May 25, 1980
Marsh Nelson hosts the High Quiz Bowl final between Duluth East and Duluth Cathedral in May 1980. (bob King / News-Tribune)
Competition in academics enjoys a local resurgence
By Cynthia Hill of the News-Tribune staff
A little youthful mischievousness added to the drama of Thursday’s finals of the high Quiz Bowl, which pitted Duluth’s East High School against Cathedral High.
The Quiz Bowl, a revival of the contests popular in the 1960s, was sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Superior, whose communications arts students produced the program under the direction of senior James Junker Jr.
East and Cathedral had survived four previous matches to become finalists among the 27 high school sin northern Wisconsin and Minnesota which participated in the Quiz Bowl, started last fall.
Under the bright lights and gaze of the television cameras in the Kathryn Ohman Theatre Thursday, where the finals were taped to be televised Saturday, the two teams of four boys each took their seats as fans in the audience applauded.
To the side stood East coach (and principal) Nick Srdar and Cathedral coach Sharon Hyrkas, a math teacher.
TV sportscaster Marsh Nelson, master of ceremonies, attired in a buff-colored suit, got the show rolling – reading the cue cards flawlessly.
The finals of the High Quiz Bowl were taped to be shown on TV. (Bob King / News-Tribune)
After the Cathedral team members – seniors Joe Semrad, David Somppi, Tom Burke and junior Peter Houle – introduced themselves, it was East’s turn.
Senior Todd Armstrong looked straight into the camera and introduced himself as Todd Srdar and informed the audience that "I don’t have any pants on."
Similarly, senior Andy Olson changed his name to Srdar and also said he was pantless.
Seniors John Livingston and Jeff Freeman introduced themselves also as Srdar offspring to the cheers and laughter of East High School students in the audience.
Coach Srdar remained composed but pale throughout.
The joke was over, though, when the competition began.
The contestants were asked questions from the fields of literature, history and science and the first team to answer correctly had the chance for other questions and bonus points.
Question: What is a tetragram?
Both teams took a try, but neither got the right answer: it’s a four-letter word.
Question: To what organization did H. Rapp Brown and Stokely Carmichael belong?
East guessed the Black Panthers, then Cathedral correctly said the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.
Though East got off to a fast start, Cathedral quickly caught up and at the half, the teams were tied.
But Cathedral dominated the second half and won by a substantial margin.
The University of Wisconsin-Superior Foundation awarded each team scholarship money for their participation.
The winners of the city spell-down are, from left, Cathy Lasky, Jodi Trotta, Damien Lindquist and Paul Loraas. (Jack Rendulich / News-Tribune)
Tacked on the end of the article above were the results of the city-wide spelling bee for students in grades three through six. Winners at each grade level – and their winning words – were:
Third grade – Jodi Trotta, Kenwood School, "quarrel"
Fourth grade – Damien Lindquist, St. Jean’s School, "detective"
Fifth grade – Paul Loraas, Holy Rosary School, "interrupt"
Sixth grade – Cathy Lasky, Homecroft School, "outweigh"