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Discovery Scholars Bowl grilled at national meet in Chicago

MADISON – The Scholars Bowl Team at Discovery Middle School won the state title and joined more than 50 teams in Chicago for the 2022 Middle School National Championship Tournament.

The National Academic Quiz Tournaments organization hosted the contest at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.

“Our team placed eighth in tough competition; we tied with four other teams,” coach Sara Baragona said. “Karsten Wallace placed 49th individually.”

“For the National Championship, 139 teams entered from across the country, along with two teams from South Korea (Christian International School). Each team had four to six members,” Baragona said.

Discovery Scholars Bowl participants were Captain Karsten Wallace, Mark Allison, Owen Bruyns, Alex Fedoseyev, Louis Johnson and Arnav Maskey. All players are freshmen at Bob Jones High School, except Johnson, a Discovery eighth-grader.

The tournament opened with scrimmages for practice. The second day, “each team played eight of 10 rounds. Teams with a 5-3 win-loss record moved onto playoffs on (the third day),” Baragona said. “Each round of play consisted of nine-minute halves.”

Moderators read toss-up questions, followed by bonuses until time expired. A student buzzed in using a lockout system to answer, without conferring with team members.

Teams can confer on bonus questions. For toss-ups, students had three seconds to buzz. Teams must answer each bonus question within five seconds.

On the second day, the Discovery team and others received a schedule on a PowerCard. “Each time a team won, they took the highest numbered PowerCard and followed its schedule. The playoffs were a field of 53 teams,” Baragona said.

On the third day, “Discovery began with PowerCard 36. When we won rounds, we moved through PowerCard 33, 29, then 12. At the end of the morning, we played PowerCard 3 – this was the only round we lost that day. This loss placed us in eighth place. Ties resulted for fifth, eighth, 13th, 21st, 33rd and 49th (places),” Baragona said.

Last school year, Discovery offered Scholar’s Bowl as an elective during first term. Some team members enrolled. After-school practices started in October and continued until the championship.

Teams met two afternoons weekly and competed in tournaments year-round. Teams competed against each other with older question sets. “Overall, this team competed in seven middle-school tournaments and one high-school tournament. Two middle-school tournaments were district (first place) and state (second place),” Baragona said.

One of Discovery’s unique contests was the Alabama Public Television or APT Tournament in the Montgomery studio, the first time APT filmed a middle-school tournament. Discovery placed first. Their win led to an invitation to the National Championship, and team members won scholarship money.

A parent meeting for interest in Scholars Bowl will be held on Sept. 19 at 5:30 p.m. in the Discovery cafeteria. Baragona will discuss the commitment agreement for student families. Parents can ask about practice requirements, tournament fees and other questions.

Baragona, a National Board Certified Teacher, also sponsors the Junior Student-to-Student group. She teaches “Digital Publishing,” “Money! Money!” and “Digital Communications.”

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