The Hillsboro High School Scholars Bowl team qualified for state by placing third at the Class 3A regional tournament Thursday at Hays.
The tournament finished with Hillsboro in a three-way tie for third with Southeast of Saline and Rock Creek, each finishing with a 2-3 record in the championship pool.
The tie could not be broken through head-to-head competition since each team finished 1-1 against the other two. The next tiebreaker was margin of victory or defeat between the three schools. HHS finished plus-20, Rock Creek was even and Southeast was minus-20.
To get to the championship round, Hillsboro went 5-2 in pool play to place among the top three teams.
In opening pool play, the HHS team of Sam Bookless, Daniel Gray, Jonathan King, Briana Loewen and Evan Wienck defeated Council Grove 60-40, lost to Ellsworth 50-40, defeated Norton 80-50 and Smith Center 30-20, then lost to Thomas More Prep 60-40 before defeating Hoisington 60-20 and Marion 50-30.
In the championship pool, Hillsboro lost to TMP 70-10 and Marion 40-30, then defeated Riley County 40-30 and Rock Creek 50-20 before losing to Southeast of Saline 60-50.
?The team had a great day with all five team members buzzing in and getting correct answers at key times,? coach Stuart Holmes said.
He cited underclassmen Wienck, a sophomore, and Gray, a freshman for holding their own in the competition. The remaining three seniors each contributed significant points.
?Sam got the winning question in overtime against Riley County, Jonathan got 11 out of 12 foreign-language questions correct and Briana was especially amazing getting a large number of questions correct with several being key answers where she buzzed in early,? Holmes said.
?The team did a great job of staying focused and positive, as we had a number of very close matches?some that went our way and some that didn?t,? he added.
The state tournament will be Saturday, Feb. 13, at Cimarron High School.