Wilton Scholastic Bowl A-Team Wins First at Chariton Competition


Anna Marine, Colby Brown, Josh Hunter, Gavin Knerr, and Reece Vela

Five thirty in the morning, over an hour before sunrise, students were leaving for the competition that they had been spending hours after school preparing for. The two teams, coached by Marcia Hetzler, passed a box of donuts down the bus aisle. “It’s a long way to go,” said Mrs. Hetzler about the three-hour trip. After three hours of sleeping, talking, and looking at the Iowan countryside, students arrived at  Chariton High School. The organizer shouted the rules to the crowded cafeteria. The Scholastic Bowl tournament had officially begun. Two teams of four competed in twenty-question trivia rounds, covering topics such as math calculations, sports, current events, history, literature, science, and geography.

 Wilton’s Scholastic Bowl team faced Mormon Trail in their first match. It was an easy victory, but they were against an inexperienced team. That win was followed by three losses against Ames A, Chariton A, and Centerville A. Wilton did manage to get another win against Cardinal B. Then the team departed to Hyvee for lunch. Time was cut close, and a wrong turn almost left them disqualified from their division finals, which started with a fresh bracket. Coming in just as it was time to start, they procured a very close victory against Cardinal A. They moved up to the small-schools finals. “Once we started winning, it went really well because the momentum for the team shifted,” says Colby Brown. “We were really excited”. If they win their next two games, they would win the small-schools division trophy- something they hadn’t done in many years.

At halftime, the score was very close, with Wilton only twenty points ahead. Since each question had a maximum of twenty-five points’ value, there was barely any breathing room. After ten more tossups and bonuses, the semifinal score arrived- 190 to 165, in Wilton’s favor. 

This carried Wilton to the finals, where they faced Eddyville. In the past, they’d faced this team and lost. This round had the most difficult questions, so there was very low scoring for both sides. This meant getting just a few questions completely right could propel either team to a victory. 

The event organizer walked in with a trophy and set it on the desk. It was right in the Wilton’s team’s line of sight during the last few questions. There was no need to have second-guessed at all because they ended the final game with an astounding score of 115 to 55.

This was the first time the Wilton Scholastic Bowl team had won a trophy in a competition dominated by large schools like Ames and Chariton. “We did really good, especially against the big schools, which are really tough. Even though we didn’t win those, we made them a competitive match.” says junior, Josh Hunter.

Mrs. Hetzler is proud of what her team accomplished saying “Competitions are always really difficult because we’re always against the really big schools that have lots of people to choose from and more time to spend on scholastic bowl. We have to travel such a long way to go to these competitions, so you really have to hand it to these students that put in a much longer day because of travel time. It’s really a privilege to do well and especially get first place when we are a small school.”