Quiz bowl team heads to regional competition

Mar. 13, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

This North Carolina county consistently ranks first or second in the number of white-tailed deer harvested during deer season, and its county seat is known as "The Birthplace of Freedom" because North Carolina colonial leaders met there on April 12, 1776 — becoming the first colonial government body to officially call for independence from Britain.

For 10 points, name this county, located in the northeastern part of the state, where Southern Lee High School students will impart their knowledge Saturday during a regional quiz bowl tournament.

Answer: Halifax.

The six members of Southern Lee's quiz bowl team will make the trip with coach Robert Newman, an anatomy and chemistry teacher at the school, who said they're looking forward to the chance to compete with schools from around the state. Southern Lee won the right to attend by defeating the rest of the teams from Lee County — Lee County High School, Lee Early College and Lee Christian School — in a double-elimination tournament several weeks ago.

The six students on the team are Will Maness, Jacob Childers, Jeffrey Davis, Carlos Jimenez, Colby Kirkman, Johanna Lipscomb and Brandon Perry.

"They've been excited," Newman said. "I find it funny: They've each treated the (Lee County) trophy like the Stanley Cup, each one having it for a day or two at their house. I had no idea they'd be so excited."

Newman himself is well-versed in the emotions that accompany trivia contests, describing in detail how one of his former teammates gave an incorrect answer to the final question in a tournament back when he was a senior in high school, and how crushed he had been. But in the tournament a few weeks ago, the students he coaches came from behind in both the semifinals and the finals to take the lead on the very last question.

"I'm hoping that we can do as well, without as much drama, at regionals," he said.

Michael Matochick, director of the Lee County Library and a sponsor of the local quiz bowl tournament, said he's happy for the Southern Lee students to have this opportunity, particularly because a regional competition isn't held every year due to a fluctuating number of teams across the state. Newman added that the last time Southern Lee had the chance to go to regionals, the school had to decline because it overlapped with prom.

All 100 North Carolina counties had a team in the past, Matochick said, back when the contest was still sponsored by the state library. But ever since that funding was cut, participation is down to about 10 counties that regularly participate.

"We've always loved it, so we've kept it up," Matochick said. "There haven't always been regionals, but in the last few years, a couple more counties have started it up."

Matochick also said another trivia contest will be held in Lee County in May. He's not sure yet if it will be for teams or individuals, but it will be open to children and adults alike and will focus around either North Carolina history or the Civil War. He said more details will be forthcoming.