SOU's Brain Bowl tournament

SOU offers “Brain Bowl” for local students

More than 20 teams and a combined 100-plus students participated last month in the 47th annual Southern Oregon Brain Bowl, a quizbowl tournament organized by the Pre-College Youth Program at Southern Oregon University for middle and high schools in the region.

The first-round winners are St. Mary’s, Ashland, Logos Charter and Henley high schools in the junior varsity category, and Cascade Christian, Ashland, Phoenix and Mazama high schools in the varsity competition. The four finalists in both the varsity and junior varsity categories will complete for the Brain Bowl Division Championships, with the competition filmed on Saturday, April 13, and aired on Southern Oregon Public Television (PBS) at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 14.

Winners in the middle school category were St. Mary’s in Division A, McLoughlin in Division B and Scenic in Division C.

A special “Team Challenge” competition was also held during this year’s first-round high school tournament, with each team given five minutes to work together to answer a question or solve a problem. Each team was given the same challenge, and the special team event didn’t affect scoring for the overall tournament. The Team Challenge awards went to Grants Pass and Phoenix high schools in the varsity category, and to St. Mary’s and Henley high schools in the junior varsity category.

The SOU Pre-College Youth Programs staff congratulated all of the participating Brain Bowl students for their sportsmanship and competence, and thanked coaches for supporting their teams. The Jackson, Josephine and Klamath County school districts all helped to sponsor the tournament.

The director and question creator for this year’s Brain Bowl was James Johnson, who oversees the Academic Support Center at Ashland Middle School and coaches the school’s Brain Bowl team. The headquarters team included scorekeepers Diane Novak and Debbi Larsen, part of a team of more than 30 community members who served as timekeepers, scorekeepers and moderators.

The Southern Oregon Brain Bowl, based on game show Jeopardy, began in 1977 as a local academic competition between southern Oregon middle schools and high schools.