Burlington High School’s scholars bowl team is heading to nationals after making it to the semifinals of the state championship. Scholars bowl, a sport where teams of four answer questions that range from classical music to pop culture, has grown in profile at BHS after the school won the state championship last year.
Students are divided into A, B and C teams. The A team, the equivalent of a varsity squad, is made up of 3 juniors–Teagan Hart, Mary Markley and Delia McConnell–and Liam Farley, a senior.
“Our team is kinda unique in that we don’t have many seniors on the team,” said Markley, a junior on the team. “A lot of times the varsity level scholars bowl teams have a lot of seniors, because naturally you acquire a lot of knowledge as you go along with high school. But our team has mostly students that will be returning next year, so we’re focusing on really strengthening our team for next year.”
Nathan Arre is a junior on the B team. He said the benefits of scholars bowl extends beyond the match.
“Scholars bowl definitely helped with school,” Arre said. “A lot of questions translate into classes
Last year, the team won the state championship and earned an all expense paid trip to Dallas to compete in the nationals. This year however, the team lost in the semifinals, picking up a spot at nationals but not the funding to get there. The team will have to figure out how to get to nationals, held in Atlanta on memorial day weekend, by themselves.
“The trick now is to figure out how to fund the trip, because we still would like to go,” Markley said. “It’s a great experience”
Kevin Commo is in his second year as head coach after being assistant for 18 years. He says that attending nationals will help strengthen the team.
“We’ve got a good team, and a young team,” Commo said. “We think we can be really good next year, and this gives us some practice time and some enthusiasm to the program.”
So far, the the team has raised approximately $900 dollars through their GoFundMe page and other resources, and plans to continue fundraising through bake sales at school events.
“We’re halfway to where we need to be,” Commo said. “The community has been pretty generous.”
The team hopes that the trip to nationals, as well as the wave of success over the past couple years, will help recruit younger kids.
“We would love to have more kids from the younger grades” Commo said. “Younger students come, and practice against the older students and get intimidated. We try to expose people to it. Get them to attend the competition and see how fun it is”
Arre agrees that the spot is good for underclassmen.
“I would definitely recommend scholars bowl to other students, especially underclassmen, because you can do it in addition to other sports, it looks really good on a college application, and it’s good for everybody,” Arre said. “You don’t have to be a genius.”
You can donate to support the team’s trip here.