Scholar Bowl earns spot at national competition

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Mike Presberg

Snatching a win: the C-Team, (from left), sophomore Jenny Yao and Daniel Shapiro and seniors Ben Trendle and Walter Wang anticipate questions during Saturday's tournament at Hickman High School. Photo by Daphne Yu
RBHS’ scholar bowl team qualified for the 2012 PACE National Scholastics Championship on Saturday. The tournament will be held at Washington University in St. Louis on June 9-10.
Twelve members of the team divided into three teams of four members each. The A-team competed in Chicago and finished in a tie for third place, while both the B-team and C-team competed at Hickman, placing first and second respectively.
Coach Greg Irwin decided to send the A-team to Chicago because only the top three teams at the HHS tournament could qualify for nationals. Senior Riaz Helfer said splitting up the team increased their chances of attaining a greater number of qualifying bids to the national tournament.
“If the A-team went to Chicago, that would make it more likely that at least two of the other teams…could place,” Helfer said. “Because our coaches knew that the A-team has had a lot of experience, they were confident that the A-team would be able to get a bid at a harder tournament in Chicago simultaneously by finishing in the top four…”
Helfer says the tournament in Chicago helped the team prepare for the quality opponents they will face in national competition. The teams in the Chicago tournament consisted of many academically prestigious high schools from all over the metropolitan area.
“The Chicago tournament exposed us to a lot of really good teams,” Helfer said. “[It] let us play against more teams of approximately the same caliber we will face at nationals.”
With this important experience under their belt, Helfer and his teammates are confident in their chances to make a strong showing at the national tournament in June.
“I think everyone on all the teams has improved enormously,” Helfer said. “…we are hoping that the A-team finishes…[well]…at nationals and that the B-team will be close behind.”
By Mike Presberg