Knowledge Bowl Team Advances to State in Unusual Season


Liam Rogers

On March 20th, the Saint John’s Prep Knowledge Bowl team beat out all small-school competition in the regional tournament, advancing to state in a regular and play-off season like no other. Despite crushing success in the regular season and at the sub-regional tournament, and despite placing first in the small-school division, Team 1 (Henry Chen ’21, Adrienne Gefre ’21, Liam Rogers ’21, Matthew Bolton ’22, and Lukas Uhlenkamp ’22) lost their first round of the season against Buffalo’s varsity 1 team. With the very first taste of defeat in their mouths, myself, along with the rest of varsity team 1, now feel humbled after a genuinely undefeated regular season. Team 1 placed first in every single regular season meet, and won the sub-regional tournament by a margin of 25 points.

Team 1 is stacked with five Knowledge Bowl veterans; each member started participating in KB the first year they arrived at Prep (either 6th or 7th grade). With their heavy experience, the team holds a well-rounded knowledge base: I perform best with History/Music, Lukas with History/Mythology, Henry with Math/Science, Matthew with Geography/Science, and Adrienne with Literature/Languages. Our combined knowledge, as well as our experience with buzzing and KB-style questions, gives us a distinct advantage this season. The team is guided by Coaches Miller and Daiker, who both possess a nuanced understanding of the competition that brings out the team’s fullest potential.

Like all other aspects of life, the Knowledge Bowl season was fundamentally changed with regard to safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of every team gathering at a host school each Saturday, the season kicked off with each team member staying at home, communicating with teammates through Zoom, communicating with the reader through Discord, and buzzing in for answers using At the beginning of the season especially, one’s technological prowess seemed to be as useful in Knowledge Bowl as being an accurate buzzer or a knowledgeable teammate. As the season stretched on, however, individual teams were able to gather together at their own schools and participate, nullifying the need for Zoom to communicate with one another.

“Going into this season, I was wildly pessimistic that this would feel like a true Knowledge Bowl season,” said Coach Miller. “But thanks to the help of all of the coaches in the region, we worked out a system that truly is Knowledge Bowl.”

Saint John’s Prep will compete at the state tournament on April 9th. The team will compete against the best small-schools in all of Minnesota for their chance at Prep’s 6th state win in Knowledge Bowl. Regardless of their performance at the tournament, Team 1’s dominative regular season performance, along with the unconventional changes of this year due to the pandemic, will truly make the 2020-21 Knowledge Bowl season one-of-a-kind.

“With how you all performed in the regular season, this year has already been wildly successful…With how you do at State, that’s the legacy you all will leave behind.”