Reading bowl team wins first place at the regional competition


Courtesy of Carsynn Miller

This year, for the first time ever, NC’s reading bowl team competed at the regional level. According to team captain and NC magnet senior Maddie Sullivan, the team did not know what to expect from the regional competition, so they worked even harder to prepare. “This year we had more practices than usual and we doubled down on writing questions. Since we had a huge Google Doc it made asking questions at practice much easier and we all just felt more confident,” Sullivan said.

Erin Grier, Archives Editor

NC’s Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl team competed at the regional reading bowl competition at the University of West Georgia on Saturday, February 8 to further test their knowledge of the 2019-2020 Georgia Peach Teen Book Award Nominees. The Warriors won first place, and as a result, will move on to compete at the divisional level on March 8.

 “I wasn’t sure how far we were going to make it if I’m honest. I knew this was the hardest we had ever practiced and prepared but I didn’t know what to expect. Walton is the school that always gets first place. I knew we were going to do great but I wasn’t sure how we’d stack up next to Walton,” NC magnet senior and team captain Maddie Sullivan said. 

After a brief opening ceremony, NC participated in five rounds against five other high school teams: Griffin, Sandy Creek, East Paulding, South Paulding and Walton. In each round, moderators asked the teams ten random questions based on details within any of the books they read. Players buzzed in within ten seconds, and if they answered correctly they earned ten points for their team; only five students from each team could compete each round. NC’s team consisted of seven students who rotated spots throughout the rounds.

Erin Grier
Before the beginning of the opening ceremony, the team practiced by asking each other questions that might come up during the impending rounds. “The county level had an air of “we’ve all come to have fun” to it and it felt more relaxed. There are fewer high schools that compete and lots come for the great books on the list so the competition at the county was less stressful. But at regionals, none of us knew what to expect so that was a level of anxiety for our team. Since librarians and professors write these questions we were afraid they’d be too specific. And actually, some ended up being bad questions! So it was just a different experience to navigate through,” Sullivan said.

In the first round, Walton High School (the first place winners at last month’s county-wide competition) beat NC 50-20. In round two, NC went up against South Paulding and won 70-10. In the third round, NC beat East Paulding 90-0. In round 4, NC defeated  Griffin 80-10. In the final round, Sandy Creek lost to NC 60-20.

“We were all a little shaken after the first round when we heard some specific questions. So, next time I think we’ll be better prepared when we reread the books to comb through for obscure names and events that could come up later on,” Sullivan said.

Both Sullivan and Renee Brown, NC English teacher and coach of the team, agree that divisionals could bring tougher competitors than regionals, though the team plans on continuing to practice frequently to prepare for the upcoming competition. 

“Four of us are seniors this year so it really lit a fire within us I think to do our best. We want to leave a legacy for the club and for North Cobb. And we’re doing that since this is the first time in the club’s history that we’re moving past regionals to divisionals,” Sullivan said. 

Erin Grier
Team member and NC freshman Beth Hudson made friendship bracelets for the team to wear as a good luck charm during the competition. “I wore one to school one time, and then Tito [Omoteso] was like, ‘Can you make me one?’ and then everybody was like ‘Oh I want one too!’, so I stayed up last night and I made them,” Hudson said.