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CCHS Knowledge Bowl team places fourth at state

Apr 20, 2018 07:18AM ● By Editor
Cook County I.S.D. 166’s Knowledge Bowl team is all smiles after taking fourth place at the State Knowledge Bowl competition. From L-R: Coach David Liechty, Adam Dorr, Linnea Gesch, Amelia Roth, Andy Kern (in back of Amelia), Leif Anderson, Robin Henrikson, and coach April Wahlstrom. Photo courtesy of Kijo Pulford, Student Services Coordinator, Northeast Service Cooperative.

By Brian Larsen of The Cook County News Herald - April 20, 2018

Competing over two days, Cook County High School’s top Knowledge Bowl team capped off an exciting year of competition with a fourth-place finish in Class A at the state Knowledge Bowl Meet held at Cragun’s in Brainerd.

The meet was held April 12 and 13.

Glencoe Silver Lake took first place, Minnesota Valley Lutheran finished second, and International Falls took third.

“Our team held the 4th-place spot the entire time,” co-head coach April Wahlstrom said.

This trip was Cook County’s seventh straight appearance at the state meet, and was the best finish ever, beating the 9th-place finish the 2017 team earned.

All told, 24 teams qualified to compete for the Class AA large school title and 24 Class A teams competed for the small school crown. These were the teams that had advanced through districts and regionals (or sub-sections and sections) out of the 800 teams from 290 schools that compete in senior high Knowledge Bowl meets during the three-month season.

Competing for I.S.D. 166 at state were team members Andy Kern, Leif Anderson, Linnea Gesch, Adam Dorr, and Amelia Roth, said Wahlstrom, who along with David Liechty coaches the team.

Most team members have a lot of experience. Leif, a junior, has been competing since 7th grade. Andy and Adam have been on the team for four years, Linnea five years and Amelia Roth two years.

These veterans play well off each other’s academic strengths. Leif is strong in science and geography, Linnea is versatile in random topics, Amelia is top flight in math and science, Dorr is skilled in geography and history, and Andy is knowledgeable in history and science. 

Practice is held two days a week (or more) at lunch hour. The kids meet in Mr. Liechty’s room, and Mr. Liechty fires off questions to the kids who hit a buzzer and come back with an answer. If the answer is correct, they move on. If it’s wrong, they get told the correct answer and go to the next question. If the response is somewhere in a grey area, Mr. Liechty pushes them to clear up the answer or explain their thinking.

These practice sessions are much like the meets.

During the competition, teams of students compete in written and oral rounds led by a moderator who reads off questions. Quick reflexes are key. The first team to hit the answer button has 15 seconds to figure out the answer to questions typically related to a broad swath of academics taught to 9-12 graders.

Cook County’s final score was 107 at state, with only three teams ahead of them. Schools left in their wake?

“We even beat St. John’s Prep Academy!” quipped Wahlstrom, who is not given to bragging. 

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