RHS Knowledge Bowl team wins second consecutive state championship

Ridgefield High School Knowledge Bowl team members (from L to R) are Stuart Swingruber, Adam Ford, coach David Jacobson, Emi Newell, and James Haddix. Photo courtesy Ridgefield School District
Ridgefield High School Knowledge Bowl team members (from L to R) are Stuart Swingruber, Adam Ford, coach David Jacobson, Emi Newell, and James Haddix. Photo courtesy Ridgefield School District

Ridgefield team will once again compete in the National Knowledge Bowl

The Ridgefield High School Knowledge Bowl team placed first at the state competition in Wenatchee last week. The win secured the team’s second consecutive 2A state championship. After winning the national Knowledge Bowl championship last year in an unprecedented, come-from-behind win, the team members are excited to once again compete in the National Knowledge Bowl, this time as defending national champions.  

Knowledge Bowl is similar to Jeopardy, with rapid-fire questions across a broad range of subjects. Flip through a list of sample questions, and you might be surprised at how challenging they are. For example: Name three modal auxiliaries that begin with the letter M? Answer: may, must, might. What is the phase shift of this function: f(x)=4?Answer: sine(x-pi). What is the largest island in the immediate vicinity of the Seychelles, Mauritius, and the Comoros? Answer: Madagascar. Minerals that collect in what kind of alluvial deposits must be dense, chemically inert, and resistant to weathering? Answer: placer deposits. 

Watching the RHS team answer questions like these, one after another, is impressive. There’s virtually no hesitation before they hit the buzzer, confident and prepared.

The varsity team won the state championship after taking first place at regionals. Adam Ford, James Haddix, Emi Newell, and Stuart Swingruber are experienced competitors; Ford, Newell, and Haddix were all members of last year’s national championship Knowledge Bowl team. In this year’s state tournament, the Ridgefield team took on tough competition with Charles Wright Academy and Pullman High School, winning by two points in the finals.

Coach David Jacobson is very proud of his students and excited to see them compete on the national stage again — this time attending at least one competition in person. Due to COVID restrictions, many academic competitions had to be held online, so the students are thrilled to get to travel this year. The team is traveling to the national competition in Atlanta thanks to the generous donations from Ridgefield residents and businesses, a $1,500 donation from the Ridgefield Lions Club, and a $5,000 matching grant from the Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation. 

One thing for the team hasn’t changed though: they are continuing to practice, working their way through thousands of sample questions. 

“They are super smart kids, and they’ve worked hard to get where they are,” Jacobson said. “You never know what will happen at competition, but they have a winning record again this year, and I think their chances are as good as any other team at nationals.

Information provided by Ridgefield School District.


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