At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, over 100 Class 3 scholar bowl teams set their goal of winning one of the four trophies awarded at the state tournament. At the conclusion of the season, the Cuba High School scholar bowl team owned one of those trophies, placing fourth at the state tournament, held on May 5 in Columbia on the MU campus. It was the second consecutive fourth place finish for CHS.
The team earned the right to compete at the state tournament after winning their sectional tournament against Salem on April 24. At the sectional tournament, Salem won the first game in the best of three match by a score of 360 – 370. In the second game, Cuba was behind Salem 180 – 190 at the end of the third quarter, but in the fourth and final quarter of the game, the Cuba team answered the first six toss-up questions in the final quarter and six of the available bonus questions to take a 300 – 220 lead on their way to a 320 – 270 victory. Senior Max Ryle answered three of those six toss-ups, Taylor Rives two, and junior Trenton Reeves the other one. In the final game, to determine which team would earn a berth at the state tournament, Max dominated by answering 22 of the available 50 toss-ups. Trenton added two toss-ups and Taylor one, and the team won 400 – 300.
At the state tournament on May 5, the team won its first game against Springfield Catholic 370 – 220. The next game, against Priory of St. Louis, did not go as well. Priory stormed out to a 20 – 110 advantage at the end of the first quarter and held that lead, defeating CHS by a final score of 260 – 480. The last game of the qualifying round was against Savannah, last year’s state champion. Cuba fell behind early and eventually fell by score of 280 – 390.
A win-loss record of 1 – 2 in the morning rounds usually eliminates a team from the championship afternoon rounds, but not this time. Hallsville and Priory completed the morning rounds with 3 – 0 records, and Savannah was 2 – 1. Four teams, including Cuba, Nevada, Barstow, and Ste. Genevieve, finished the morning rounds 1 – 2, with Springfield Catholic at 0 – 3. By virtue of scoring more points than the other 1 – 2 teams, Cuba won the final number four seed and advanced into the championship round.
In their semifinal game, Cuba fell to number one seed Hallsville, losing 110 – 540, and then faced Savannah in the third-place game. The team lost again to Savannah, this time by a score of 230 – 380. Hallsville won the state championship, defeating Priory 390 – 340.
Max finished the tournament with 68 toss-up answers, which earned him All-State honors for the second consecutive year. His was the third-highest score in the tournament. He was also named an All-Star, an award that goes to the top four players in the state tournament. Trenton finished with six correct toss-ups, Taylor with five, and junior Brandy Storie with three.
The fourth place trophy was the school’s sixth state trophy in scholar bowl competition. The teams from 1995 – 1998 finished first each of those years, and the 2017 team finished fourth.