Six teams from four Connecticut schools competed at NAQT’s Middle School National Championship Tournament (MSNCT) last weekend. During the preliminary rounds, Greens Farms Academy (Westport) went 7-1, Middlesex A (Darien) went 6-2, Middlesex B went 6-2, and Western (Greenwich) went 5-3 to qualify for the playoffs. Middlebrook (Wilton) went 4-4 to place 84th and Middlesex C went 3-5 to place 132nd out of the 192 teams.
Western lost their first match of the double-elimination playoff to Daniel Wright (IL), but then defeated Johnson County (KY), Challenger-Strawberry Park (CA), and Pleasanton Scholars before losing to Stratford-Sunnyvale (CA) to tie for 21st. Middlesex A and Middlesex B both entered the lunch break in the top 13, with Middlesex A having lost to Renfroe (GA) 375-380 and Middlesex B losing soundly to Pi-oneers (CA), 120-505. Both teams racked up four wins in that span as well. In round 20, Middlesex B lost to Longfellow A (VA) 310-525 to place tied for 8th while Middlesex A defeated Greenhill A (TX) 410-345. It was then Middlesex A’s turn to be eliminated by longtime rival Longfellow (A) 330-335 to tie for 5th, meaning their two losses of the day came by a total of ten points.
Greens Farms, led by Karsten Rynearson, the tournament’s second-best individual scorer, took advantage of a double-bye and stormed through their first four matches to reach the winner’s bracket final. They were unable to hold onto a hundred-point lead late in the match, though, and Pi-oneers, their opponent, stormed back to win 365-350 and clinch a spot in the overall final. Perhaps feeling the after-effects of that match, Greens Farms was then eliminated by BASIS Silicon Valley (CA), 310-540, to also finish tied for 5th. Pi-oneers, a solo team, concluded an extremely impressive tournament performance by defeating BASIS Silicon Valley in the first game of an advantaged final to claim the title.
In other Connecticut news, Lukas Koutsoukos of Middlebrook was the 7th leading scorer for the tournament and Brandon Yu of Western was 12th, earning both of them and Karsten all-star awards.
We hope all 8th graders will carry their successful quiz bowl careers into high school, and we wish all returning players best of luck at next year’s middle school tournaments.
Addendum: Greens Farms’ match against Pi-oneers and Middlesex A’s match against Longfellow A are both available for viewing on Youtube.