ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
Centre High School Scholars Bowl coach Chad Tischhauser may not teach math, but he knows the addition of Brianne Stahlecker was a primary reasons his team qualified for state the past two years.
“Brianne was kind of our leading player and did very well,” Tischhauser said. “She really helped us out and brought a lot to our team.”
Joining Stahlecker on this year’s team were Rachel Davis, Tim Baker, Ty Remy and Tad Remy.
Stahlecker said her main area of interest was math.
“I really like math,” Stahlecker said. “Right now I’m taking calculus. The experience with math and calculus pretty much allows me to know how to do about all the questions they ask-not all of them, but most of them.”
On the rare occasion Stahlecker was stumped, her team-first attitude was tested.
“Since I was the math specialist, the rest of the team was counting on me,” she said. “Sometimes, if I didn’t know how to do a problem, I felt like I let the team down and that put some pressure on me.”
Tischhauser said Stahlecker righted the ship when it sometimes went awry.
“Brianne kept the team focused and kept them on task,” he said. “But she was also supportive of everyone on the team.”
Although not the official team captain, Stahlecker said she felt one of her roles was to see each team member recognize the importance of each competition.
“I wouldn’t let them get too goofy,” she said. “I tried to keep everyone calm. I like having fun and I don’t mind being a little bit goofy up to a point, but after that it kind of bothers me.”
Stahlecker said as the season progressed, so did the stress level.
“It’s really high pressure, especially when you get to regional and state competition,” she said. “You have to know the answers so quickly.
“You also have to know useless trivia to be good,” she said with a laugh. “You don’t necessarily have to be smart to be in Scholars Bowl. You just have to know your stuff.”
One way to “learn your stuff,” according to Stahlecker, is to pay attention in day-to-day events.
“I watch ‘Good Morning, America’ and get a lot of current-events information,” she said. “I also really like to read. I like to read novels a lot more than I do informational things, though.”
Tischhauser selects his Scholars Bowl team each year.
“Whoever wanted to go out could, but he picked the league and regional team,” Stahlecker said. “We went to state again this year and won our first four matches. But we didn’t make it out of pool play.”
Not surprisingly, Stahlecker is a regular on the highest honor at Centre and is a member of the National Honor Society.
“I’ve just always wanted to get good grades,” she said. “I want to learn things and get smarter.”
Also on Stahlecker’s activity list are volleyball, basketball and track.
“I was first team all-league this year in volleyball,” she said. “In track, I do the triple jump and 100-meter high hurdles.
“I’m not very good at either one,” she added. “But I do have a lot of fun in track.”
Tischhauser said it appears Stahlecker has fun no matter what event she’s participating in.
“Brianne is very personable, but she’s not overbearing,” he said. “She’s just an all-around good kid.”
Beyond math, Stahlecker said her In House Training class is her favorite: “I do jobs for people in the community.”
Other school activities on Stahlecker’s list include Future Business Leaders of America, C-Club, Pep Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Outside school, Stahlecker participates in her church youth group at St. John’s Lutheran Church and works at the Marion city swimming pool during the summer as a lifeguard.
Stahlecker said Scholars Bowl is about more than just competition.
“Meeting kids from other schools is probably the thing I have the most fun with,” she said. “We see some of the same teams several times a year, but we really don’t have one set rival like you would in basketball or volleyball.
“Most of the kids I talk to, though, were kids that I already knew from sports.”
The energetic senior plans to attend Concordia University in Seward, Neb.
“I want to become a teacher some day, so I’m going to major in either elementary education or middle school education,” she said.
After four years of Scholars Bowl, Stahlecker said she’ll miss the camaraderie of her teammates in addition to the team cuisine.
“Mr. Tischhauser says a good reason to join Scholars Bowl is to get free doughnuts,” she said with a smile. “Lots of mornings we got doughnuts-and that’s a big lure for some people.
“But it’s really been a fun thing to do and I’ve enjoyed it for four years,” she added. “You can know things like useless trivia, things about books or know things about social studies and be really good at Scholars Bowl.”