Southwestern's Jacob SimmonsWINNETKA - Southwestern High School’s scholar bowl team was recently invited to attend the New Trier Varsity Invitational in Winnetka, north of Chicago, and the Birds had an exceptional tourney, placing seventh overall.

Southwestern won seven matches and lost three overall, advancing all the way to the final round of play. Junior, Jacob Simmons, was the fifth-leading scorer and named to the All-Tourney team. At this tournament, books are the award for the top players. Simmons selected a work by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Twice-Told Tales.”

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The invitation to the event was an honor for the Birds. The New Trier Varsity scholar bowl team has the strongest team north of Interstate 80, and the vast majority of schools entered in the tourney were of large school classification by the IHSA. This tournament, with a field of 60 teams, is one of the premier sites in the Midwest, with teams also attending from New York, Georgia, and Indiana.

The Southwestern varsity team consisted of Nick Breitweiser, Jonathan Tutterow, Jacob Simmons, Lana Kay Tutterow, and Luke Tutterow.

The Birds opened with the C team from Auburn High School in Rockford and fell behind early to the Knights 95-80. In the second half, the Birds adjusted to the format and worked the buzzers to overtake the lead by answering eight of the 10 questions to end with a 325-135 win. Simmons led with six correct answers, Jonathan had three, followed by Lana Kay with 2.

Round 2 pitted Southwestern against the B team from Glenbrook North. Southwestern once again found itself trailing at halftime, 190-110. The Spartan lead was not enough as the Piasa Birds answered eight of the 10 tossups in the second half, again. Southwestern went on to win 365-295 and scoring for the match was eight for Simmons and one apiece for Lana Kay, Jonathan, and Breitweiser.

The third match of the day gave the Piasa Birds a chance to build a lead. The Birds jumped out to an early lead at 230-50 over Buffalo Grove B at halftime. This would be the third match where SWHS played a school with an enrollment over 2,100 students. The Southwestern Scholar Birds where not intimidated by the larger school and went on to win 505-130. Simmons would once again score eight, while Jonathan and sister Lana Kay added two apiece.

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As SW moved through their pool, the strength of the teams would continue to improve. In round 4, the Birds ran into a very talented B team from Loyola Academy, a Catholic school from Wilmette. The Ramblers took an early lead, 185-115 over Southwestern in the halftime period. The pattern of the day for Southwestern would be fall behind, but to eventually come back. This method of play is very risky, but the Birds once again prevailed. Answering seven of the final ten questions, SWHS overwhelmed a very confident Loyola squad. Simmons tallied seven, with Jonathan and Lana Kay adding two each.

Round 5 proved to be a more difficult task for the Birds as they faced the top team in the pool, the Pirates of Palatine High School. The halftime score was tight with the Pirates leading the Piasa Birds 145-130. A strong comeback was in order, and the Birds delivered. SW went on to win 330-230 over a stunned Palatine group. Southwestern finished the morning rounds with a 5-0 record and guaranteed themselves a spot in the Championship pool for the afternoon portion of the tournament by winning their pool in the 48 team Standard Division of the tournament.

After lunch, Southwestern found itself in one of two Championship Pools. Pool winners would advance to the championship match, while runners-up would play for third place. SW came out of the gate strong by answering the first two question. The Birds’ opponent, Lyons Township, answered back and scored on the next two. Both teams traded questions back and forth, and after ten questions, Lyons held a 170-145 lead. Keeping with the trend, SWHS assumed the role of the scrappy second-half team. Taking seven of the final 10 questions, the Birds were able to pull away from the Lions and earned a 370-260 victory. Simmons scored an impressive nine tossups, Jonathan and Luke added one apiece.

Round seven would set up a match between SWHS and St. Viator Catholic High School of Arlington Heights. Bucking the trend, the Piasa Birds started the match in a strong fashion. Nine of the first 10 questions were answered correctly by Southwestern. The overwhelmed Lions found themselves trailing 305-20 at half. The second half of the match was a more balanced affair, but the deficit was too great for St. Viator to overcome and Birds cruised to a 450-225 win. Simmons tallied six scores, Jonathan and Lana Kay added three each, and Breitweiser scored one tossup.

The Piasa Birds had little time to celebrate their victory as the moved on to face Evanston High School. Piasa Birds played a strong first half and took a 175-150 lead. A well-played game by both teams would see the score bounce back and forth with each question. On question 19, Evanston held a 315-310 advantage. With one question remaining, St. Viator beat SW to the buzzer on a current events question and handed the Birds their first loss of the day 355-310. Simmons buzzed five answers, Lana Kay added two, and Jonathan and Luke each had one score.

Round nine’s opponent was the A team from Loyola Academy. The Ramblers carry a national ranking of 21st for the large school division and have been a powerful team on the national scene. Southwestern was not intimidated by a worthy opponent and trailed 150-145 at half. Loyola would score five tossups in succession in the second half, taking a 305-160 lead. The Piasa Birds answered the challenge and stormed back to take the lead. With one question remaining, the Birds held a five-point advantage, 305-300. But, in a deja-vu moment, Loyola was quicker to the buzzer on the final question, concerning current events and handed another close loss to the Birds, 335-305.

The last round of the day kicked off with Southwestern facing the B team from the Latin School of Chicago. Southwestern first half play saw them accumulate a 195-155 lead. The second half would be a mirror image of previous matches. Balanced play by both teams made for an exciting match. The Latin School would take a 320-295 lead into the last question. SW would need to answer the tossup and all parts of the bonus to force a tie and take the match into overtime. Simmons did just that. With the tossup in hand, the Birds awaited the bonus. Philosophy was the category and the Piasa team could not convert all three parts, confusing egalitarianism with utilitarianism. Latin held onto the win 320-300. Needless to say, the SW team will be adding extra work on Philosophy to their practice regimen. Simmons had eight scores, and Breitweiser and Jonathan each had one apiece.

The SW Varsity A team finished with a 7-3 record overall and a respectable seventh-place finish in the tournament. The Birds had hoped for a high level of competition, and they found it at New Trier.

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