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Smart move: WHS Knowledge Bowl wins, heads to state

The full 18-member WHS 2017-18 Knowledge Bowl team includes, front (from left): Kyle Janssen, Catalina Nguyen, New Bu, Max Langerud. Middle row: Jeff Ludes, Dominic Burns, Victor Villalobos, Nevaeh Schreiber, Chris Lee, Jack Johnson. Back row: Logan Immens, Anwar Farra, A.J. Wass, Sean Souksavath, Marnath Deng, Tad Stewart, Blaine Doeden, Davis Moore. (Special to The Globe)1 / 2
The WHS Knowledge Bowl team of Worthington 1 were champions in both sub-region and Region 8 Knowledge Bowl competition at Marshall this week. They will compete at the state Knowledge Bowl tournament on April 13-14. From left, Davis Moore, Jack Johnson, Max Langerud, A.J. Wass and Sean Souksavath. (Special to The Globe)2 / 2

WORTHINGTON — Call it a win-win.

Double victories over two days of competition cinched a state berth for a portion of the Worthington High School (WHS) Knowledge Bowl team.

Wednesday’s sub-region contest at Southwest State University, Marshall, yielded the first win for Worthington 1. The following day, the five-member squad repeated their feat of the previous day and came away as the Region 8 champions.

“It’s an incredible honor to make it to state,” confirmed longtime WHS Knowledge Bowl Coach Pat Rolfes, noting that her last team qualified in 2015.

The Worthington 1 Knowledge Bowl team is a multi-class group comprised of senior Max Langerud, sophomore A.J. Wass and juniors Jack Johnson, Davis Moore and Sean Souksavath.

They scored 97 points to take the sub-region event (out of a field of 40 teams) and topped that on Thursday with a 103.5-point finish, besting their second-place rivals (Marshall 2) on both occasions by at least seven points.

“They’re the first team I’ve ever had score over 100 points in a regional competition,” said Rolfes. “I was very impressed.”

The 13 students who make up the other three WHS teams performed well enough at the sub-region event (all within the top 19) to return for the regional contest. Out of the 36 participating Region 8 teams, Worthington 2 placed 20th, Worthington 3 notched 27th and Worthington 4 was 30th.

“The fact they were able to be a team, work hard together and all make it to the region event is terrific,” said Rolfes. “With all the extra-curricular things these kids are in — BPA, sports, the musical, speech — it’s sometimes hard to get everyone together at a practice, but they were awesome.

“All 18 students worked hard and really stepped up to the plate this week,” Rolfes continued. “I really, really enjoy working with the Knowledge Bowl kids because they’re so much fun to be around and always want to do their best.”

At the sub-region and region levels, competitors first take a 60-question multiple choice written exam, with each four- or five-member team working collectively on the answers. Based on the written exam outcome, the teams then progress through four oral rounds, each consisting of 45 questions. At the state tournament, five oral rounds are the rule.

Questions run the gamut from math, science, literature, arts, culture, sports, geography, history, current events and more.

“It’s wide open,” said Rolfes of the range of questions Knowledge Bowl students may encounter. “It helps for competitors to be well-rounded and to have a wide range of interests, and they need to be able to work well as part of a team.

“Listening to their teammates is important, but they also need to have the ability to speak up and advocate for their answers and be persuasive.”

Souksavath, Moore, Langerud, Wass and Johnson will travel to the state Knowledge Bowl tournament, traditionally held at Cragun’s Resort near Brainerd, on April 12 and 13.

“I’m so happy we have another opportunity to go to state,” expressed Rolfes.

“These kids will represent both Worthington and WHS very well. I have high hopes for them, and I’m excited for April to arrive.”