Scholastic bowl seeks championship despite youth


Galena competes at the Bergstrom Stateline Quiz Bowl on September 12, 2021.

Galena High School’s Scholastic Bowl program has a long history of success. In a COVID-19 shortened season, the team had a record of 15-4. Under Head Coach Ron Jenkins, the Pirates won the regional semifinal against rival East Dubuque. The team then went on to earn a championship victory over a strong River Ridge team. Much of this success can be attributed to unanimous first team All-Conference selection Daniel Heid, the captain of last season’s team.

“We’ve won the IHSA Regional title and the NUIC West Division title all five of the past five years,” Jenkins said. “We won the NUIC conference tournament two of the past four times it was held.”

This year’s team has already been working and practicing to replicate the success of last year. Each player completed at least 15 hours of practice during the fall. The team also attended Bergstrom Stateline Quiz Bowl this past fall in Rockford. These matches are taped and aired on television. The team will feature three returning players, Jovian Pham ‘22, Hayes Noble ‘23, and Sam Eaton ‘23. These players all saw significant playing time in Galena’s successful season last year. 

“I am excited for this season, and hopefully my past experience as a member of the scholastic bowl team will help us win,” Noble said. 

There are also plenty of new faces joining the varsity team as well. Chase Dittmar ‘23, Kelsie Wienen ‘23, Ella Getz ‘24, and Sami Ouahbi ‘25, will all be making their first full-time varsity appearances this season. 

“I am very excited to be a member of the varsity team this season,” Ouahbi said. “I have been studying very hard to learn the more difficult varsity material.” 

There are already a few meets that the team has circled on their schedules. The Pirates’ home opener is January 24 against West Carroll. The Pirates will face rival East Dubuque on the road on February 7. On February 15, the Pirates will host Warren on Senior Night to honor lone senior Jovian Pham. The Pirates will compete in the Masonic Academic Bowl Sectional Tournament on February 19, where they will face teams they do not normally play. If they advance, they will compete at the state level tournament on March 5. The rematch of the regional championship against River Ridge will take place on February 22. The Pirates will look to defend their title as regional champions in the regional tournament on March 7.

“Our biggest weakness is literature, and our biggest strength is everything else besides literature,” Jenkins said. “We also have some very strong younger players; we’ll be losing only one senior to graduation, so however we do this year, we should do even better next year.”