Notre Dame wins quiz bowl at Jackson

Sunday, January 27, 2008
Jackson captain Jesse Eichhorn, center, finished a math question Saturday during the Academic Challenge. Teammates Caleb Jones, left, and Gabe Eggers awaited his answer.

The setting was simple, but the questions were complicated.

Ten teams from Poplar Bluff, Mo., to Crystal City, Mo., competed Saturday at Jackson High School's Academic Team Tournament, a test of wits called Quiz Bowl, Scholastic Bowl and Battle of the Brains, among other names.

Notre Dame Regional High School took first place, followed by Jackson in second place, Central High School in third place and Festus, Mo., in fourth place.

Team members used buzzers to ring in first, but there the similarity to a game show ended. The four-player teams competed in a classroom free from distraction and cheering. Players were also allowed to use paper and pencil; the math questions sometimes required it.

Spelling the word "fundamentalists" was the answer to one question. Giving the term for the $3,400 deduction that can be applied to taxable income in 2007 was another. The answer: exemption.

Jackson teacher Pam Epplin, a coach at Saturday's competition, said her first year sponsoring the team has been a wonderful experience.

"I can't take credit for their success," she said. "It's wonderful to watch them showcase their brilliance, and the camaraderie and excitement of the team is so rewarding."

During a break, senior Jordan Jansen said his team from Leopold was "doing all right."

"Our biggest obstacle is time," he said. "We don't have enough time to study."

Jackson team captain Jesse Eichhorn said the team is invited to other competitions throughout the year. "It's designed for kids who are smart and competitive. It's a lot of fun," he said.

Competitiveness is what draws him to the team. His strength is in math and science, but questions also cover fine art, literature, social studies, sports and pop culture. Team players are chosen for their strengths as well as their well-roundedness.

Eichhorn and other Jackson team members were set apart from the others by the formal suits they wore. "The formal tradition started as a way to perhaps intimidate the other team," he said.

Marica Eggers is the mother of a Jackson Academic Team member Gabe Eggers, on the team for his third year. She said, "I was really excited when he told me he'd joined. I knew it would challenge him and make him more versatile. I hoped it would help him decide what he's best at and decide what he'd go to college for, but he's still undecided."

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