Experience was the name of the game for Cora L. Rice Elementary School’s Science Bowl team, as two veterans of the annual quiz show led the Landover school to its second consecutive semifinal berth Tuesday, defeating Laurel’s Montpelier Elementary, 240-185.
“We knew to always start with Zoo Parade [for] 20 points,” said sixth-grader Trinity Moon, 11, of Hyattsville, who was in her second year participating. “And then once we’re ahead, we start to get defensive, going for less points.”
The Science Bowl is Prince George’s County Public Schools’ televised quiz-show competition, now in its 27th year.
Prosun Das, 11, of Hyattsville, another sixth-grade veteran and the Landover school’s team captain, said a combination of knowing what to expect from last year’s Science Bowl tournament and rigorous practice twice a week prepared the team for victory.
“We watch old videos (of past competitions) and scrimmage against each other every Tuesday and Thursday,” Prosun said. “And we started to put in extra days of practice when we knew the matches were coming up.”
With Tuesday’s win, Cora Rice Elementary returns to the elementary school semifinal round April 16, where it will face its nemesis, University Park Elementary, which defeated Cora Rice in last year’s final. Glenarden Woods Elementary will face Bond Mill Elementary School in Laurel in the other semifinal matchup.
In the preliminary rounds, both Cora Rice Elementary and Montpelier Elementary overcame first-round deficits to reach the quarterfinal round. Cora Rice defeated Bladensburg’s Rogers Heights Elementary School by a score of 325-150, while Montpelier beat Magnolia Elementary School in Lanham, 295-145.
Montpelier Elementary fifth-grader DJ Pigrom, 11, of Laurel said despite losing he was proud of himself and his team. He pointed to a string of correct answers, including two 25-point queries, in the second half to come within 25 points before Cora Rice Elementary pulled back ahead to finish the game.
“I still think we did pretty good,” DJ said. “We were a little slow on the buzzer, and they’re a really good team who are fast to buzz in.”
Host David Zahren said he was impressed by all of the teams who competed Tuesday.
“The games were all pretty close for a while,” he said. “You can tell the caliber of the students by the pace of the games, and these all went very quickly. I was impressed by everyone’s grasp of news-related questions.”
Clark Baker, Cora Rice’s coach and fifth-grade science, social studies and health teacher, said he sees a definite difference in this year’s team from last year’s squad.
“We have a much larger team, and so we have more intensive scrimmages,” Baker said. “It’s just amazing the amount of competition we have in practice. They did awesome.”