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Monrovia middle Scholars’ Bowl teams impress judges in Chicago

Seventh-grader Jacob Whitlock, a Scholars' Bowl team contestant from Monrovia Middle School, stands at 'The Bean' in Chicago. Monrovia competed in the Questions Unlimited National Tournament. (CONTRIBUTED)
Seventh-grader Jacob Whitlock, a Scholars’ Bowl team contestant from Monrovia Middle School, stands at ‘The Bean’ in Chicago. Monrovia competed in the Questions Unlimited National Tournament. (CONTRIBUTED)

MONROVIA – Scholars’ Bowl teams from Monrovia Middle School earned high ranks in the Questions Unlimited National Tournament in Chicago.

Monrovia’s Scholars’ Bowl “A” team placed fifth out of 25 teams, “advancing farther than any other Alabama middle school team,” Scholars’ Bowl coach Gene Cox said.

Monrovia middle’s “B” team also rated nationally by ranking in 30th place among contestants. The Monrovia teams completed against schools from Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio and other states.

“Monrovia’s ‘A’ team finished with a record of 5-3, the first public school from Madison County to advance to the playoff round,” Cox said. “In the playoffs, Monrovia’s record was one win and one loss, losing a very close game with the eventual national champion, Woodland Middle School from Fayetteville, Ark.”

“A” team students included Steven Perry, Jackson Kiger, Jacob Whitlock and Chris Meininger. Competing on the “B” team were Sam Howell, Connor Grochowski, Eric Nguyn, Kayla Collins and Kiersten Ryder.

Cox and Brad Hulman, Scholars’ Bowl coaches, wanted students to experience national-level competition, see the competitiveness of other states’ teams and gain skills to compete in 2015.

The Monrovia teams arrived in Chicago on June 6. “Winning the game against Woodland may have been the trip highlight. They became national champions,” Cox said. “It’s always nice to be able to say that you beat the national champions.” Woodland won by only five points and had older students.

The Monrovia students celebrated their season with Chicago-style pizza at Giordano’s. “We were as stuffed as the pizza,” Cox said.

To qualify for Chicago, students had to rank in the top 15 percent at a tournament with eight or more teams.

During sightseeing, they visited Willis Tower, Navy Pier, Wrigley Field, Brookfield Zoo, Art Institute of Chicago and other museums.

During the season, Monrovia racked up first- and second-place tournament wins in Madison County, Russellville, Cullman, Wildcat Challenge in Edmonson, LAMP bowl and at district.

Cox is pleased that these students gained experience in Chicago for the 2015 season.

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