The annual North Carolina State Public Library Quiz Bowl was held at the Andy Griffith Playhouse for the first time on Saturday.
Davidson County’s Ledford Senior High came away the winner.
“It’s just great to host the state finals here today,” Joan Sherif, director of Northwestern Regional Library, said of the state championship. “It’s never been here before.”
The state-level competition pitted seven teams of students against each other in a double-elimination tournament. Teams competed in subjects such as language, social studies, arts, science and current events.
This year the seven teams competing included East Surry as well as Arendell Parrott Academy (Lenoir County), D.H. Conley High (Pitt County), Grey Stone Day School (Stanly County), Halifax Academy (Halifax County), Ledford High (Davidson County) and Lee High (Lee County).
Homer Dearmin, the long-time moderator of the Northwestern Regional Library’s competition, had his first go at state-level moderating.
“I’m excited to see the increased level of competition. Our regional competition is exciting, but this is the best of the best,” said Dearmin, whose day job is King city manager.
“I participated in Quiz Bowl from 1996-2000,” Dearmin later told the audience. “So, it’s taken me 22 years to make it to the state level of competition.”
As teams arrived for the competition and took group photos with the Andy and Opie sculpture on the lawn of the Andy Griffith Playhouse, word began to circulate that a member of Ledford’s team had just been accepted to Harvard. Josh Burns, a member of the Ledford team and himself recently accepted to Amherst College, confirmed the rumor.
“This team basically formed last year,” said Burns of the team which he said were all seniors.
Unlike the deep bench of Ledford and some of the other schools who brought along the maximum number of players, the home team did not have that advantage. East Surry’s team consisted of four players, the minimum required to fill the chairs for a match.
“You can play with less than four,” said John Wingo, a member of East Surry’s team, “but it’s not recommended.”
Moderator Homer Dearmin later explained Quiz Bowl rules state that if a team has less than four players, they do not get a chance to answer the missing team member’s question in round one, but the other team gets a chance to answer it for half credit.
East Surry almost faced that scenario when one of their four players was not able to attend at the last minute. Luke Joyce was brought in as a last-minute sub. Joyce seemed unconcerned that his first Quiz Bowl experience was going to be in a state championship facing off against the best of the best.
“I have 17 years’ experience in knowing things,” said Joyce.
“We try to keep it casual,” said Wingo. “We showed up and everybody was wearing suits, and here we are in shorts and graphic tees.”
“Wouldn’t it be hysterical if we won?” asked one of the teammates, and they all roared with laughter.
Ultimately, they did not win, but in their first round match-up with Lee County, a team with a full roster of players in matching yellow team shirts, East Surry took them down 185 – 90.
Reach Bill at 415-4699.