STERLING - The intellectual powerhouse that is Newman Central Catholic High School’s Scholastic Bowl team is on its way to Friday’s IHSA state competition in Peoria.
The 11-member team won the Illinois High School Association sectional held Saturday at Keith Country Day School in Rockford.
The sectional uses a round-robin format, with the winners of the four feed-in regionals all playing each other. The team that wins the most matches, or, in the case of a three-way tie, scores the most points, advances to state.
In the first match of the day, Newman beat three-time Sectional champion Keith Country Day in a tie-breaker, 180-160.
Newman was down by 70 points with three of the 24 questions to go when Ken Ellorando and Elliott Frankfother answered two of the last three toss ups correctly to give the team the opportunity to answer six 10-point bonus questions, Newman Coach Ann Propheter reported.
The team correctly answered five of the six questions to force the tie-breaker.
Senior Todd Nelson answered the tie-break question and one part of the bonus, which gave the Comets their 20-point advantage to win the match, Propheter said.
Newman then faced its Three Rivers Conference rival and past state qualifier, Morrison, and won 330-100. The team’s last match was against Galena; it won handily, 350-150.
At state, the eight Class A sectional winners will be divided into two pools (as will the the AA winners).
Each team will play three matches, and the winners and runners-up in the two pools then will play for first or third place in the state, respectively.
Newman will face Cumberland High School of Toledo in its first-round match at 10 a.m. Friday at the Peoria Civic Center.
Results will be posted at www.ihsa.org
In addition to Nelson, a senior, and juniors Ellorando and Frankfother, players participating were seniors Jacob Ardis, Nate Edison, and Andy Eifel, and juniors Jakob Frank, Dillon Gallantine, Linnea Larson, Matt Wagenecht, and Sydney Ybarra.