MHS Academic Team Wrap Up

MHS Academic Team Wrap Up
Posted on 06/23/2022

MHS Academic Team Cracks the Top 50 in the Nation
By Dale Schenewerk

          In a season in which Quiz Bowl returned to normal competitions, the Mexico High School Academic team's season was anything but normal.  It had already been a successful season, highlighted by winning their home tournament, the sixth annual Bulldog Regional Interscholastic Competition, and taking 2nd in the Fair Grove Invitational along with winning 2nd in both the NCMC Conference Tournament and the District Tournament, but the season culminated by taking 48th at the 2022 Pace National Scholastic Competition in Chicago, IL.
          In a field that featured 72 of the nation's best high school quiz bowl teams, Mexico went 
3 - 13 to stake their claim of 47th, which puts them in the top 50 teams in the nation.  Mexico fielded a young roster:  Camden Williams (Freshman), Jamison Jeffries (Junior), Sydney Moeller (Senior), Declan Gleeson (Junior), Carter Blackburn (Freshman) and Lucy Gleeson (Freshman).  This is the first time Mexico has played in a national tournament.

          After what was a wild and crazy late night of train travel Friday, the team took to the competition on little sleep.  But, they were wide awake as they came out of Game 1 victorious (350 - 180) over Chattahoochee B from Georgia.  This marked Mexico High School's first win (in its first game) at a national tournament.  Camden Williams and Sydney Moeller led the way with 70 points each in the game, and Jamison and Declan both scored 20 and 10 points respectively.
          The next couple of games featured some tough losses, but Mexico held a lead in each game.  Game 2 saw a 40-point lead at the half disappear, ultimately losing to Thomas Jefferson B from Virginia by a score of 340 - 220.  Game 3 was a 330 - 220 loss to Hinsdale Central from Illinois.  Carter Blackburn scored 10 points in his tournament debut.  Mexico got a glimpse of the best of the best in Game 4 as they took on Kinkaid from Texas.  Kinkaid won 520 - 80 en route to a top 5 finish in the tournament.  Camden and Jamison both scored 20 points in that game.  In the final game of the morning session, Mexico returned to the win column, defeating Canyon Crest from California by a score of 330 - 250.  Camden led the way with 110 points, while Jamison, Declan and Camden all "powered" (answered a question really early).
          In the afternoon round, Mexico found themselves playing tough competition, as they finished in the top half of their morning pool.  The short night took its toll as Mexico went 0 - 5 in the final 5 games on Saturday.  Game 6 saw a 440 - 60 loss to Southside A from South Carolina.  Game 7 was decided on the final question, but Winston Churchill B (from Maryland) came up victorious 340 - 310.  Camden had a great game, putting up 100 points.  Game 8 went to Thomas Jefferson C by a score of 460 - 140 and Game 9 saw a loss to Manheim Township from Pennsylvania by a score of 380 - 180.  Camden and Sydney both scored 30 points in Game 9.  The final game on Saturday, Game 10 saw a tremendous effort by Camden (100 points), but Mexico came up short to Wayzata A from Minnesota by a score of 410 - 190.  Despite the 2 - 8 record, Mexico's good performance in the morning rounds guaranteed them a spot in the top 50.
After a team dinner at Giordano's Pizza, Mexico was ready for Sunday's placement games.  Game 11 saw a strong game by Rockford Auburn B (Illinois) as they were victorious 400 - 80.  In game 12, Mexico came up short against Choate Rosemary Hall A from Connecticut despite a strong second half, losing 430 - 170.  The final four games were all nail biters.  Despite being down 110 points at the half in game 13, Mexico made a strong finish to pull closer to Chattahoochee B in rematch of the 1st game.  But this time Chattahoochee B came up victorious 280 - 190.  Game 14 came down to the final question, but yet again Mexico came up just short, dropping the game to Thomas Jefferson D by a score of 280 - 260.  Sydney Moeller and Camden Williams both scored 50 points in Game 14.  Game 15 was close throughout, but Johns Creek B from Georgia came up on top 260 - 180.
In what would be the final game in this historic season for Mexico High School, the team rallied to finish strong, defeating Dunbar from Kentucky on the final question.  Mexico won 
220 - 210.  Jamison Jeffries came through in the clutch with the game winning tossup.  Camden Williams, widely seen as a rising star in the Missouri Quiz Bowl scene, set a PACE freshman record by scoring 900 points.  Sydney Moeller scored 260 points, Jamison Jeffries got on the board with 120, Declan Gleeson scored 50 and Carter Blackburn scored 30.

          In the end, the tournament served as a great barometer to the Mexico High School Academic Team's success.  Only 6 Missouri teams played in the tournament, Mexico was the 4th ranked Missouri team in the tournament, despite fielding a team with 3 freshmen.  The team learned a lot through this experience and has already set its eyes on a return next year.
Many thanks are owed to the tremendous support from Mexico High School, the Mexico community and a special thank you is owed to the Griffin Family Foundation for their generous $1500 grant that paid for the hotel rooms and travel for the weekend.  The team was proud to represent Mexico well and looks forward to further cementing Mexico, MO in the national quiz bowl scene.