COLUMBIA — Adam Sperber, 16, clutched the buzzer in his hand. His thumb rested on the red button, ready to answer the next trivia question during Saturday's Quizbowl tournament held at MU. Though Sperber had already competed in eight other trivia rounds, this one was different for the captain of the Hickman Academic Team. He and his teammates were facing the Rock Bridge Quizbowl team.
The high school Quizbowl tournament was hosted by the newly formed MU Quizbowl Club as a fundraiser.
First place - North Kansas City High School
Second place - Hickman High School
Third place - Rock Bridge High School, Team A
"It's been a hassle, but it's been great," said MU freshman Alex Dzurick, who co-founded the club with team member Charlie Dees. Dzurick said the club hoped to raise around $700 with Saturday's tournament. The money, Dzurick said, will be used so the team can enter college tournaments.
In total, 18 Quizbowl teams around the state competed. The entry fee for each team was $70. Schools that entered more than one team received a discount; so did teams that brought their own buzzers.
The tournament was arranged so that teams were not eliminated after losing, but instead continued playing for more tournament experience. The six highest scoring teams played for a first-place prize.
"We kind of feel like if they're paying for the questions, they should get to play rather than just being eliminated and go home. It just seems like a shame for them to have to do that," said Dzurick, who is a member of the Missouri Quizbowl Alliance, a group that promotes higher quality Quizbowl tournaments in the state.
Both Hickman and Rock Bridge high schools competed in the first bracket in the tournament. Rock Bridge went into its round against Hickman undefeated for the day with an 8-0 record. Hickman had lost two rounds and had a 6-2 record.
Hickman was about 100 points ahead of Rock Bridge by the end of the first half of the fast-paced trivia round. Hickman won the round, beating Rock Bridge 335 to 150.
"I knew it was going to be an interesting match," said Sperber, who said his team knew it would have to work together to beat Rock Bridge. "I know (that) sounds so cheesy," he said, laughing.
The Hickman Academic Team was started last year by Sperber and Dee Wasman, the team coach and a math teacher at the school. Wasman, who already coached the math team and sponsored the math honors society, said she made time to coach the academic team as well.
"This is another way to support academics," she said. "It's just fun, and it makes Hickman look good."