The East High School Scholars Bowl team advanced to the 6A state championship for the 25th consecutive year. Members Kendah Ballout, jr., Vivian Lu, jr.,Sam Morris, jr., Laura Smith, sr., Magan Stuhr, sr., and Gabe Murphy, sr., did not lose once this year, earning a record of 7-0 entering the state tournament.
With COVID and a completely online school year, the scholars bowl team had to meet for their practices online. Although it was an adjustment, Smith says that the team was able to “figure out a system for virtual practices that works pretty well.”
Kendah Ballout, Jr., who has been on the team since her freshman year says that despite frustrating tech issues, not being able to see her teammates, and an unexpected online season, she was not surprised that the team made it to state for their 25th year.
“I have always been confident in our team,” Ballot said. “We are passionate about Scholar's Bowl and COVID didn't change that.”
Although tournaments for Scholars Bowl are typically held in person, there were three different options this year. Smith explained that this year there were three types of tournaments: completely online through platforms such as Zoom and Discord, hybrid where the team would meet at East and then join a Zoom call with the other teams, and in-person. Smith said that although the online tournaments were hard to get used to, they ended up being able to play teams that they normally would not.
Smith and Ballout both said that they were not surprised that they made it to the state tournament once again, and they were confident that their teammates would be able to do it.
“We have a good team of smart people, and Sr. Shelly is a great coach who always creates strong squads to compete at big tournaments,” said Smith.
The scholars bowl team has taken on the challenges of COVID restrictions and continued to participate in their tournaments in a more challenging, but still safe way.
The team played in the state tournament on Feb. 13, at West High School, and took home first place.