Eighth-graders place second during brain brawl competition debut

A team of eighth-grade students from Independence Middle School participated for the first time in the 13th annual Saint Ignatius High School Brain Brawl academic competition in October. The team was made up of Dylan Volk, Thomas Graham, Sam Carusso, Nick Spencer, Abbey Cottrell, Adriana Randjelovic, Caris Carmean and Penny McGurr.

Students practiced for the Jeopardy-style competition twice a week leading up to the event, answering trivia questions and enjoying some morning doughnuts with their teacher advisor, Ken DeAngelis.

On the day of the tournament, 32 teams competed, with the Independence Middle School team placed in a pool against five other schools. After round robin play, Independence emerged with a 4-1 record, only losing to last year’s champions.

The top eight teams advanced to a single elimination bracket. Independence students won their quarterfinal and semifinal matches to reach the championship finals. They were tied heading into the final round but ultimately finished as runners-up, losing by just four points.

The competition featured trivia rounds on various academic subjects as well as speed rounds. Students were able to substitute players between rounds. All matches were timed.

The IMS Brain Brawl team and advisor were thrilled with their debut performance and look forward to returning and challenging for the title next year. ∞

Photo: IMS Brain Brawl team members pose after taking second place; (l-r) back row: Sam Caruso, Nicholas Spencer, Dylan Volk, Adriana Randjelovic, Thomas Graham, advisor Ken DeAngelis; front row: Abbey Cottrell, Caris Carmean; not pictured: Penny McGurr. Photo submitted.