The team representing Hartington-Newcastle High School took this year’s Quiz Bowl honors at Mount Marty College (MMC). Pictured (left to right) are Shaye Morten, MMC President Marc Long, Alex Kneifl and Abbe Morten.

Mount Marty College (MMC) President Marc Long kicked of Saturday’s 2018 Quiz Bowl finals Saturday with a story about his own experience with the activity.

"It was for the district championship at Mark Twain High School outside of Hannibal, Missouri," Long recounted to the three teams gathered for the championship. "The question was — and I answered it — ‘How many United States presidents have there been?’ This was in 1986. Ronald Reagan was president and he was the 40th president. So I rang in and said, ‘Forty.’"

After asking the students how many of them would’ve answered the same, prompting more than a few raised hands, Long said things didn’t quite go as expected.

"The person who was kind of in charge of it said, ‘No, that’s incorrect, that’s past tense. How many presidents HAVE there been? Thirty nine.’ … Nevertheless, I hope none of that happens to you today, because 32 years later, I still think I was right."

With that, Long turned the floor over to teams representing Crofton High School, Hartington-Newcastle High School and Scotland High School.

This marked the 16th year that Riverfront Broadcasting has organized and broadcast Quiz Bowl locally. It also marked nearly a decade of MMC hosting the finals. This year, 16 teams competed during a three-week span, answering trivia questions on a number of topics, including science, literature and politics.

The 2018 season came to a close Saturday with the final three teams. A fourth was supposed to participate, but a conflict arose and it had to withdraw.

Curt Dykstra of Riverfront Broadcasting told the Press & Dakotan that Quiz Bowl gives high school academics a chance to shine.

"I think in this world, sometimes academics gets a second-place finish to other things that are going on in schools," Dykstra said. "I think what’s really important and really cool about this event is it showcases really young, brilliant minds in our area."

He added that one thing stuck out to him throughout the 2018 season.

"This year is a little different — a lot of the small schools did really well," he said. "The bigger schools were beat out by small schools."

This also marked radio announcer Dave Lee’s first year of hosting the competition. He told the Press & Dakotan that he’s been enjoying the experience.

"It’s fun to be in," Lee said. "I like talking to the kids. For the first three weeks, it’s only talking to them on the phone. You get to get associated with the teams a little bit, and having them here live is even better."

He added that the job isn’t quite as easy of a job as it may appear.

"I’ve been watching it for probably over 10 (years) and helping to organize, but as a host, there’s a lot to keep track of," he said. "You’ve got to keep track of the questions, are the answers really 100 percent correct and how much correctness will you give a point for, you’ve got to keep track of the score and (Saturday) we had a tournament director. There’s just a lot of stuff that, previous to us, only a couple of people did. Now it’s taken four of us to get this far."

The team representing Hartington-Newcastle ultimately defeated Scotland in the final round 4-3.

Dykstra said he’s impressed with the knowledge the teams showed on Saturday.

"It’s amazing — a lot of the questions these kids answer are stuff that I grew up with and they weren’t even a twinkle in daddy’s eye when some of this stuff happened," he said. "It’s amazing how they can answer those questions. I’m pretty amazed by the students and their level of intelligence with a lot of these questions."