Scholastic Bowl team goes virtual

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Jennifer Bryant, Reporter

The Tunstall Scholastic Bowl team embraced the challenges of 2020 and played all of their matches virtually. The team finished their regular season with 3-2 wins against Halifax, Magna Vista, and Bassett, and losses to Patrick County and George Washington. All matches were played remotely via Zoom in the library. The members for this year’s team include seniors Miranda Cochran, Eben Leigh, Kaitlyn Davis, Jackson Kime, and Cameron Marshall, junior Pranav Shav, and sophomores Christopher Flores-Bravo and Taylor Dodson. 

Through the virtual match setting, four of the eight team members join a Zoom call on separate computers in the library with the opposing team on the other end. The match proctors have the live game controls including the buzzers and scores to simulate the match being in person and as close to normal as possible. Most matches ended in a toss up round where one question could be answered by either team, and the matches, though virtual, still ran about the same. “I really thought we could have done this [season] in person” says sophomore and second year member, Christopher Flores-Bravo. “We could have had the buzzers pushed apart and everyone socially distanced.” 

Some students believe that the season could have been socially distanced and in-person, but overall the team is grateful to have gotten a season at all. I am grateful that we had a season in the first place” says senior and third year member, Jackson Kime. 

However, other students came to appreciate the virtual setting and found it to be positive. “Obviously, I would have preferred to be in-person with no masks, but I did feel less self-conscious about answering with just our team in the room,” says senior and second year member, Kaitlyn Davis. Competing virtually helped ease the nerves and intensity of competing because it felt like there was a positive, metaphorical wall between our team and the opposing team that could have played a role in allowing members to feel more confident answering questions. 

Though the “new normal” of the season caused an adjustment to be made by the team, one thing remains the same: friendship. “I actually really liked ACE this year, especially being able to see my friends again,” says Davis. 

According to two of the ACE team students, the strongest teams they were up against were Magna Vista High School and George Washington High School. The team beat Magna Vista, but lost against George Washington. 

On February 20, the team moved on to regionals and defeated both Staunton River and Bassett. They lost to Abingdon and Hidden Valley, the eventual tournament champion.  

Moving into the next school year, there will be many seniors leaving, causing the group to need to rebuild. “I certainly hope that next year will be used wisely to rebuild and rejuvenate the team,” says Kime. With only three members left after graduation, it will be a year to reach out and recruit other students. 

“Whether [next year’s season] is virtual or not, I am most likely joining next year because the team is losing a lot of seniors,” says Flores-Bravo. 

I am confident that the current group of underclassmen will step up and meet whatever challenges a new school year brings,” says Coach Aaron Book, who brings his share of positivity to the idea of a rebuilding year.