NHS scholars headed to state tourney

Chad Frey
The Kansan
Following a regional victory, the Newton High School Scholar's Bowl team is headed to the Kansas High School Activities Association state tournament.

Following a district victory, the Newton High School Scholars Bowl team is headed to the class 5A state championships. 

The last time that NHS qualified for the state tournament was 2012. The last time the school won a regional tournament was 1998. 

"Coach Adam Williams we have felt fortunate with the seasons we have had," said fifth-year head coach Brian Skinner. "This year has been really different. We have gotten firsts at some tournaments and top three at (other) tournaments. We have not done that at the top tournaments with a lot of the heavy hitters schools."

The team has placed in the top three of every tournament this year, capped with the regional victory. 

Team members are Miguel Milona Chavez, Diego Aguilar-Maldonado, Kevin Aguilar-Maldonado, Ben Gering, Ethan Nuefeld and Elise Jantz. 

"It was exceptionally tough choices to decide who made that team," Skinner said. "There were several who were expectional this year and could have made that team."

Scholars Bowl is an academic contest featuring questions from at least three of the five academic disciplines required by the Kansas State Board of Education for high school graduation. Teams compete head to head using quick response answers, time limits on questions and use of recognition systems.

In the state tournament, a single pool of eight teams will  compete. At the end of the round-robin pool play competition, the top four schools in the pool will advance to the championship final bracket competition. 

To qualify for the state tournament, Newton won a regional Feb. 1 at Newton High School. Newton bested Emporia, Great Bend, Hay, Maize, Newton, Salina-Central, Salina-South and Valley Center.

The state championships will be Feb. 13 at De Soto High School. Competing at the event will be Andover, Andover Central, De Soto, Leavenworth, Lenexa-St. James Academy, Maize, Newton and Shawnee Heights.

When I look at the eight teams that qualfied for state, there are three that qualified for that I not familiar with — that we have never played int he five years I have been head coach," Skinner said. "I am sure they are high caliber teams. Of the others, we have beaten almost all of them more times than they have beaten us. ... The kids are confident that we can take first. I think we can place at state, it is possible we don't. We will be part of the conversation." 

Lenexa-St. James Academy is the current 5A defending champion. 

Area school Peabody-Burns will compete in 1A Division II at Chase High School.  Remaining regional tournaments for classes 2A, 3A and 4A are scheduled for Feb. 4.