Matt Butcher of Lacon watched the two teams carefully Friday and suddenly read off his stapled packet.
"In any order, list the three complete cube roots of 8i," he said.
The teams had 30 seconds to calculate the basic components of an imaginary yet definable number. It's a test that many people couldn't handle if given 30 minutes.
The Richwoods Knights buzzed in, answering incorrectly. Their opponents, the Auburn Knights, missed as well. They both left out the option of a positive or negative square root of 3.
The IHSA Scholastic Bowl State Finals were held Friday at the Peoria Civic Center Ballroom, with teams from across the state in both Class A and Class AA competing for the championship. Richwoods competed in AA while Macomb High School battled in A.
"We have two practices a week from September through March," said Richwoods head coach Dan Moore. "We worked hard."
Biweekly practices, however, weren't enough to beat some stiff competition. After several impressive wins in the regional and sectional tournaments, the Knights lost all three of their state matches, failing to qualify for the championship or consolation matches.
"We did not come close," Moore said. "We played some good teams and got beat."
Richwoods fell to St. Ignatius College Prep School of Chicago 449-133, lost its second match to Carbondale High School 458-145 and the third match to Auburn High School in Rockford 476-160.
Macomb High School did better, winning its first three matches handily and landing in the Class A championship against Lisle Senior High. After a close first half, Macomb fell behind in the second, eventually falling 352-268, finishing second in the state.
Despite not doing as well as expected, Moore is thinking about how the team could do next year and what to prepare for.
"We have a couple of players graduating, so we're losing seven seniors, so we'll have a pretty new team," he said. "I did notice a lot of modern literature and a lot of Greek history questions this year. That's something to get ready for."
Jackson Adams can be reached at 686-3196 or firstname.lastname@example.org.