Chautauqua Lake High School Bowl wins two National Competitions

MAYVILLE — After a year of High School Bowl competition, a pop quiz is nothing for a group of Chautauqua Lake High School students.

The school’s High School Bowl team qualified and went to nationals this year for the first time since 2014.

Locally, teams from New York and Pennsylvania compete in a tournament which is recorded every Wednesday from October to April that is broadcast on WJTN radio. In that competition, Chautauqua Lake won all six of their matches, giving them the local championship trophy.

Chautauqua Lake’s team this year is made up of 18 students from ninth through 12th grades. The starting panel featured senior Lydia Kushmaul, junior and team captain Lincoln Smith, junior Nathan Henry, and sophomore Dayne Jantzi. The two coaches for the team are Connor Barnes and Mary Jantzi.

Jantzi said the team competed against at least 20 other teams and depending on the size of the tournament the team gets to qualify for nationals. She added that for Nationals the team had the choice of competing in Washington D.C., New Orleans or Chicago.

“We chose New Orleans because the competition was Memorial Day weekend and some of our kids are also in track so they had to be back for sectionals,” Jantzi said. “That way none of the students had to miss school either.”

Nationals is a randomly selected tournament that includes teams from all states, Jantzi said. The Chautauqua Lake team ended up competing against teams from New York, Utah and Arkansas. After winners are chosen at each of the three nationals locations, Jantzi said the overall winners then compete virtually to determine the national winner.

Additionally, Jantzi said the nationals competition was slightly different from how it is done locally. Locally, the competition relies on speed and hitting the buzzer before the other team, while at nationals the students are given the question, which they then discuss and the team captain answers. The competition also included a special 70 second category where the students were given ten questions and had to answer as many as possible in the 70 seconds they were given.

“Each student has their own special area, so one may be able to answer questions in the Bible category, and for us something we did not know as much about was the art category for example,” Jantzi said.

She added that there was also a mystery category that teams could choose where they would take a chance with what the questions might be about. Jantzi said the team has not competed in nationals since 2014, and that it is very hard to win anything at nationals, but this year the team came away with two wins; a close win against a team from Oklahoma and a decisive 305-105 triumph over a high school from Utah.

“It was very encouraging for the kids,” Jantzi said. “They also changed it this year where the competition was one day and the next we were able to go on tours and we saw the World War II Museum. The kids were very excited for the win.”

Overall, Jantzi said the wins solidified the team’s confidence in each other. While some of the kids might know more in other categories than their teammates, the two wins allowed them to know they were able to support each other.

“Coming from a small school where students involved do multiple things versus the big schools we were competing against where the students focused only on this, it was very exciting for the kids to have the success that they did,” Jantzi said.

The team also received a lot of support from the school as well. This included other teachers coming in during lunch breaks and doing practice tests with the team to help them prepare.

“The only team that beat us this season was the team made up of our teachers,” Jantzi said. “We were glad for the opportunity, which for some of the kids was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and were happy to represent our school.”

Jantzi said the fact that the kids were able to make it as far as they did was also a credit to the abilities of the local host, Dennis Webster, who Jantzi said works hard to keep the competition at the level it needs to be to be able to have this kind of achievement.

The other coach for the team, Connor Barnes also expressed his pride.

“It has been a joy to see students who have a passion and excitement for learning and knowledge work collaboratively together throughout this year on the high school bowl team,” Barnes said. “When students have been able to apply their classroom experiences in the competitions, you can see that they are proud to have learned and retained the information. Celebrating this with our academic team throughout this successful year has been very special.”

Superintendent Josh Liddell added his praise for the team and the success they have had this year.

“We are so proud of High School Bowl students, their advisors, and everyone that supports our team,” Liddell said. “It was an amazing and memorable year. Chautauqua Lake has seen many excellent teams over the years, but this one stands out as one of our very best.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today