Eastwood capped its perfect season by winning the 2013 elementary quiz bowl tournament Monday.
|Katie Fyfe (left) and Olivia Columber ponder a question during the Wood County Quiz Bowl held Monday night at the Wood County Educational Services Center. (Photos: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
And it sent Jan Fries, coaching her last team, out with a smile.
Eastwood, which got a bye in the first round by ranking first in the league, easily won the second to go against Bowling Green Christian Academy in the championship round. Eastwood led in each of the three rounds, and won the tournament 228-78.
Students answered questions on the solar system, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, geology, U.S. presidents and lots and lots of math.
"This group is amazing," said Fries, ending a 20-year run as coach. "They are the best overall team we've had in years."
Fries retired from teaching at Eastwood in November, and announced this would be the last year she would coach quiz bowl.
Eastwood's top two scorers, David Deniston and Alissa Ray, both had wide grins on their faces after the win.
"Great," said Deniston about the win.
"Rewarding," added Ray. "We worked so hard."
Both sixth-graders, they said their strong point was math; Ray is taking Algebra I this year and Deniston is enrolled in pre-Algebra.
The Eastwood team is heavy on experience this year. Six of the team members are sixth-graders who competed last year, and two are fifth-graders.
Students try out for the team, explained Fries. Perhaps 50 or 60 students take a test, with the top 16 going on to buzzer testing. The eight quickest on the buzzer make the team.
It's a system that has worked for Fries over the years. She guessed Monday she's had at least 12 seasons where her team finished first or second.
This year's theme was Believe It, Achieve It.
"She has this down to a science," said Eastwood co-coach Kari Hildreth. She's told Fries she should write a book about coaching.
"I'm so proud of the kids," Hildreth added "These kids came to us with really brilliant minds."
"We had a great time," said BGCA coach Sue Larimer about her runner-up team. Her six-member team "learned how to play off each other" and best use their strengths through the season.
"It's a real honor," she said about making the championship round.
|Jack Chappuies (left) and David Deniston talk about their answer to a question during the County Quiz Bowl Monday night.
BGCA squeaked into the finals by barely beating Elmwood, 106-102, in the semi-final game.
"You don't like those," Larimer laughed. "They are a little unnerving."
Seven teams entered the competition.
The three quarter-final games were between Otsego, ranked fourth, and Lake, ranked fifth; Bowling Green Christian Academy, ranked third, and Gibsonburg, ranked sixth; and Elmwood, ranked second, and Hilfiker, of Gibsonburg, ranked seventh.
Moving forward to the semi-final rounds were Otsego, who beat Lake 108-84; the academy, who beat Gibsonburg, 142-118; and Elmwood, who beat Hilfiker, 170-68.
BGCA faced off against Elmwood in one semi-final round, eking out a win by one question, 106-104.
In a rematch from last year's tournament, Eastwood defeated Otsego in the other semi-final round, 186-124.
Fritz Wolfram, coach at Otsego, predicted before the game that Eastwood would take it all.
"They're tough. They're very tough," he said.
Otsego won the tournament last year, beating Eastwood by four points on a question about John F. Kennedy.
Eastwood "is probably the best team here," Wolfram said.
Fries laughed that this year, the team knew their presidents.
The Eastwood team also included players Liz Arntson, Noah Hahn, Jack Chappuies, Lewis Rowan and Luke Coffman. Team member Erik Fertig was out sick.
Although this is Fries last year coaching, she doesn't think she'll be able to sit out.
"I'll still want to come" to the tournament, she said.
"I do love the academic competition," she said, adding that she thinks such competition is the best thing for this age group.
She also praised Hildreth, who will take over coaching Eastwood's team.
"Kari has a wonderful rapport with the students and positive energy during practices. She is extremely knowledgeable herself and is perfect for the job," Fries said.