Titans of Trivia

Patriot Scholar Bowl team tests its knowledge.


Scott Degitz-Fries

Scholar Bowl team members Jacob Dickerson, Maanvi Aggarwal, Owen Walaitis, Sylvene Farooq, Reese Rich and Alaska Alcaraz hold up their trophy after taking 3rd in the Washington High School tournament.

Answer: “It is South High’s competitive trivia team.” Question: “What is Scholar Bowl?”

As junior team member Lisa Musgrave said, “ Scholar Bowl is pretty much a trivial team (and is technically considered a sport). If you’ve ever watched Jeopardy!, it’s a lot like that. The only differences are that you’re part of a team and don’t have to answer in the form of a question. We get questions that range from Chinese history to the latest Taylor Swift album to Family Guy.

Scholar Bowl practices after school every Monday from 2:30-3:30. Practices are held in Mr. Degitz-Fries’ classroom in the math wing by the pool. They try to compete about once a month at all-day competitions, which could be held pretty much anywhere. South’s team is hosting its own competition this month at South. 

On Dec. 4 the Patriot Scholar Bowl team took 3rd place in the Washington Scholar Bowl tournament. The team competed for 11 hours and 11 rounds of play.

Everyone is welcome to Scholar Bowl practices. As the preconceived notion is that you have to be the smartest person in the school, or have the highest GPA, or ACT score, which is not the case, according to Degitz-Fries. Degitz-Fries sponsors the team, along with math teacher Allison MacDonald. 

“Anyone who likes trivia should join Scholar Bowl (especially sports trivia, I’m begging you). It’s also a great way to meet people and make friends and is surprisingly low-stress. Scholar Bowl is SO MUCH FUN! We always have a great time and laugh a LOT. I think a LOT more people in this school have secret knowledge we need that do not join because they think they are not ‘smart enough.’ There is not ‘smart enough’ in Scholar Bowl. Everyone has SOME topic they know about – even if it’s jazz music or Taylor Swift songs- we need it all!,” Degitz-Fries said.

As for practices mainly they are like mock, mini competitions. 

“Typically our practices are just mock competitions where we all get buzzers and try to answer questions while split into teams. But some days we will break out flashcards or worksheets, to try and learn new things,” said junior team member Owen Walaitis. 

Both Musgrave and Walaitis have been on the team since their freshman year. 

“I joined Scholar Bowl partially because my sister wasn’t going to let me not join Scholar Bowl, but also because I wanted to. There was a similar thing in middle school during my 6th grade year, but the organizer retired and the competitions didn’t continue, and that really bummed me out. When I heard I could join a team in high school, that was all the reason I needed,” said Musgrave. 

Although there are some challenges when it comes to Scholar Bowl. 

“The biggest challenge is getting students to understand that EVERYONE can do scholar bowl. You do NOT have to have the highest GPA, be in all honors classes, or have a perfect ACT to be in Scholar Bowl. We need specialists in all areas! Right now, we are looking for someone who knows a lot about sports facts and sports history, and also someone who knows a lot about music (both current and more classical past music),” said Degitz-Fries. 

Degitz-Fries started the team back in 2004, and has been with it ever since. 

“I was in Scholar Bowl all through my high school years and was the captain my senior year. My high school has 390 people, so when I came to South to teach and saw this school of (at that time) 2000 students that didn’t have a scholar bowl team, I KNEW I had to start one. I started the team in 2004 and it has been here ever since. I wanted to create a palace where people who enjoy trivia, enjoy knowledge, enjoy learning, and enjoy competition could thrive, have fun, and compete,” said Degitz. 

Scholar Bowl also has its rewards, when it comes to the students. 

“There is nothing more rewarding than buzzing in to answer a question within the bolded text of the question and getting five bonus points for getting it right,” said Musgrave.

All in all Scholar Bowl is there for experience, knowledge, and most of all fun. 

“If you don’t think you would do well at this, just come in for one practice. We always have room for new people to join and anybody from any skill level is free to join. Even if you don’t know any answer, you can stick around to learn or to just hang out with the rest of the team. We once had a person who never answered a single question for all four years of playing, but they were still an equal part of the team to our best player. Anybody is free to join, and while scholar bowl might not be the best for everyone, you never know until you try,” said Walaitis.