Knowledge Bowl second at state
There are enough variables in Knowledge Bowl competition that Buffalo High School’s defending state champions took a realistic view about their odds of repeating a first-place finish.
No team, as far as the group was aware, had been able to do it before, but it was still their goal as they competed against 23 other teams in the large-school Class AAA competition at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd Thursday and Friday, April 13-14.
In the end, the Bison took second place with 125.5 points. Owatonna took the title with 157.5 points, Minnetonka was third with 121, and Moorhead was fourth with 119.
“It’s really impressive to have a state championship team go back and take second,” said BHS head coach Brandon Aldrich. “Statistically, if you look at all the Knowledge Bowl meets, it’s almost never that a team will do it two years in a row. So I think they really have something to be proud of. It was a really good way to end their ‘career’ in Knowledge Bowl.”
Buffalo seniors Amelia Butler, Matthew Scherber, Avery Thompson, Milo Zimmerman and Ryder Zvorak were appearing at state for a third time. They took sixth place as sophomores – the youngest team ever to place at state – before claiming the title last year.
“As a coach, I’m so happy to have been able to work with this team the past couple of years,” Aldrich said. “I can’t say that enough. This team and the Varsity 1 team last year have really set the standard for what we want our program to be like, with their leadership and their ownership of everything.”
Some of the variables that make it difficult for a team to win a second time include the room it is placed in and the strength of the competitors in that room. A team that faces lesser competition within its room in a given round is able to collect more points toward its overall score. Another factor is the subject matter of the questions and the relative strengths of individual team members.
“They never gave up,” said Aldrich said of his team members. “Once they realized that they were probably gunning for second place, they still hit it hard.”
The students may have felt some pressure initially, but they quickly adjusted.
“Overall it was a really fun time,” Aldrich said. “Once the kids relaxed a little bit – they seemed pretty anxious and nervous at first – but once they just started to do their thing it was just a really fun day and a great way for them to end their season.”
While the departure of such a highly decorated group is significant, the BHS Knowledge Bowl program fielded seven total teams this season, including four at the varsity level, and the future is bright.
“We have some good teams coming up too,” Aldrich said. “Hopefully we get to send another team to state next year.”