Wadena-Deer Creek students compete at Regional Knowledge Bowl
Students in sixth through 12th grades from Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties faced off against other teams March 1-3 on the Staples campus of Central Lakes College.
STAPLES — Wadena-Deer Creek students may not know what their future holds. But as a recent contest at Central Lakes College goes a long way to prove, they already know a lot.
Students in sixth through 12th grades from school districts in Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties faced off against other teams of students at the Regional Knowledge Bowl held March 1-3 at the Staples campus of Central Lakes College.
“Knowledge Bowl is kind of a unique activity because it plays on so many of their strengths — it might be music, it could be history, it could be sports even — so the kids decide themselves if they want to go out for Knowledge Bowl,” said Loni Niles, coach of the WDC High School team.
WDC Junior High coach Todd Hale said, “One of the big things about Knowledge Bowl is it's accessible to another group of students that maybe wouldn't be attracted to sports, and so this is another kind of competitive environment where they can work together for a common goal.”
Students work together to answer questions across a wide range of topics. Students recall, solve problems, think critically and sharpen teamwork skills, according to organizers.
“The goal is to answer as quickly as you can. so a lot of people have trouble with that because oftentimes we don't say the whole question,” Niles said.
Each round in the regional competition consisted of 45 questions with four oral rounds and one round that is multiple choice.
“The people who have buzzed in, they have 15 seconds to answer it,” Niles said of the oral rounds and the questions. “If they don't get it correct. then other teams have a chance. But if they've already buzzed in they have to answer right there.”
The junior high and ninth grade regional meet at the college last week consisted of 27 total teams; the WDC teams took fourth, 13th, 24th and 27th places.
“We did good but we've done better,” said Booklin Jesuit, a WDC eighth grader. “And Brainerd, they're really tough competition. They got first. … They’re really smart and they’re older.”
Miles Self is another WDC eighth grader who competed in last week’s Regional Knowledge Bowl.
“If there were probably a bit more geography questions — we do pretty good in geography — there were a lot of history questions, which we do pretty good in those, but if there were more of those, we’d do better,” Self said of the subjects of geography and history.
Noah Drange was another WDC eighth grader who said he believes they can improve their gameplay.
“Clicking the buzzer faster, communicating better — just stuff like that,” Drange said.
Ben Kreklau, a WDC eighth grader, agreed and said, “I should get better at discussing and talking more.”
Sam Church said he tends not to hear the questions asked in the competition sometimes or understand them fully.
“They have 15 seconds to decide,” Niles said. “By the end (of the competition), your heads just swimming.”
The senior high regional meet at CLC in Staples last week consisted of 37 teams; the WDC teams came in eighth and 15th.
“Our high school teams did great at regionals on Friday to end their season,” Niles said. “We had one team tie for seventh place, but only the top four teams move on to state.”
Following this month’s regional competition, top teams from ninth through 12th grade will advance to the Minnesota State Knowledge Bowl in April.
“In the history of Knowledge Bowl, we have made it four times (to state) — one in the ‘90s, one in the early 2000s,” Niles said of WDC teams. “And then recently we had — in 2019 and 2020 — we had a team that qualified two years in a row.”