Monday, March 23 was a day filled with good-spirited competition as it marked yet another annual Quiz Bowl in Lemmon, South Dakota.
By AMY WOLFF | For The Herald
Monday, March 23 was a day filled with good-spirited competition as it marked yet another annual Quiz Bowl in Lemmon, South Dakota. Eight schools competed including Hettinger, along with their neighbors, Bison, Faith, Grant County, Harding County, Lemmon, Mott-Regent and Timber Lake.
Two teams competed each round seeing questions that ranged in both difficulty and variety. The easiest questions were worth five points and the most difficult were worth 25. Topics included everything from distant history to current events, literature to art, sports to science, and mathematics to the overall dreaded topic of geography.
The competition was double-elimination, with teams having to lose two matches before forfeiting their shot at the championship. Judges stood by in case any team challenged an answer which they were allowed to do once each match or in the instance the moderator or judges themselves felt that there was an issue with a question or answer given.
Round 1 was between long-standing rivals, Hettinger and Lemmon. Lemmon started off strong with a lead of 15-0 answering the first two questions correctly. Hettinger fought to stay in the game and it paid off when they took the lead for the first time on the second to last question of the match. Neither team was able to answer the final question correctly, giving Hettinger a win of 90-85.
Mott-Regent took on Bison in round two. Both teams struggled early on to put points on the board. However, as the match heated up, Bison was able to pick up speed, running away with a near double win, 140-75.
In round three it was another face-off between a North Dakota and South Dakota school, Faith versus Grant County. Faith took an early lead in this round and made the most of it, overwhelming their opponents and accomplishing a huge win 110-35.
The last match of the first eliminations was between Harding County and Timber Lake. Both teams were off to a slow start, remaining stagnant for a number of unsuccessfully answered questions. Harding County was able to hold the lead for the entirety of the match, but not without impressive effort put forth by Timber Lake who lost by a margin of just 10 points, 105-95.
Pressure was on as the next set of matches began. Four teams were fighting to stay in it while another four were working their way up to the championship. Again Hettinger started things off taking on Bison. Hettinger took control of the match, finding themselves ahead 70-5 in the first half. Bison answered back, coming within 20 points. Their new-found momentum, however, was not quite enough as Hettinger took their second win of the day 90-55.
Round 6 was between Harding County and Faith. Much like the previous match, Harding County took an aggressive lead with 40 unanswered points. Faith fought back but ultimately could not overcome the overwhelming lead that their opponents had built up. Harding County won with a score of 95-45.
Lemmon, determined to make their hometown proud came back strong in round seven as they took on Mott-Regent. Lemmon blew away both the competition and the judges early on, answering the majority of questions before they had even been fully read. After struggling to put points on the board, Mott-Regent was able to claw their way back within five points but with the last question going to neither team, Lemmon pulled off the win, sending Mott-Regent home.
In round eight another team saw their second loss, eliminating them from the competition. Grant County lost in a tight back and forth battle with Timber Lake who won by just twenty points, 105-85. This completed the second set of matches with six of the original eight teams still vying for the championship.
More challenges arose as the next set of matches played out. In round nine Lemmon narrowly beat Faith in a relatively low-scoring match with a score of 85-75. Bison completely blew away their competition in round 10, winning over Timber Lake with an impressive score of 90-10. Hettinger pulled off their third straight win over Harding County scoring the most points in one round during the whole day, a solid 155 to a still impressive 95.
Everything was riding on the final matches as the last four teams competed for the top honors. Lemmon proved that they would not allow their first loss of the day to hold them back and won yet another round over Bison, 110-75. Hettinger had already solidified their place in the championship match, so it was down to Harding County and Lemmon to see who would be competing alongside them. Momentum was on Lemmon’s side as they triumphed over Harding County 150-30, moving them into the championship and putting Harding County in third place.
As the competition was a double-elimination, both teams knew that there was a chance that this would not be the final round. Hettinger had hoped to finish the day in round 14 after enjoying an undefeated day; however, Lemmon was not going down without a fight. This round between the “interstate rivals” as announcer Tim Pelkofer called them was like a blast from the past, with many of the Quiz Bowl’s early championship rounds seeing these same two schools fighting for first place.
An argument could be made for Lemmon’s momentum pushing them to the top as they came into the championship with back-to-back wins and Hettinger having had a relatively long break between competitions. Regardless, Lemmon proved themselves by dodging a second elimination and defeating Hettinger in the last two championship rounds to take 1st place with a score of 150-135 followed by the final score of 90-65.
Lemmon may have taken the championship, but win or lose, all of the students showed great sportsmanship and intellect throughout a very long day of competition, giving their respective schools and hometowns something to be very proud of indeed. Congratulations to all of the teams on a job well-done!