Putnam County students competed in the county Scholastic Bowl last week. (Putnam Sentinel/Anne Coburn-Griffis)
Putnam County students competed in the county Scholastic Bowl last week. (Putnam Sentinel/Anne Coburn-Griffis)

OTTAWA — Approximately 150 students from all nine schools faced off on March 20 at the Putnam County Educational Service Center for the annual Putnam County Scholastic League Tournament. The teams began regular season matches on Jan. 8 and every Wednesday after that through Thursday’s all-county event. Beginning at 9 a.m. until the tournament’s 2 p.m. finish, all nine teams competed in a round-robin format so that each school could compete against all others.

For those not familiar, Scholastic League teams compete head-to-head to answer questions from all areas of knowledge, including history, literature, science, fine arts, current events, sports and popular culture. It is the high school version of Quiz Bowl.

Although Gary Herman has worked with the PCESC for a few years, this is the first year that this curriculum coordinator has coordinated the league. While a student at Ottoville High School, Herman himself participated. When asked how his team did, he laughed. “We weren’t really that competitive. Our advisor didn’t take it that seriously.”

That didn’t seem to be the case for any of the county’s schools on Thursday. Three different matches were held simultaneously, with students checking their team’s ranking every half hour between each round of competition. The competition was tight going into the tournament.

“Today, there’ve been a lot of close matches,” said Herman. “At one point, there was actually a tie between Ottawa-Glandorf and Ottoville so they had to go to a sudden-death question. It shows how all the teams have been very competitive. It’s not just one team blowing all the other teams out.”

Herman said that, despite the weather playing havoc with the calendar of matches, it was a very competitive year. Kalida High School won the regular season of competition, but it was only by half a game over Pandora-Gilboa High School.

“Kalida was 13 wins—one loss and two ties,” he said. “Pandora-Gilboa was 13 wins—two losses and one tie. And Continental and Ottawa-Glandorf were only one game behind them.”

According to Herman, at one point on Thursday Kalida High School had no losses and Ottawa-Glandorf had one. Then Kalida lost a match to O-G by one point. Kalida had to beat P-G by at least 12 points to take home the championship. First through fourth placements were all very close, but in the end O-G took home the gold.

Both the winner of the regular Scholastic League season and the annual tournament winner may move on to regional competition in April. This spring, the teams from Kalida and O-G have the opportunity to represent Putnam County at Tiffin Calvert High School, Tiffin.