The Washington High School quiz bowl season is coming to a close and the students have seen great success throughout the year.
Both the A team and the B team ranked in the top 125 teams in the country with the A team at No. 18 and the B team at No. 123.
Having two teams from the same school in the top 125 national rankings is unprecedented in the state of Missouri, according to quiz bowl coach David Dennis.
“I’m thrilled for both teams to get the recognition they deserve,” said Dennis.
“Our teams were fairly successful last year, and we brought nearly everyone back. We knew that we would be around the best in the state this year and the teams really doubled their efforts to make sure of it,” he said. “They practice and study nearly every day, either with me, by themselves, or in smaller groups.”
Four members from the WHS team have been chosen to represent Missouri for the National All-Star Academic Tournament at Kentucky State June 24-25, which features All-Star teams from states all across the country. The players are Joe Stitz, Cole Phinney, Matt Chalem and Spencer Johnson.
“They are chosen by the Missouri Quiz Bowl Alliance, an organization in the state that tries to promote good quiz bowl practices,” explained Dennis. “I’m excited for those guys. I’ll get to see them play one more tournament as high schoolers before they head off for college. I’ve known them since seventh grade and I’ve seen them grow a lot since then. It’s a fitting send-off.”
In addition to the National All-Star Team, Stitz has been chosen to represent Missouri as a HSQBRank All-World First Team player, making him the first student to be chosen from Missouri.
Stitz competed in at least 11 tournaments where he was the leading scorer for his team 10 times and the leading scorer in his field six times.
“Fred Morlan, who runs HSQBRank, selected Joe last week for the All-World First team, meaning that he is one of the Top 10 players in the game this year,” said Dennis. “It’s nice to see his efforts getting recognition on the national level. He’s worked harder than any player I’ve ever known and he’s set the benchmark for our teams to aim for in the future. I’m very proud of him.”
Dennis said this year’s successful run has been exhausting, but fun, because nearly every Saturday is spent at a tournament for some level, be it high school, middle school or elementary school.
He also said it has been amazing watching his students grow from seventh grade until now and he looks forward to the future with his new teams.
“As dedicated as my top team is, they more or less coach themselves,” said Dennis. “My focus has been building up the knowledge base of the underclassmen and middle school teams.
“We have a top 150 team returning next year, as well as last year’s JV state runner up and the last two middle school state champion teams,” he added. “It will be hard to replace the leadership we’ve had this year, but I have no doubt that others will step up.”