One for the Record Books

BHS Knowledge Bowl going strong

BHS+Knowledge+Bowl+team+at+last+year%27s+regional+tournament.
BHS Knowledge Bowl team at last year's regional tournament.

BHS Knowledge Bowl team at last year's regional tournament.

BHS Knowledge Bowl team at last year's regional tournament.

Augustus (Gusty) Helson

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Colorado may be known for its 104,000 square miles of stunning natural beauty, or it’s now-vibrant food scene, or even for its marijuana. In Colorado’s high schools, mountain biking, football and soccer are among the more popular high school activities.  But little known is the state’s burgeoning high school trivia system. Now 141 schools strong and still rapidly growing, Knowledge Bowl is turning into one of the most popular academic extracurricular in Colorado’s high schools. A Jeopardy-style high school academic trivia competition, Knowledge Bowl covers a range of academic topics. Instead of having single-person teams, like in most game shows, Knowledge Bowl teams consist of four people, and collaboration and communication is key to success.

Boulder High school was established in 1875, when Ulysses Grant was president. With its tremendous age comes a variety of long lasting sports legacies. The mountain bike team here regularly takes first place in state by a large margin, and the varsity soccer team is often among the most renowned in the country. But despite its 143 Boulder’s year history, its Knowledge Bowl team is a baby. It turned three this September.

The club got off to a rocky start. In the fall of 2015, it was parent run, receive no funding from the school and had a meager membership that hovered around five. Practices were held once per week for 45 minutes. The team could scarcely field a single team at monthly tournaments, which usually ended in crushing defeat. Far from elite, Boulder didn’t even make the top 60 teams that are lucky enough to go to the state championship held at CSU.

Since its founding, Boulder High’s Knowledge Bowl program, now student run, has surged.  A second weekly practice was added, then a third. The club has always been a tight knit community of bright and academically curious high schoolers of all grades. Recently it received a grant from the PAC (Parental Advisory Committee) to buy a new buzzer system. Teacher sponsors Mr. McDonald, Mr. Wright, Mr. Geisz, and Ms. Matsumura entered the scene. New members joined left and right.

Last year, the BHS Knowledge Bowl team took seventh place in the state championship, and this year they look to win it. Of late, Boulder has been setting Knowledge Bowl records left and right. In September, they smashed their single tournament points record with 125, which also happened to be the most points ever scored in a recorded tournament in their region. More recently though, the team has set yet another milestone.

On October 20th, 2018, Boulder hosted its first ever Knowledge Bowl tournament, and in record fashion. The tournament was the largest ever to be hosted in its region which, containing such Knowledge Bowl powerhouses as Stargate (who took 4th in state last year), Fairview (who took 2nd) and DSST Stapleton, has always been among the most competitive in the state. Out of the nineteen teams, Boulder’s two teams took first and third place, and once again broke their young single-tournament point record with 132 points. To lend some perspective, this is the third highest tournament score in recorded Colorado Knowledge Bowl history (coloradokb.org).

With a big win behind them, Boulder KBers look to the future. Posting scores this high, the once ragtag team is on pace to qualify for the state tournament, and hopes to capture its first ever state championship title. Until then, you can find the club practicing hard up in room 3384 every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday after school, or perhaps setting another record at a Saturday morning tournament. The team has always been a tight knit community of bright and academically curious high schoolers of all grades, and is actively recruiting new members.

However young, Boulder High’s Knowledge Bowl team has a bright future.

Augustus (Gusty) Helson, Student Leader and Captain of the Boulder High School Knowledge Bowl team.

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