PHOTO: Master of ceremonies Chris Clark holds the microphone for Summit freshman Sam Arnold to introduce himself before the second round of play in the eighth annual Sarah Bayrd American History Bowl on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 at Brentwood City Hall.
By RACHAEL LONG / Photos submitted by Ben Matthews
After a competition laced with anticipation and fast buzzers, Summit High School brought home another win in the City of Brentwood’s Eighth Annual Sarah Bayrd History Bowl.
Competitive spirits were high among the seven teams. Tensions were, too, since any wrong answer granted teams negative points.
Summit led the scoreboard after the first round, doubling the point total of Brentwood High School, who the second highest score.
In the second round, a question was asked about the significance of the decision of Madison vs. Marbury. When Summit contestant Sam Arnold buzzed in — that it established the principle of judicial review — his answer was ruled as incorrect. After a few moments of crowd clamor, it became clear that Arnold’s answer was, in fact, correct.
“Thank you for teaching us,” reader Chuck Sherrill said to Arnold with a laugh.
While they were not always in the lead, Franklin teammates were quick to offer their support with loud applause from the audience seats.
The Jeopardy-style round became a crowd favorite, as contestants found their strides in single categories and stuck with them as long as they could.
Nolensville contestant David Taylor did just that in the “dynamic duos” category. After a several-question streak, he was finally bested in the race to the buzzer.
The Nolensville High School team made a comeback and held second place to Summit heading into the fourth round.
It was then that Summit contestant Mason Standridge elicited applause from the crowd after answering some tough questions with exacting answers.
In the last round, the excitement in the chambers at City Hall was palpable as teams hurriedly placed their wagers.
“This is a round where everything could change because of the way it’s structured,” master of ceremonies Chris Clark said. “If you get the right answer, it could get your team in first place.”
As they entered the last round — final jeopardy — the top three teams were Summit with 9,600 points, Nolensville with 6,600 points and Brentwood with 5,100 points.
The question gave clues asking students to name the Panama Canal project, and all teams but Centennial got it right.
With a clear lead, Summit wagered 7,000 points, and won the bowl with a whopping 16,200 points.
From the get-go, members of the Summit team seemed confident. After their second consecutive win, it was clear the team came prepared.
“I was fairly confident coming in and especially confident after the first category,” Summit Coach Otis Hallbright said. “We drilled with a lot harder questions than those.”
The team was made up of senior Chris Meherg, junior alternate Tara Jones, sophomore Will (Mason) Standridge, and freshmen Sam Arnold and Jorge Ikeda-Sanchez.
Although the team was young, Hallbright said they were all “pretty much in the same boat” when it came to team leadership.
The History Bowl is organized by the Historic Commission, and Chairwoman Anne Goad said this was their best turnout to date.
The hardest part now, she said, is coming up with new questions because the students watch the past year’s videos and come prepared.
A new category this year showed contestants iconic images and asked them to name its moment it history. During the competition, the students blew through that category, and Goad said it was a hit.
“Obviously we’re not teachers,” Goad said. “But we want to keep them interested in history and make it fun.”
The seven competing teams came from the following high schools: Brentwood, Nolensville, Franklin, Summit, Independence, Centennial and Ravenwood.
The eighth Annual Sarah Bayrd American History Bowl was live-streamed from the City of Brentwood’s Facebook page and can be watched in its entirety here.