Scholars at FHS, HVA ready to ‘Bowl’ over foes

  • In 2021, this Hardin Valley Academy team (top foursome) won the East Tennessee Scholars’ Bowl. From left were Chloe Moon, David Hurst, Benji Fanikos and Finley Copeland, who were coached by Nancy Buschwon. They competed against the Alcoa team of, from left, Jehoiada Green, Kate Doyle, Ella Greene and Tripp Wilson.

Local high school teams will compete in January and February for the Tennessee Scholars’ Bowl championship, as they compete on East Tennessee PBS TV station WETP, with Farragut High School and Hardin Valley Academy among the teams.

An FHS team was Bowl champion in 2017, while an HVA team won in 2021.

“Tennessee Scholars’ Bowl, an exciting academic tournament featuring 59 teams from high schools in East Tennessee and Southeast Kentucky, begins airing its 39th season 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9,” said Frank Murphy, a Scholars’ Bowl host on PBS, which locally is Channel 2 or 15.

New episodes air weekdays at 5:30 p.m. through March 29. Murphy returns for his seventh season on the show.

Murphy explained TSB is a stand-alone tournament.

“Participating public, private, parochial and home high schools are from all over the East Tennessee PBS viewing area,” he added. “Many area high schools put together teams of four starting players and often some alternates. Each team has an adult coach who usually is a faculty member.”

In a previous competition, which HVA won, “Hardin Valley took off like wildfire,” said Murphy, who recalled there were two brothers — Jacob and Benji Fanikos — who “just took the game by storm.”

The following schools’ opening-round participation schedules are set: Christian Academy of Knoxville versus Morristown East A team Thursday, Jan. 12; Farragut versus Loudon Monday, Jan. 23; Knoxville Catholic High School versus Webb School of Knoxville Thursday, Feb. 7; Alcoa versus HVA A team Wednesday, Feb. 8; and Cedar Springs A versus Hardin Valley B team, Friday, Feb. 10.

Teams of four students answer questions in literature, language, science, art, math, geography, music, sports, history, religion and current events among other subjects. Murphy said each game is a single-elimination match.

“Winning teams advance to rounds of 32, 16, eight and four before the final two teams compete for the Frank Miller Memorial Trophy and a $1,000 cash stipend in the championship game,” he said. “After the first-round games are completed, the ‘Threshold of 32’ begins airing on Feb. 15.

“The “Smart 16” begins airing March 9; the “Educated 8” begins airing March 21; and the “Philosophical 4” begins airing March 27.

The championship game will air on March 29,” Murphy added.

Viewers who have video tapes or DVDs of Scholars’ Bowl episodes from the 1980s or ’90s are encouraged to e-mail to have the shows digitized and possibly included in a retrospective for the show’s 40th Anniversary celebration