JP Senior High Science Bowl team places at regional competition


(L-R) David Crews, Russ Upton, Elly Lamb, Edwin Griffis, Andrew Wasson, Alex Gibbs, Reece Davis, Jack Mullen, Charlie Ott, Alex Reichle

On Friday, February 17, ten Jackson Prep senior high students, accompanied by sponsors Ms. Tracye Eakes and Ms. Suzanne Eskrigge, participated in the Mississippi Regional Science Bowl held at the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus. They left from school at 8:00 a.m. and did not return until past 10:00 that night.

Science Bowl is a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy that tests students’ knowledge of earth and space science, biology, physics, chemistry, energy, and math. State competitions are held in over 40 of the 50 states as well as Puerto Rico, and the winners of these competitions, called regional competitions, earn a free trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in the National Science Bowl.

Jackson Prep has experienced success in this competition during the three years the school has competed. In 2015, the middle school team won the state tournament and competed in the National Science Bowl. Last year, the high school team made it to the elimination round of the regional competition, and this year the middle school team finished second place overall in their regional competition. “Middle school” in this context means 7th and 8th graders while high school refers to 9th-12th grades.

The competition is set up in a quiz bowl format, where four students compete at a time for each team with buzzers to answer toss up questions that can be either short answer or multiple choice. Conferring is not allowed on toss up questions.

If someone on the team gets a toss up question correct, that team earns 4 points and receives a bonus question that conferring among team members is allowed on. If neither team gets the toss up question correct, there is no bonus. A correct answer to a bonus question is worth 10 points.

Each match goes on until 25 toss up questions have been asked or the time limit has been reached. The team that has the most points at the end of the match is declared the winner for that match.

Science Bowl also has some other peculiar rules, including multiple choice options being W, X, Y, and Z and very specific rules about blurting and being called on.

Each team has 3 pool play matches, and following those, the top eight teams go to single elimination. This year Team 1, with team members David Crews, Alex Gibbs, Charlie Ott, Alex Reichle, and Andrew Wasson advanced to the semifinals, finishing in third place behind Oxford High School and the Mississippi School for Math and Science, while Team 2, with team members Edwin Griffis, Jack Mullen, Reece Davis, Elly Lamb, and Russ Upton, did not qualify for the elimination rounds.

Overall, this was a good showing by both teams, and the students who participated enjoyed the trip very much. Sophomore Charlie Ott described the trip as “a fun experience where I got to compete and hang out with some people that I normally would not.”

Jackson Prep looks to return to the competition next year and win at regionals to advance to the National Science Bowl.