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By Dena Martin
The Times 

Knowledge Bowl is on a winning streak

Waitsburg has eye on state competition with former coach Brad Green as fill-in


February 7, 2019

Times File Photo

The 2018 Waitsburg High Knowledge Bowl placed fifth out of 12 1B teams competing at last year's state competition. This year's team, under Coach Lynn Martin, looks to be headed to state as well.. Pictured, from left: Bradley Sandau, Kevin Murphy, Coach Brad Green, Cade Branson, Leena Baker, Chris Philbrook, Seamus House.

WAITSBURG – With three meets under its belt, and two left in the season, the Waitsburg High School knowledge bowl team has its sights set on representing Waitsburg at the State competition in March.

"At this point, we're on board to go to state," said Lynn Martin who is coaching for the first time this year after the retirement of long-time Knowledge Bowl Coach Brad Green.

Waitsburg made regular appearances at the state competition under Green, who led Waitsburg's teams for 21 years. Waitsburg placed third at state in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017. The team placed ninth in 2014 and took fifth in 2018.

Martin, who teaches junior high math and science, said she agreed to assume coaching duties when Green sent the kids to ask her to take over last spring.

"The kids said, 'we love you, will you coach?' I can't say 'no' when they come to me," Martin said.

And Martin loves her new role.

"I really enjoy my interactions with the kids. They are sharp, articulate and have a wicked sense of humor that I adore," she said.

Martin said that she didn't realize how much work Green did for the entire program until she stepped into his shoes.

"People looked to him for guidance on who was doing what and when. They started asking me and quickly realized someone else would need to take that over," she said.

Knowledge Bowl is considered an athletic event for the mind. High school teams are tested on their knowledge of math, science, history, language skills, literature, music, geography and current events, through written and oral competition.

Students meet in Martin's room to practice at 7:30 on Friday mornings. Martin said it has been a challenge for students to make practices since several attend community college in Walla Walla and are tired after late-night ball games on Thursdays.

"But when they get together, they are pretty mighty," she said.

This year, Waitsburg has two teams, led by captains Seamus House and Kevin Murphy.

House said he followed his brother's footsteps when he decided to participate in Knowledge Bowl.

"It's just fun to do the trivia part and, aside from actually competing, we just have fun in general," House said.

This year's team members are: seniors Riley Witt, Leena Baker, Austin James; juniors Seamus House, Kevin Murphy; sophomore Thomas Elder; freshmen Alex Struckmeier and Violet Smith.

Struckmeyer said she was nervous at first but it turned out that competing was much more fun than she expected.

The team has one more competition in the Tri-Cities on Feb. 7 before district competition in Pomeroy on Feb. 20. The state competition will be held in Yakima on March 23.

In an interesting twist, should they qualify, Green will once again take the kids to state.

Before dates were set, Martin had committed to help WHS graduate Ellie Bartlow, who teaches in Eastland, Ore., chaperone a class of high school kids on a World War II study in Europe, and will be gone for the state competition.

"The kids asked if I would ask Mr. Green to take them. I called him and he was over the moon. He's thrilled," Martin said.


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