Scholarly studies for a successful season

Bela Torres, reporter

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Starting their practices in October, and competing through the spring, the scholar bowl team prepares for success in their competitions, adjusting from previous years’ performances. The goals of the team and its individuals help push the members to better their game and grow as a team throughout their season.
Reflecting on past years’ teams, coach Alex Berkovich explains the changing composition of its participants. The team consists of 15 students who make up both the Varsity and Junior Varsity teams and who work together to create connections among the members.
“We have expanded to more students and are starting to get more group dynamics, and have a community feel to the team,” said Berkovich.
The bonding between the members allows for more communication to enhance their involvement and engagement.
“They started a little network setting where they work together and find good resources,” said Berkovich.
Demonstrating the involvement among teammates, junior Brendan Fuller works with fellow member and junior, Joel Miles, to enhance his skills and improve his game.

“I work with Joel Miles. Me and him will give each other scholar bowl questions from a website called quizdb.org, which has a database of tens of thousands of questions from different tournaments. We just copy and paste the questions from there and practice them,” said Fuller.

Studying questions from multiple subjects exposes the members to questions that could make an appearance at the tournaments. Having multiple members that specialize in several subjects strengthens the team’s performance as a whole.

“This year, we are pretty confident that we can go to state because now we have Joel, who is a generalist and usually gets about 70 points per game, and we have Jay, who is a senior with experience. We basically just have a bunch of generalists who cover all the topics, so we are confident that we can do a lot better this year,” said Fuller.

Making it to State requires passing through both Conference and District tournaments. Having numerous juniors provides the team with experienced players that betters their odds of meeting their goals.

“This year, our Conference and Districts have changed. Our team used to be a lot of seniors, so we lost all of them, but now there are a lot of juniors, and we will use that to dominate the next two years,” said Berkovich.

Having attended previous competitions allows for the members to strategize their preparation leading up to them. Returning members notice the trends that vary from school to school, enhancing their confidence going into the competitions.

“A lot of the times, each school has characteristic questions, so certain schools will have more literature or history. If you know what school you are going to, you can oftentimes study in specific areas,” said Fuller.

In addition to preparing for specific competitions, other members focus on improving their general knowledge in certain topics that get looked over. For Miles, his focus lies on his previously least exposed subjects.

“A lot of my studying is single-topic. I have the background knowledge to do very well in areas like history and religion without any studying, but over the last summer I worked on a lot of literature and philosophy questions for the primary purpose of being able to consistently get questions in those areas,” said Miles.
While each person works to improve their individual skill set, the overall team benefits. Spreading their horizons to include less worked on subjects is helpful towards earning extra points.

“We are going to do a better job of having more people specialize in certain topic areas. Last year we did not have a literature or philosophy player, but this year I have filled that gap. We also have people specifically studying fine arts and science this year so we can get points from questions that we previously would not have known,” said Miles.

Strengthening individual skills and putting in extra work outside of practice is a key part of gaining potentially useful knowledge that could assist the team’s scores. While it benefits the specific players, it also contributes to the whole team, allowing them to reach towards their goals.
“I am a much stronger player right now than I was just a year ago in basically every area, and our team has improved a lot in terms of dedication. We all have fairly high hopes for this season,” said Miles.

The scholar bowl team has big goals for their season and is focused on strengthening the bond between its members, while also individually working to increase their knowledge, in order to better their chances of making it to the final competitions.