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TELL CITY - Tell City High School's social-studies team tied for third place, and its science team came in sixth, at the Indiana Association of School Principals Academic Super Bowl at Purdue University Saturday.
"We were very pleased," social-studies coach Amy Kehl said Monday. The questions were "very difficult; very few get 20 or above correct," she explained. "We scored 15, and the first- and second-place teams scored 16."
Kehl's team is captained by Molly Richmer and includes Megan Neyenhaus, Jesse Rininger, Jessica Arnold, Jessica Beal, Jacob Malcomson and Hunter Gruebel.
As The News reported April 30, the Marksmen qualified for state-level competition by answering 17 of 25 questions correctly at the regional level. Advancing students are expected to have done more research in preparation for the state-level contest, Kehl explained.
"I think they feel pretty good, pretty proud," Kehl said of her team. They were ranked fourth after the qualifying contest, "and my hope was to not to place lower," their coach said.
It was an exhausting event, she explained, because the team had to leave the city at 4 a.m. to compete nearly seven hours later. The science team had to wait an extra two-and-a-half hours for their contest to start, she noted, but science-team coach Bob Kreilein said that wasn't a problem.
"It gave us a chance to walk around the campus, visit the book store and see a college," he said Tuesday. And as far as the early departure, "kids are used to keeping strange hours," he said.
The science team, whose members include Erika Hauenstein, captain, and Ariel Etienne, A.J. Flynn, Andy Kast and Nick Bower, started the state competition by missing three questions, "so we were in the hole, but came back strong," Kreilein said. They were tied for the lead after 17 questions, but struggled from there, he added. "We weren't as consistent as we would like to have been."
The questions are tough because the contest's purpose is to identify the best of the best, the teacher pointed out.
"Close to 100 schools started out in our class," he said. "We were in the top six, so I'm pretty proud of our kids. They did a great job."
This was the sixth year he's coached Tell City science teams and the fifth they've gone to state. Each year's contests focus on a single theme, with teams in all academic subjects this year fielding questions centered on Norse culture.
"I felt they had to work harder (this year) because the material wasn't taught in class," Kreilein said, explaining questions were based as much on historical as on academic science. Many of the questions would have fit just as well in the social-studies area as in science, he added. The 2010 competitions will focus on the 1960s in America, and "that will help everybody," he predicted. "I feel there will be more interest than in the Vikings."
"Next year we'll step it up," he said. "My goal is to try to win state. I know I have kids with the work ethic to do it."