Despite COVID-19 protocols McWilliams finds success with Scholar Bowl


Courtesy Mr. Josh Malecki

MORE HARDWARE. Senior Aiden McWilliams poses with he All-District medal. In addition to this honor, he was also an All Conference Scholar Bowl player.

Story by Sarah Short, Reporter

Senior Aidan McWilliams clicks on the zoom link and enters the meeting. Already there are a few of his teammates and a few students from the opposing team. As the match is starting to begin, a student from the opposing team suddenly exits the meeting. Joining back on, he apologizes, his internet was buffering and everyone had froze. The students laugh and agree how tough these matches are since Covid. 

Fort Osage’s Scholar Bowl team consists of 10 members. One of those members is McWilliams. He has been on the team since 7th grade. In the six years he has been on the team, McWilliams has made Fort Osage history. He has become an All-Conference overall leading scorer and the first Fort student to get All-Conference and All-District in the same year, since 2018.

“The thing about conference and district scholar bowl is that it is so drastically different from the scholar bowl that we play all year round that it’s almost not even the same game,” McWilliams said in an email. “Imagine playing normal basketball all year, and then showing up to conference and district, and it’s a Mini Hoop dunking contest. The things that matter more to me are the multiple top 10 individual performances out of over 100 players at normal scholar bowl tournaments. It carries way more prestige and requires much more effort to attain.” 

McWilliams was averaging 350 points every tournament and broke 2,000 points in the season. During Districts, McWilliams was the overall 4th leading scorer with 30 points per game. He made the All-Tournament teams at the Patriot and Lakeland Tournaments and was named to two All-Tournament teams at Parkway South and Lakeland. McWilliams has guided his team to compete virtually on June 5 and June 6 in the Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence National Scholastic Championship (PACE NSC). McWilliams showed leadership skills that impressed the Scholar Bowl coach.

“He was an easy choice for Scholar Bowl Player of the Year for the 2020-21 season,” Mr. Joshua Malecki said in an email.

Before Covid, 18-20 members resided in the club. Now, students must compete on their Chromebook and compete through Zoom, Google Meet, or using an app called BuzzIn Live. Despite this, McWilliams managed to have the most impressive individual season as a Fort Osage Scholar Bowl member. The members gathered together three times a week to practice and ensure every student understood how each round would play out. Being the captain, Aidan helped his fellow teammates.

“He has been a big part of the team since my freshman year and really pushed all of us to study and get better,” junior Daniel Guy said in an email. 

To those unfamiliar with the activity, All-Conference and All-District sound like hard objectives to achieve. 

There’s lots of stuff that can come up, and so more often than not people pick a specialty and stick to it,” McWilliams said in an email. “So they will study their chosen subject.”

After the match ends, the players exchange words or encouragement. Aidan closes his laptop and smiles. He is happy to have met and conversed with the opposing members.