Morrison's Scholastic Bowl team and Masons from local lodges at the awards ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Prophetstown HS. Photo provided by Jim Hardesty.

Morrison Takes the Prize at Masonic Academic Bowl Sectionals


Morrison High School’s Scholastic Bowl team placed first at the 40th annual Masonic Sectional Tournament hosted by the PLT 6-12 Campus on Saturday, February 17. Ashton-Franklin Center finished second, followed by Fulton in third and Erie-Prophetstown in fourth at the Class 1A Sectional.
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Morrison’s team will advance to the Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl’s State Tournament at Bloomington High School on Saturday, March 2.

Morrison won each of its seven matches, defeating Ashton-Franklin Center (250-210); Polo (290-90); Milledgeville (310-80); Erie-Prophetstown (210-200, in a quadruple overtime match); Fulton (210-180); Eastland (250-120); and Amboy (240-80).

Morrison’s team consisted of Nara Hardesty, Caden Bielema, Violet Mills, Quinn Blevins, and Blaine Williams. The team’s participation in the Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl was underwritten by Dunlap Lodge #321 in downtown Morrison. In addition to team members’ parents and relatives in attendance, the Lodge’s leader, Mr. Mike Ottens, was present to cheer on the team and celebrate the win on Saturday.

“I would like to thank all of the parents and relatives who turned out on Feb. 17 to support Morrison’s team,” said Coach Brian Bartoz. “I’d also like to recognize Dunlap Lodge #321 in Morrison for paying the team’s $150 entry fee to compete in the Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl and for offering its encouragement each year. Tournament Director Herman Albers, members of Masonic Lodges across Illinois, and Coach Emily Higgins and Coach Dana Murphy at Prophetstown High School invested a great deal of time and effort to ensure a successful competition on Saturday, as did coaches who hosted the tournament at sites across Illinois.”

For the 2023-24 season, Morrison has an 8-2 record among the 12 teams participating in Scholastic Bowl in the Three Rivers Conference and a 39-14 overall record as of Feb. 17. “I’m very pleased with the team’s performance this season,” Bartoz said.

The Mustangs will play Kewanee High School on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. to finish the Three Rivers Conference season. In addition, Morrison will host an IHSA Regional competition on Monday, March 4.

Since 1983, the Grand Lodge of Illinois Masons has annually sponsored the Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl. It has become one of the largest tournaments of its kind in the state. Prophetstown Lodge #293 and Erie Lodge #667 pay the entry fee for the Panthers to compete.

Morrison’s team consisted of Nara Hardesty, Caden Bielema, Violet Mills, Quinn Blevins, and Blaine Williams.

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