CRYSTAL LAKE – For three hours Friday, Hannah Beardsley Middle School hosted some of the brightest young minds in McHenry County for a battle of the brains.
The 27th annual Scholastic Bowl was the largest ever with 19 middle schools throughout McHenry County converging to see which team had the most expertise in math, science, language arts and social studies.
“The kids were excited and they did a good job with some really difficult questions,” said Mary Warren, an eighth-grade science teacher and coach for the Hannah Beardsley team. “The questions are high school level and they were ready for the challenge.”
Each team consisted of six students and two alternates representing their school. The students answered four rounds of questions with each round increasing in difficulty. The top three schools took home trophies with Parkland Middle School in McHenry taking first, Cary Junior High School finishing second and Montini Catholic School in McHenry rounding out the top three.
Cary sixth-grader Gretel Chikos was one of the youngest competitors but came through in the clutch as she helped her team break a final-round tie with Montini to secure second place.
“I love it,” Chikos said of the competition. “We didn’t do much to prepare. We just answered some practice questions on the bus.”
Other competitors such as Haley Bowen were in their second attempt at the annual Scholastic Bowl and felt comfortable with what to expect and how to prepare.
The Marengo Community Middle School eighth-grader said developing a strong relationship with teammates and knowing strengths and weaknesses creates a smooth process on competition day. Her strengths, she said, are in science and social studies.
“”It’s mostly about getting to know the team,” Bowen said. “If you can work together and not argue you can get it done quickly and prepare answers and cause less confusion.”
While she will no longer be there, next year’s competition will head to Bowen’s school, which alternates hosting the event with Hannah Beardsley.
“It’s always a fun event to have,” Marengo coach Jane Cowan said.