Scholars Bowl ready to host and compete at State

A reflection on the Scholars Bowl season


The Varsity Scholars Bowl team pictured after placing second at Regionals, pictured left to right: Connor McCall, Luke LeBar, Abi Yarbrough, Kyle Smith, Sara Murphy and Mason Laney.

Bella Wiltfong, Staff Reporter

The De Soto High School Scholars Bowl team’s 2020-21 season is coming to an end and the hard work of the team will be shown in the State Championships on Saturday, Feb. 13, at noon at De Soto High School.

Their Scholars Bowl season, like many other activities, was drastically different than prior seasons due to the emergence of COVID-19. 

With learning modes changing from hybrid to online, it made practicing difficult as well as the last tournament being held remotely, unlike previous years where they were held in person.

“The toughest thing for us was that our membership decreased significantly, as some students who were on the team were either no longer at the school or were optional remote and didn’t participate in activities this year. Hopefully, those members come back to us next year,” head coach Phillip Hamilton said.

Hamilton did not let this get in the way of maintaining the success the Scholars Bowl team is often known for. 

For the second year in a row, the Scholars Bowl team won the United Kansas Conference, playing each team twice they won with an undefeated record of 10-0. 

Additionally, the team took second place at the Regional tournament hosted at St. Thomas Aquinas. The only team they lost to was the two-time defending State champion, St. James Academy. The scoring was led by senior Luke LeBar and junior, Sara Murphy. 

Not only is Scholars Bowl a successful team but also holds a lot of learning and teaching opportunities for the students who chose to participate. 

“I’ve learned how to be curious about everything. I have really begun to relish the act of learning,” LeBar said.

“I have learned to have a healthy competitive spirit. Although everyone is competing, Scholars Bowl is all about knowledge and it’s a common bond that brings everyone together. It’s a skill that I’ll cherish,” said senior team captain Abi Yarbrough. 

The long and knowledgeable season has also brought many funny moments and memories during practices and tournaments. 

“​Luke LeBar’s alarm on his phone went off during a round and instead of just turning it off, he turned and tossed the phone to me with no warning and told me frantically to shut off the reminder. I shut it off but somehow turned it back on a second later and then tried to guess Luke’s password. It was a wild random moment. Usually, students don’t throw objects at me during rounds,” Hamilton said. 

Many of the students found their favorite memories from simply being a part of the team

“All of the memories are my favorite. I love the energy between the competitive team, and there’s no one else that I would want to compete with,” Yarbrough said.  

With so many fun and exciting memories, the underclassmen will miss the seniors as well as the energy they bring to the team.

“All of the seniors this year are really good leaders, and they are very dedicated to the team. I really enjoy being on a team with them and getting closer with them through the season and will definitely miss them next year,” Murphy said.

“I will miss the constant fun that we have. Even though we’re competing, we are definitely having fun while doing it. The laughs are something that I’m definitely going to miss,” Yarbrough said.

For LeBar, he will ultimately miss all of those involved in Scholars, both players and coaches. 

“…Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Kaul are both great and really supportive coaches who nurture our curiosity. Abi Yarbrough, Kyle Smith and Connor McCall are all friends of mine and I love spending time with them. I also liked getting to know all the underclassmen. Sara Murphy and Mason Laney are both really talented, great people who are going to be really successful next year,” LeBar said.

Despite this, their season is not over yet, as they still have the State Championship to look forward to.

“​I am very excited for our opportunity to play in the State championship again. This group has put in so much work and really earned a shot to compete. I feel really great about it,” Hamilton said. 

“I am extremely excited for the State championship. I’m so honored to be the captain of this extremely talented team and I cannot wait to lead them to their best performance of the year! We have the skills and knowledge to win a state title and I can’t wait to see what we do,” Yarbrough said.

Altogether, the Scholars Bowl team, while it may be coming to a close for the 2020-21 season, holds an array of knowledge and wonderful opportunities for students at DHS.

“Scholars Bowl is an entirely unique community that I have had a hard time finding in other places. If you care about being curious, if you like learning, if you want to make yourself better, Scholars Bowl is a great place to be,” LeBar said. 

The State Championship will hopefully result in a win for the DHS Scholars Bowl team as their hard work and achievements deserve to be acknowledged school-wide.