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Sunnyside's Apple Bowl team finishes second

ELLENSBURG - The Sunnyside High School Apple Bowl team, consisting of Matt Barr, Marco Pellizzari, Laura Aguilar, Sterling Scott and Hannah Vleiger, fell to Riverside Christian High School 215-115 in the finals of the Apple Bowl May 17 at the Central Washington University campus in Ellensburg.

The Sunnyside team advanced to the finals after beating Wapato 200-90 the previous day.

"From the beginning we raced out ahead of them (Wapato) and pretty much coasted in the final round," Dan Thomas, coach of the Sunnyside Apple Bowl team, said.

The win over Wapato sent Sunnyside to the finals for the third time in the last five years. The Sunnyside team won the competition in 2004.

Thomas said his team was asked general knowledge questions about history, science, math and literature.

Thomas said the Sunnyside team hung tight with Riverside Christian in the first round but lost some ground in the lightning round. By the time the teams started the bonus round Sunnyside found that Riverside was just a little bit quicker.

"It's not just knowing the answers, it's knowing them quick enough," Thomas explained.

For the Sunnyside team's efforts, the five players split $500 worth of savings bonds between themselves.

"They were pretty excited," Thomas admitted.

Thomas has coached the team for the last six years, winning one time.

"The kids are pretty smart," Thomas said, modestly adding his part on the team is mostly being a chauffeur.

He's excited to have two team members, Barr and Vleiger, coming back next year.

"It's always a plus when kids have been there before," he said of his returning students. "It motivates them to prepare a little more when they've been there before. I think it's a great reflection of the overall quality of our student body that we always do well in these things."

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