South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Lindbergh High Scholar Bowl team clinches its very first state championship title

LHS Scholar Bowl team was formed three years ago
The Lindbergh High School 2024 Scholar Bowl team clinched the state championship title in May. Photo courtesy of the LHS Scholar Bowl team.

For the first time in program history, Lindbergh High School’s Scholar Bowl team are state champions. The team – composed of Vidur Kothur, Alec West, Cindy Yao, Hung Nguyen and Captain Aiva Rudolph – competed May 4 in Columbia, coming out victorious after testing their knowledge on topics including literature, science, mathematics, fine arts and history.

Scholar Bowl, also known as Quiz Bowl or Academic Bowl, is a worldwide, quiz-based competition similar to team “Jeopardy!”. Competitions are typically played between two teams of four players. During competitions, a moderator will read a question while both teams attempt to answer it first by “buzzing” in. About 20 questions on average are read per round.

Scholar Bowl is played in a toss-up/bonus format. The two common types of toss-up questions include buzzer-beaters – short questions with few clues – and the more common, longer pyramidal tossups.

 “You’ll start with more niche stuff, and then it gets broader and broader as you read into it,” Rudolph said. 

Any individual player can attempt to answer toss-up questions, though they are not allowed to run it by their team before answering. If the answer is incorrect, no one on the team can reanswer, and the question goes to the opposing team. If a toss-up is successfully answered, the team is given an opportunity to answer a bonus question, usually consisting of three individual questions worth 10 points each. In most cases, only the team who answers the toss-up correctly can answer the bonus questions, though some game formats allow the opposing team to answer the portions of the bonus questions that were answered incorrectly. This gameplay element is known as a “bounceback” or “rebound.” 

 Typically, answering a toss-up question correctly is worth 10 points, though extra points may be awarded if the answer is delivered before the specific clue-providing keyword is read. If a team buzzes in before the question is finished being read and gets the answer incorrect, they may lose five points.

Three years ago, LHS entered the world of Scholar Bowl following coach Sandy Olive’s positive experience on “Jeopardy!”. 

“It was the most fun I’ve ever had,” Olive said. “I was looking for a way to get more involved in the school community, like an activity I could sponsor, and I felt like the kids at school needed the opportunity to be competitively knowledgeable. So I just started Googling ‘Quiz Bowl Missouri’ – I didn’t realize it was a MSHSAA sanctioned activity.” 

The team officially started in fall 2021, recruiting players by word of mouth and at the annual LHS activity fairs. Through the years they competed well, though they were never able to make it all the way. After getting knocked out at districts and losing eight seniors last year, things did not look great for the team. 

Nevertheless, LHS exceeded everyone’s expectations this year, excelling in almost every tournament they competed in during the regular season. This continued at districts in April as they beat several teams, including Oakville. Later that week, they competed in quarterfinals, securing the ultimate victory against their unofficial rival Parkway West. 

Lindbergh’s success continued at state in May, beating both Rolla and Central (St. Joseph). They faltered to Republic, though due to their record, they were still able to advance to the finals. Republic and Lindbergh faced off once again in the state final, this time with Lindbergh securing the state championship.

The team is now onto one of the few national competitions held each year, Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence (PACE), to compete against 75 teams from across the country. The competition was held in Washington D.C. June 8-9, after The Call’s press time.

Read more about LHS Scholar Bowl in the June 27 print edition of The Call.