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Local students take third in History Bowl

West Fargo High seniors Brendan Walker, left, and Lance Wilson concentrate on a question Saturday during the History Bowl at Fargo North High School. David Samson

Fargo North High School hosted its third annual regional History Bowl and History Bee on Saturday morning, which is one of almost 100 events throughout the country put on by the National History Bee and Bowl.

Among the 13 students participating in the event were four West Fargo seniors: Brandon Duenow, Brendan Walker, Lance Wilson and Eric Thibert, who made up one of the four teams (one from Fargo North and two from Fargo South) participating in the event. The four finished in third place at the event, averaging 228 points in the five rounds they played.

“The focus is history, of course, but that is kind of broad,” West Fargo co-coach Sean Bourke said. “There are some sports questions, some geography questions and things like that. Anything that pertains to the past is fair game.”

The History Bowl is a team-based trivia competition that sees teams presented with a variety of history related questions, most of them based around the national standard course work for high school students.

“It is a great way to reinforce learning in the students’ history class,” National History Bowl executive director David Madden said. “It is a bit like being on a game show, but they are presented very multi-layered questions. Most of the questions are in paragraph form, so students have to think it through. It’s not just instant recall. I think it’s a really great way to explore different topics in history.”

The History Bee is a trivia competition in the style of “Jeopardy” that pits each individual student against each other. Students are given a buzzer, and the fastest hands get the chance to answer questions first.

Thibert, Walker and Duenow finished the History Bee in fourth, fifth and sixth place, respectively.

“It gives them a nice, low-stress environment to see how they stack up against their counterparts from other schools,” Bourke said. “These are all pretty good kids who seem to enjoy school, and now they get a chance to apply the knowledge that they learn in the classroom.”

The National History Bee and Bowl, based in New Jersey and founded in 2010, assembles qualifying trivia tournaments for high school students across the United States, and have even expanded to international cities like Paris and Shanghai. Winning teams can move on to national tournaments in Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Va., in April.

More information on the event can be found at