After three matches filled with questions covering everything from religion and history to pop culture, the Jamestown High School Scholastic Bowl team proved victorious in the state championships last Saturday for the second year in a row.
Defeating teams from Blacksburg, Dinwiddie and Woodgrove high schools, the final score for Jamestown was 965 points, more than 300 points higher than their closest competition, and 170 points higher than the Eagle’s score last year.
Coach Ryan Gross said the impressive victory is a result of a bright group of students who have a proven ability to work together.
“I tell people that as coaches, we’re here to help them and support them, and I’m not ashamed to admit that they’ve moved past what we can help them with academically,” Gross said. “This is an incredibly smart bunch of kids, and it’s great to be able to show that Jamestown can put up a strong showing like this in academic activities.”
For senior David Bass, who has been a member of the Scholastic Bowl team since his freshman year, this second state championship serves as the perfect finale.
“This team has played such a big part of my time at Jamestown,” Bass said. “To be able to win states not once, but twice, it’s a great feeling, nothing like it.”
To make a great moment even better, Bass was named to the state Scholastic Bowl team for being one of the top five scorers of 24 total teams.
“That had been a goal of mine for three years, ever since we first made states a couple years back,” Bass said. “That was a proud moment for me, but I’m even prouder to have come back with a win with my team.”
Freshman Sam Kiser has followed in his older brother’s footsteps onto the Scholastic Bowl team. And when it comes to the team’s performance this year, he credits it to one thing: teamwork.
“We operated more smoothly as a team at states than we ever had before. We complement each others knowledge and play off each other, and cover each other's blind spots, though even at our best, the occasional sports question stumps us,” Kiser said. “This is as much a team sport as any other.”
His teammate, senior Isaac Criddle, agrees completely.
“A lot of Scholastic Bowl is learning about the questions and the subjects, but the bigger part is learning about your teammates and learning to work together,” Criddle said. “It’s like any other team sport: balance, self-awareness and teamwork goes a long way.”
While the seniors look toward college — Bass will head to the University of Virginia to study biology, while Criddle has received acceptance letters from UVA and Brigham Young University — Kiser and junior Leo Murphy are already looking toward next year.
“It’s a little exciting and a little intimidating, the seniors leave some big shoes to fill, but they’ve been good teammates and good mentors. In the end, they’ve given me a lot,” Murphy said. “I hope to be able to do the same for any of my teammates next year.”
That sense of continuity has been one of the most impressive things to see over the course of the season, according to assistant coach Chris Eames.
“We were at a tournament at Maggie Walker Governor’s School in January, and we heard somebody talk about how Jamestown has this legacy, this reputation with Scholastic Bowl,” Eames said. “I was very proud to hear people say that, but also to add to that legacy, for these kids to earn that for themselves, and I can’t wait to see how the kids build on that next year.”
Sean CW Korsgaard can be reached at 757-968-1529, by email email@example.com, and on Twitter @SCWKorsgaard.