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Liberty Scholars Bowl team undefeated at district, advances to state

Headed to the state meet, Liberty Scholars Bowl members are Ethan Blanton, from left, Sharath Narayan, Souren Atluri, JD Strickland and Dylan Kridner. (CONTRIBUTED)
Headed to the state meet, Liberty Scholars Bowl members are Ethan Blanton, from left, Sharath Narayan, Souren Atluri, JD Strickland and Dylan Kridner. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Liberty’s Scholars Bowl team was the only middle school to go undefeated (5-0) at Alabama Scholastic Competition Association’s district tournament.

Liberty was among 10 middle schools in the district meet at Challenger Middle School on Jan. 25. Liberty’s team advanced to the state tournament scheduled at Hoover High School on Feb. 22.

“We played in two different pools. We won every match,” sponsor Jane Haithcock said. “The top two teams from each pool proceed to state tournaments.” She expects 80 students at the state meet.

Scholars Bowl students, all eighth-graders, are captain Sharath Narayan, Dylan Kridner, Ethan Blanton, Souren Atluri and J.D. Strickland. Last year, Narayan won an MVP award at state.

Liberty also was invited to the National Middle School Championships in May with National Academic Quiz Tournaments.

Scholars Bowl is similar to a “Jeopardy!” tournament, with students buzzing in with answers. Students answer toss-up questions individually. For bonus questions, students can discuss the subject, and the captain gives the final answer.

In the two-minute worksheet round, teammates collaborate on answers. Questions covered math, science, history, art, music, literature and pop culture — even Harry Potter and Lady Gaga, Haithcock said.

“Scholars Bowl is a great experience for students. Most students are avidly interested in their world,” Haithcock said. “Each snippet of information works together to make sense of a much larger puzzle.”

Students learn “to win with grace and lose with grace. It’s tons of fun,” she said.

Haithcock acknowledged support from all parents who observe during tournaments. “Sharath Narayan’s father even helps to keep score in case I need to read questions,” she said.

“Steven Mathis, a fellow language arts teacher, has become the Liberty team’s mascot,” Haithcock said.

Haithcock sees 2014 has the scholars’ best year yet. “There are areas of improvement in game strategy, but overall these kids are amazing. I’m eager to see how we fare at state tournaments,” she said.

The Liberty Scholars Bowl team is open to all students.

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