Hillcrest is in the middle of March Madness. And while Basketball Jerseys are being folded away as softball and baseball practice takes over gym space, academic competition is building on excitement and tension that is rarely seen in hallways across America.
Hillcrest has performed very well in academic competition. The Tri-College Math hardware is being installed as students are getting back final scores on their SAT test and Hillcrest prepares to update their students' scores. All this happens in the background as the Knowledge Bowl team is eyeing wall space for their upcoming run at the State meet.
The first step was a small hurdle for the Comets. Limited to only three teams, the Comets started out the meet competing together in the top room. Hillcrest has two senior teams that fight for points routinely at meets. After the written round, Hillcrest's top team, consisting of Hans Holzner, Thomas Martinson, Daniel Preston, Luke Bowman, and Jake Steinle gathered in a small huddle. Their 49 point total in the written round was the top score over all schools.
Hillcrest's second senior team, consisting of Reggie Undseth, Sam Isaac, Sean McGuire, and Jack Nordick tied for the second highest score in the written round. This brought them face to face with their friendly counterparts, sharing sneers with smirks as they sat opposite their friends who they share classroom space with at Hillcrest.
Hillcrest's younger team fell into the middle of the pack after the written round. Ranked 7th, the younger Comets would need to form a strong comeback to be one of four teams moving to the region meet. Fortunately, the younger team practices with their elder knowledge bowlers, some of the region's best in the oral round.
Hillcrest's top team soared above the 41 team field of competitors, scoring 18, 19, and 20 points in the first three oral rounds. They built a 25 point lead going into the fourth round, securing their spot at the regional meet.
Hillcrest's other senior team fought with the middle pack for a place on at the podium. Ranked second after the written round, the team found themselves as far back as 5th place in their hunt to move to regions. In the fourth and final round the third place team imploded, scoring 3 points in the final oral round compared to Hillcrest's 12, giving the second senior team from Hillcrest a third place finish in punching their ticket to the regional meet.
The junior team battled to second place after their first oral round, pulling in 16 points as they built momentum in hovering at third place and fifth place in rounds two and three, before scoring 10 points in the final round. The junior team watched the other senior team from Hillcrest leapfrog their place, but moved into the region competition nonetheless.
The region meet is Tuesday, March 21 at Life Church. The top two teams will move on to the State competition.