henderson and Witcraft being apart of competitions since sixth grade.
“I feel like we have good team chemistry and as long as we keep working together we can succeed and maybe advance,” said Lenz. “We joke around a lot which makes it a lot easier.”
First-year coach Carissa Lick says she can’t take too much credit for the team’s success.
“Mostly I’m just giving them the chance to do what they’ve already been doing,” said Lick. “There’s so much initiative in this group, I’m really excited they can go to regionals and that they’ve been so successful.”
Knowledge Bowl often times gets overlooked by sports and fine arts. With a strong performance, and, potentially a trip to state, the team hopes to draw more attention.
“What we learn goes into the classroom and it helps us remember what we learn,” said Henderson. “In American government these last few weeks, we’ve talked about the Constitution and the amendments and it’s like ‘hey, I know that because of knowledge bowl questions’.”
Another trophy in the trophy case from regionals could help the team gain some of the respect and attention they rightly deserve.