Houston placed Sunday in a national Scholar Bowl event in Chicago, marking another academic highlight for the squad. The local students finished fifth in the nation in the Traditional Public Schools Division and fourth among Very Small School teams.
Over the weekend, Houston joined 131 of the top quiz bowl teams from small public high schools at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Chicago for the 2023 Small School National Championship Tournament to determine who was the best.
Quiz bowl is a competitive, academic, interscholastic activity for teams of four students. It is the national version of the game that is often locally called Scholar Bowl. Quiz bowl teams use buzzers to answer questions about science, math, history, literature, mythology, geography, social science, current events, sports and popular culture. The matches feature a blend of individual competition and team collaboration, since no individual player is likely to be an expert in all subject areas. Participation in quiz bowl both reinforces lessons from the classroom and encourages players to develop new intellectual interests.
The team, in the Traditional Public Schools Division, was captained by Andy Durham, who was joined by Allie Benoist, Bennie Lee Cook III, Emily Honeycutt, Tyler Kelly, Tyler Lawson and Lilly Scheliga. The team was coached by Jason Pounds, who was assisted by Adam Vandiver.
Houston was one of 14 Missouri teams competing at the national championship.
Houston began the preliminary rounds with a 10-game winning streak, in which they defeated Skyline; South Side from Hookstown, Penn.; Upper Sandusky from Ohio; Ottawa Hills B from Toledo, Ohio; West Point from West Point, Va.; White Cloud from Michigan; Macomb A from Illinois; Coalgate from Oklahoma; Russell B from Kentucky; and Geneva B from New York. They finished the preliminary rounds with a 10-0 record, which qualified them for the playoffs.
Houston played two games against opponents from near home. In round 1, they defeated Skyline 425-90. In round 18, they beat Fair Grove 485-325. Houston won 18 consecutive rounds. In round 19, they lost to Southwestern A.
Houston’s shot at the title ended when they lost to Woodland (Beacon Falls, Conn.) in round 20.
In round 18 Houston beat the eventual Traditional Public Schools Division champion, Fair Grove from Fair Grove, by a score of 485-325.
Andy Durham, a senior, was honored as an All-Star for correctly answering 83 tossup questions — 20 of them for “power,” that is, so early as to earn extra points — in the preliminary rounds.
Houston R-1 School finished in fifth place in the Traditional Public Schools Division. They also finished fourth among Very Small School teams.
The Traditional Public Schools Division champion was Fair Grove R-X School, Fair Grove, Mo. The Open Division champion was the A team from BASIS Independent McLean, McLean, Virginia.
The 2023 Small School National Championship Tournament (Traditional Public Schools Division) field featured 77 teams from 20 states.
Houston travels later this week to Columbia to compete for a state championship. It won the Class 3 title last year.