Record week for Brain Bowl

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When it was all over, Jonas Klare and his three teammates reveled in their success.

Klare, Aleksander Bursac, Irelyn Danz and Ben Ropa captured the 16th annual Brain Bowl at Glacier Creek Middle School on Friday morning.

The Klare team beat another 8th-grade team comprised of Christian Lindblom, Eddie He, Logan Kossel and Chloe Carrigan, 82-64, in an 18-minute final before a packed assembly in the gymnasium.

“This is definitely the best," Klare, an 8th grader and the team captain, said while his mother took photographs. “This is No. 1."

Klare and Danz were on the same team a year ago and made the quarterfinals. All four said they were more nervous in this year’s first match, when they rallied late to win, than they were in Friday’s finals.

“It wasn’t that bad,’’ said Bursac, who didn’t compete in the Brain Bowl last year. “The worst part is waiting to start.’’

Ruth Frawley, the resource teacher for gifted and talented for both middle schools in the district, runs the event. This year there were a record 60 teams and 240 students who participated. Kromrey Middle School also holds a Brain Bowl in the spring.

“It’s a fun event,’’ Frawley said. “I enjoy it. There are so many teams it’s literally wall-to-wall. There’s no break when you have 60 teams.’’

The tournament is a single-elimination, bracketed event that started on Monday. Each opening-round match was 23 minutes, while subsequent rounds were 25 minutes because rules don’t have to be explained again. Students must be in good academic standing to participate and two teachers must approve their participation.

“That’s pretty much the only hurdle they have to go through,’’ Frawley said.

Early rounds were played in a room in the Student Services area. Teams faced each other and each player had a buzzer. There was a big electronic scoreboard at one end. A staff member read the questions at the other end, while another ran the board.

Teams competed for a toss-up question worth three points. Individuals couldn’t talk to one another during the toss-up round. If an individual answered the question incorrectly, the other team had a chance to answer it.

If a team answered the toss-up correctly, they would get a bonus question worth five points. Teams could talk but only the captain could answer. They had 15 seconds to answer math questions and 10 seconds for all other questions. The other team didn’t get a chance to answer.

Frawley said the only significant change she has made to the competition over the years has been that the teams now must be co-ed. She also tries to have teams play against teams from their own grade in the first round.

An eighth-grade team has won the event every year, Frawley said, although numerous seventh-grade teams and one sixth-grade team have made the finals in the past.

This year a sixth-grade team made the quarterfinals, while the Final Four was made up of all eighth-grade teams. Klare’s team had 153 points in its semifinal win, the high score for the week. There have been high scores of more than 200 in past years, Frawley said.

She orders questions and more than 10,000 are used. Once a question is used, Frawley tries to make sure it isn’t used again during that year’s tournament.

Klare’s team didn’t get to enjoy its win for long. They then played a 10-minute match against four teachers – Jaye Barbeau, Teryl Russell, Jeff Wilson and Matt Hayden -- who took a 30-0 lead and ended up winning 52-28.

“It’s nice to have an assembly to showcase academics and give it more attention,’’ Frawley said.