Defending Champions Hope to Repeat with Enthusiasm
TYNGSBORO — The defending Knowledge Bowl champions sat in Ciaran Pendergast’s classroom on a recent Thursday afternoon.
The dozen Tyngsboro Middle School students raced to answer questions from a quiz show Pendergast, their coach, projected on a screen. In the show, high school students touched on subjects like history and geography.
The students representing Tyngsboro were practicing for the Kendall M. Wallace Greater Lowell Regional Knowledge Bowl. At the time, the competition was weeks away.
There is a lot at stake for the team. The two-day tournament on Monday and Tuesday will be held on their turf, at Tyngsboro High School, 36 Norris Road, Tyngsboro. And they’ll be fighting to keep the trophy they won last year.
According to Pendergast, the team’s greatest strengths this year are camaraderie and enthusiasm.
“A lot of friendships have been made and it’s good to see the eighth-grade kids really kind of step up as role models, and the sixth- and seventh-graders are looking up to them,” Pendergast said. “They’re fun to be with. They get along great. They really just celebrate each other a lot of the time.”
Campbell Wood, 12, said he joined the team after his twin sister, Lilian. The sixth-graders have followed in the footsteps of their older brother, Ian, who is a former Knowledge Bowl team member.
“It’s fun,” Campbell said of being part of the Tyngsboro team. “You get to answer questions and you have to study and watch the news a lot.”
Campbell said the most challenging aspect of practice is whenever the team works on math he has yet to learn in school.
“I want to answer a lot of the questions,” Lilian said.
She admitted that she doesn’t know as much as the seventh- and-eighth graders, but practice has been fun so far. Lilian recalled always feeling bored while her family watched their older brother compete. She wanted to be on the stage.
Pendergast said the team began training for Knowledge Bowl back in November and that they usually meet once a week.
Meeting more frequently is difficult because most of the students are deeply involved in other activities like theater and student council.
Evianna Young, a seventh-grader, is a repeat Knowledge Bowl team member. She said it’s sometimes hard to make it to practice because she’s also into theater.
“I think it’s exciting more than anything,” she said of the competition. “It is a bit nerve-wracking but I think it’s gonna be exciting and more of the experience... it’s not like ‘What do I do? What do I say? What’s going on?’”
This year, Evianna said, the team has more experience.