Brethren Quiz Bowl team off to great start at MSU Quiz Busters

BRETHREN — The Brethren High School Quiz Bowl team has been making a name for itself over the past several years with some outstanding efforts in a variety of competitions around the state.

The Brethren High School Quiz Bowl team moved into the quarterfinals of the Michigan State University Quiz Busters tournament with wins of Vandercook High School and Pittsford High School. Show (left to right) are team members Jakob Cook, Heather Vanderbie, John Schaefer and Mary Voorhees as they prepare to start the competition against Vandercook High.

The Brethren High School Quiz Bowl team moved into the quarterfinals of the Michigan State University Quiz Busters tournament with wins of Vandercook High School and Pittsford High School. Show (left to right) are team members Jakob Cook, Heather Vanderbie, John Schaefer and Mary Voorhees as they prepare to start the competition against Vandercook High.

This year the Bobcats under coach Julie Riggs are off to another strong start at the Michigan State University Quiz Busters where the team is part of a 64-team field. The tourney field is split into two divisions with the green one being for larger schools and the white one for the smaller schools like Brethren.

It is the second year the Bobcats have competed in this tournament.

Quiz Busters is a MSU televised competition through the campus studio of WKAR. All of the matches are televised on that station. WKAR was one of the first stations to broadcast Quiz Bowl competitions and have been doing it since 1988.

“Members of each division winning team will receive four $5,000 scholarships to Michigan State University offered by the Office of Admissions,” said Riggs. “Grand Championship winners receive book scholarships.”

Riggs said her Bobcat team has looked especially strong in the early portion of the tournament.

“We have played two matches so far as we defeated the Vandercook Jayhawks 240-130 in our first one,” said Riggs. “We jumped off to a 40-0 lead in that match and Vandercook eventually inched their way back to tie up the score before we won.”

Brethren then moved on to defeat the Pittsford High School Wildcats 290-190 in the second round.

“They started out with the lead in the first 10 questions,” said Riggs. “Then we came back and by halftime we had built up what looked like a comfortable 100-point lead. But in Quiz Bowl with every question being worth 10 points and if you get the toss up you can collect 50 points with getting to answer the bonus questions, so the score can change quickly.”

However, Riggs was happy to see that the team maintained that 100 point lead throughout the second half of the match.

“It was just a phenomenal time,” said Riggs. “Each member of our team contributed answers. The neat thing about the way MSU’s Quiz Busters run is everyone has to participate at least twice in answering questions.”

The MSU Quiz Busters is a different format than other Quiz Bowl competitions as they have a Pop Quiz segment.

“This is a rapid fire set of 12 questions which provides each member of a team the chance to face off one-on-one, so teammates may not help or signal to answer when it is not their turn,” said Riggs. “A correct answer is worth 10 points and a wrong answer allows the opponent to answer. Those two players are asked three (straight) questions and then it moves down to the next two players.”

Riggs said that in the second round all the answers begin with the same two letters.

“So that means all of the team has to be a player because you are going to come up one-on-one at some point,” said Riggs.

Brethren’s team for both matches was comprised of John Schaefer, Mary Voorhees, Heather Vanderbie and Jacob Cook. Other members of the team this year are Hunter Wojciechowski, Taylor Cordes, Olivia Jacobs, Elenia Guenther, Charlee Schaefer, Brianne Krumins and Megan Cordes.

Brethren will be meeting the Lansing Home Schooling team in the next round who are the top seeded team in their division.

“They were the champions last year and we plan to give it our best shot on Nov. 21,” said Riggs. “We are in the quarterfinals, so we are going down there with our best.”

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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