Surprising twist leaves scholastic bowl with a second place win at States

Mackenzie Bernas, Staff Writer

By Mackenzie Bernas

Driving back on the bus from the Scholastic Bowl States competition with the weight of third place already firmly set on the team’s shoulders, junior Shannon Dinniman remembers talking about the extended essay before senior co-captain Akaash Kamdar received a random text. All of a sudden, the Scholastic Bowl team found out it had beaten Albemarle and Douglas Freeman for second place at States.

 “We’re literally passing the Hampton Coliseum and then Akaash gets a text from his friend on the OL [Ocean Lakes] team,” commented Dinniman. The team came to the realization that “they called our name for second and no one had gone up on stage.”

“We were already half way home when we found out,” said co-captain Scott Durkin. 

After an hour-long bus ride, the team arrived at Jamestown High School at 8 a.m. sharpㅡwith the help of a complimentary breakfastㅡfor the States competition. Dinniman didn’t fail to mention, “I don’t want to be here at 8 in the morning on a Saturday,” but the food helped get her through the hard work to come Saturday morning. 

The club members were first met with an opening ceremony speech that outlined the values of sportsmanship. Becoming aware of the importance of the speech’s warnings on the bus ride home, Dinniman mentioned, “The funny thing though, was it we had this talk about sportsmanship and how if you’re first or second, you shouldn’t leave, but we kind of left early.” 

The reason for their early departure came down to their certainty of getting third place and Dinniman continued, “Third place doesn’t get a trophy so we just figured that we’d leave and just have a nice leisurely lunch.”

IB History teacher and Scholastic Bowl co- coach Judith Petykowski explained, “We were sure we lost so we had lunch and went home.”

The Scholastic Bowl team had beaten Albemarle, but lost to Douglas Freeman and Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology. “We’d assumed that Douglas Freeman was going to beat Albemarle because they beat up on us,” said Dinniman.

However, Douglas Freeman lost, which was partly because “the last class had a lot of upper class science questions and they didn’t have anyone that was good at that on Douglas Freeman.”

Another contribution to Albemarle’s victory is the amount of times Douglas Freeman negged or buzzed to answer too quickly because “if someone negged on an easy question, that’s basically a 15-point pickup for the other team,” said Dinniman.

The team went into the competition knowing that Thomas Jefferson was the toughest competitor, and is considered by many to be the best public school in the nation. The fact that PA has finished second to TJ twice,  is almost like saying they won those state titles because of the nature of the competition.

“They’re a powerhouse. They’ve placed in the national competition for the past five years at least,” said Durkin. 

The tie breaker came down to which teams scored the highest overall. “Thomas Jefferson has, like, a 1000,” said Dinniman. “Albemarle got like 500, Douglas Freeman has 550, and we have 555.” Each question is worth 10 points. Winning second by five points is quite a close call which is why the news on the bus came as more of a shock. Petykowski commented that it was “really close…that’s half a question.”

Senior Akaash Kamdar really took control in the event, according to Petykowsi, buzzing in more than usual, with senior Scott Durkin contributing his usual plethora of answers, Shannon Dinniman nailing literature questions, and junior Lalitha Ayer contributing substantially,

Dinniman commented that the speech for the opening ceremony of next year’s states will mention that “last year some team got second and left early and didn’t go.”

Dinniman still talked about the happiness that came with the good news and made a note of how close of a competition it actually was.

“We were pretty ecstatic,” said Durkin.

Although the team didn’t make it back on stage this time Petykowski commented, “we will next year.