Knees bounced in anticipation as the final round of questions was set to begin. Hillcrest pounced to a first place lead, after starting the day in 3rd place. Their meet high 22 points scored in the oral round catapulted the region's top team over all competitors, where Hillcrest finished the day with a 15 point advantage wearing blue ribbons and smiles.
Entering the final round, Hillcrest knew they needed to answer a meager 5 questions correctly to advance to State. The Comets could've sat out an entire round. No team scored more than 14 points in any given round, apart from the Comets, who dominated with a 22 point opening round and a 16 point closing round, placing an exclamation point on their win Tuesday morning at the Regional meet.
Thomas Martinson, Luke Bowman, Hans Frank-Holzner, Daniel Preston, and Jake Steinle stared blankly at their table while questions were read throughout the day. When the group was able to buzz-in, sometimes after hearing only three words of the question, a debate ensued where the team deliberated before fist pumps and high fives marked the scorers response to their answer. The team is not new to success. Thomas Martinson played soccer on Hillcrest's undefeated squad. Daniel Preston played on Hillcrest's historic basketball team this year, and Luke Bowman and Hans Frank-Holzner were part of Hillcrest's Cross-Country team, that saw Hans compete at the State Cross-Country meet last fall.
Sitting opposite the Comet first place team is another Hillcrest team that is familiar with success as well. Lucas Frank-Holzner was a part of an All-State music group, and Reggie Undseth and Sam Isaac played basketball with Daniel this year. Matthew Lein is a high achieving student who is leading Hillcrest's successful National Honor Society.
Hillcrest's second team achieved the second highest point total in the oral round, scoring a staggering 45 points through the 4 round competition. They serve as a worthy training opponent to the Comet team advancing to state. Practice in the coming weeks is likely to involve some jockeying, as 7 of the 9 Comet knowledgebowlers will return next year to make another run at State. Hillcrest's State qualifying team this year scored 67 points in the oral rounds of the regional meet.
The State meet is held at Craguns resort on Thursday, April 13th and 14th. Last year Hillcrest's top team was disbanded due to the school's annual choir tour. This year the Comets will see a unified team that is continuing to represent what is happening in the Comet classrooms through their knowledgebowl successes.