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CCHS Knowledge Bowl takes first and second place

Jan 26, 2018 03:40PM ● By Editor
The kids from Cook County have been putting in some great performances in Knowledge Bowl competitions, but none better than the competition held at Mountain Iron, where they swept the top two places. Starting in front, from left, Amelia Roth, Robin Henrickson, and Lance Bartol. In back, from left, are Adam Dorr, Leif Anderson, Lynden Blomberg, Andy Kern and Linnea Gesch. 
Staff photo/Brian Larsen

By Brian Larsen of The Cook County News Herald - January 26, 2018

We know kids from Cook County are smart, but gee wilickers, it’s doubtful anyone would have guessed that the two teams head coach David Liechty brought to the January 17 Knowledge Bowl competition held at Mountain Iron high school on January 17 would end up mainly competing against each other for first and second place.

But that’s what happened. Out of 24 teams, the kids from Cook County High School took home the top two honors.

The team that came in first was made up of Amelia Roth, Andy Kern, Leif Anderson and Adam Dorr. 

Placing second was Linnea Gesch, Lance Bartol, Lynden Blomberg and Robin Henrickson.

The Vikings’ top team scored 152 points, which is believed to be an all-time high score posted by a team from northeastern Minnesota, said Mr. Liechty.

The kids practice over their lunch break at least twice a week in Mr. Liechty’s homeroom, with junior high Knowledge Bowl coach April Wahlstrom helping.

While the kids munch through their lunch Mr. Liechty fires questions at them. The questions posed come from old competitions, said Mr. Liechty, but aren’t questions the kids will get in upcoming Knowledge Bowl meets. 

Most schools entered more than one team. All told six schools competed in the tournament.

Placing third was Moose Lake, McGregor (1) was fourth, Lttlefork- Big Falls (1) fifth, Barnum (1) was sixth, and Cherry’s top team placed ninth.

Knowledge Bowl competitions run from October 26 through February 1. Playoffs begin Feb. 15.

Matches are typically three hours long. The competition at Mountain Iron went from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Each game is 19 minutes long and broken into three phases.

The first phase consists of tossup questions played “at the buzzer”: That is, the moderator reads a question until a player “buzzes in” to answer the question. When a buzz occurs, the moderator stops reading and allows that player to give his or her answer.

Answering a tossup question correctly earns a team the chance at a three-part bonus question. Players must answer tossups individually, but teams are encouraged to confer on bonuses. This phase will last 8 minutes.

The second phase will consist of lightning round questions. The team with the lower score will choose from three topics and then have one minute to answer as many of the 10 parts of the lightning round as possible. After that has been completed, the other team will have a chance to convert any parts that the first team missed (in 30 seconds). Then the second team will choose from among the remaining two topics and repeat the process.

The third phase will last 8 minutes and will consist of tossup and bonus questions, just like the first phase. 


Answering a tossup correctly is generally worth 10 points, but it is possible to earn 15 by answering the tossup very early. (Each question has an asterisk in its text marking the point at which the value changes.) Each part of a bonus is worth 10 points (so a maximum of 30 points can be earned on each bonus).

Each part of a lightning round is worth 10 points (for either team), but if a team answers all 10 parts correctly, it receives a 20-point bonus (and thus scores a total of 120 points).

Coach Wahlstrom said her teams hold two practices each week. Each practice usually lasts about 30 minutes. Most kids in Knowledge Bowl also participate in other sports or activities. Materials used for practice come from a wide variety of sources with topics ranging from science to English literature, history, geology and geography, to name a few. 

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