Hillcrest sent both of the school's knowledge bowl teams to the regional knowledge bowl meet this week. They were the only school with two teams vying to place in the top two places to advance to State. Hillcrest was looking to repeat a State run after the Comets dominated the knowledge bowl circuit last year. They started the day in the back of the pack and fought their way to have one team move on to the State round while the underclassmen look forward to next year falling one place short of the State entry bid. The top two teams from regions move on to State competition.
Zak Zwiers, Eric Konynenbelt, Danny Isaac, Sam Ihrke, and Shantanu Mallick competed in their second region meet in as many years. Last year they watched their senior counterparts dominate, easily moving into the state round. This year they started the region meet in fifth place out of six teams, faltering in the opening written round and looking at a long road to State.
Hillcrest quickly bounced back in the first oral round, scoring a meet high 18 points to move into second place where they would battle Park Christian for the next three rounds, retaining their second place spot and punching their ticket for State.
Jackson Nordick, Juliana Undseth, Carter Mitchell, Yohan Jee, and Jonathan Jennings have had their eyes on the senior Comet team for most of the year. In entering the region meet their goal was to earn a state bid and beat their senior sparring partners. The group of sophomores make up Hillcrest's underclassmen team. They earned their way into regions as the youngest group of students. The knowledge bowl questions come from high school curriculum, and being younger places students at a significant disadvantage as younger students haven't taken as many classes as upperclassmen. With a senior team and sophomore team represented in the regions six team competition, Hillcrest turned heads. They were the only school with two squads vying for a state berth.
The Comet underclassmen started the day one point ahead of the senior squad after the written round, looking to get into the top two places as they started the oral rounds in fourth place. The squad fell back one place after the first oral round, watching their Comet counterparts catapult to second place as they took a step back to fifth. In the next three rounds the Comets leapt to third, and passed their senior friends for one round as they sat in second place, before the Comet seniors outscored them in the final round, pushing Hillcrest's senior squad beyond the sophomores.
Hillcrest advances a team to State for the fifth time in six years, and looks to continue that streak with the underclassmen getting a taste of competing in the final region round, building a hunger for the young Comets to continue the tradition of Hillcrest's academic excellence in the academic competition.