Albert Lea High School students Daniel Gould, Andrew Kozelsky and Mark McGivern will compete at the statewide Knowledge Bowl competition today and Friday in Brainerd. Not pictured is teammate Isabel Ehrhardt. --Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune
Albert Lea High School students Daniel Gould, Andrew Kozelsky and Mark McGivern will compete at the statewide Knowledge Bowl competition today and Friday in Brainerd. Not pictured is teammate Isabel Ehrhardt. -- Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

‘From start to finish’

Published 3:21pm Thursday, April 11, 2013

Four Albert Lea students are advancing to the state competition for Knowledge Bowl, which is slated for this evening.

The team of Mark McGivern, Andrew Kozelsky, Isabel Ehrhardt and Dan Gould, along with adviser Jerry Bizjak, will represent Albert Lea at the state showdown in Brainerd tonight and Friday.

“They do a written round on Thursday night, then Friday morning to Friday afternoon is the competition,” Bizjak said.

There are two tiers of teams competing at state, and Albert Lea will compete against 23 other teams in their tier. Bizjak said the team competed against 41 other teams at the regional event on March 20, and the top 12 advanced to state.

The regional competition was in Rochester, and Bizjak said teams from all over southeastern Minnesota — Northfield, Rochester, Austin, Kasson-Mantorville and others — came to compete. The Albert Lea team came in sixth out of 41 teams.

“They lead from start to finish. I’ve done this for five years and rarely seen a group lead from start to finish,” Bizjak said.

The Knowledge Bowl competitions start with a multiple-choice test of 60 questions that the team takes together. Then there are five oral rounds of 45 questions. During the oral rounds, anyone in the team can buzz in, and Bizjak said the best teams are not only smart but also fast.

“You have to be correct and very quick,” Bizjak said.

Being smart isn’t the only qualifier for being on a Knowledge Bowl team, and Bizjak said the best teams have students who know about diverse subjects. And being a good teammate also helps.

“They have to infer things really fast and be good listeners,” Bizjak said. “And they have to work together on the whole thing.”

The students have been meeting about once a week since December, but it’s tough to practice when no one knows what the judges will be asking.

“The questions come from a wide variety of subjects,” Bizjak said. “The kids have got to be really well rounded, curious and willing to learn.”

Any school subject, like math, social studies and science, could be a topic, but there are also questions about current events, music and more.

“It’s kind of like a high-end Trivial Pursuit,” Bizjak said.