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ML Knowledge Bowl team wraps up season in Chicago

Cheney Free Press of Cheney, Washington

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The Medical Lake High School Knowledge Bowl team wrapped up its season after they competed in the National Academic Championship in Chicago, June 11-13.

Medical Lake went 1-5, in the preliminary rounds.

Ginny Luhn, one of the team's coaches, said the students learned a lot and played well, considering they were competing under quiz bowl rules, which she said is different than the knowledge bowl rules they are used to.

"The analogy that I use is they were like a baseball team learning to play cricket in the middle of the game," Luhn said. "But we didn't shame ourselves, the kids did well."

One example Luhn gave about the rule changes was the scoring. In knowledge bowl, questions are worth one point each. For quiz bowl, each question has different point values.

"A group could have 10 questions and they are worth five points each," Luhn said. "Teams can jump ahead of you with one or two right answers."

Another difference was in how teams answered questions. Under knowledge bowl rules, teams will answer questions together. In quiz bowl, only an individual team member may answer a question.

After the team was finished with the competition, Luhn said they visited the city's sites including the Chicago Music Exchange, and the 33rd Annual Chicago Blues Festival.

"The students didn't really visit the tourist spots, they wanted to see the city for itself," Luhn said. "Chicago was a great experience for them."

The National Academic Championship was a good way for the team to end the year.

The team started out with 25-30 members. After some students dropped, the team had 24 members and formed two varsity and three JV teams.

"Co-coach Tara Feider also brought some new ideas and some new techniques when it comes to playing," Luhn added.

Prior to nationals, the team competed in several practice competitions before taking second in the NEWESD101 regional's and Washington State Knowledge Bowl in March. Luhn said the team was invited to other National Academic Championship competitions, one in Louisiana and another in Washington DC "The reason we chose Chicago was because Louisiana was too soon (after state) and Washington DC was happening during graduation," Luhn said.

Luhn was also grateful for the Medical Lake Booster Club, who helped raise money for the team's expenses.

"It's nice to see adults who are invested in the students and the kids will pay that forward," Luhn said. "Small schools have the opportunity to do big things, but if they don't have the support of the adults, they don't get the chance to do them. Medical Lake is a special place like that."

The team will lose a couple of seniors — Jeremy Ryan, who Luhn said specialized in science and math, and Alex Carl, who was the team's "history guy." She added that the team will have a strong core group returning next year, including Gabriel Mangione and Nick Isherwood, who Luhn described as a "great captain for the team."

"I can see this group being powerful players next year," Luhn said. "I can't wait to play the big schools."

Al Stover can be reached at

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Original Publication Date: June 23, 2016

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