Winners emerge from Battle of the Books
Posted on: Feb 8, 2018
After the dust settled, a pair of teams emerged with gold medals from both the third grade and fourth grade Battle of the Books competitions on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
The third-grade team of Blake Merritt, Alexis Zens and Harry Stenback claimed first prize after three days of competition, and in fourth grade the winning team members were Addison Kirchmann, Kaia Georges and Allison Moen.
Battle of the Books began with preliminary rounds on Monday, continued with semifinals on Tuesday and concluded with the finals on Wednesday. About 25 third-grade teams and 20 fourth-grade teams read 14 books over a two-month period beforehand. The objective was to get students excited about reading and to introduce some genres students might not otherwise choose on their own.
Merritt, Zens and Stenback went about preparing for their victory in a systematic manner, with Zens creating Google Docs and each team member filling in plot summaries, as well as names of characters and authors for study purposes.
“Alexis set it up and we wrote down the information for the books we were assigned and memorized it,” said Stenback.
Merritt and Zens read all the books, including the ones they were not specifically assigned, and said they weren’t nervous ahead of the finals, which included the last three teams out of the original 25.
“We were confident,” said Zens.
Stenback, on the other hand, said the suspense was his favorite part of the Battle of the Books competition.
“I could barely sleep last night,” he said.
All three said their favorite book was “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles,” by Julie Andrews.
“It had imagination and creativity,” said Stenback.
“And it was really funny,” said Zens.
What did they enjoy most about the competition overall?
“Just reading the books in general,” said Merritt. “And winning.”
The second-place team was made up of Madison Ring, Anna Lamecker and Charlotte Nelson. Taking third place were Jackson Althoff, Carson Snow and Ben Teal.
Shortly after claiming their gold medals, Kirchmann, Georges and Moen were still reveling in their victory.
“I feel exultant right now,” said Georges.
“I feel a shot of triumph,” added Moen.
“I’m actually quite surprised,” said Kirchmann. “I’m speechless right now.”
The trio had just edged out two other teams in the finals. The second-place team consisted of Isaiah Depa, Wyatt Stenback and Jaimon Kittok, and the third-place squad consisted of Eddie Binsfeld, Garrett Pennala and Luke Logan.
Although they were very nervous before the finals, the winners had two primary factors working in their favor – a lot of preparation and lucky matching hair bows that they wore to each competition.
“These bows are magic,” said Kirchmann.
As for preparation, Georges read each book twice, Moen read all the books once, and Kirchmann focused on a half dozen stories.
Like the third-grade winners, all three said their favorite book was “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles,” by Julie Andrews. They also said they looked forward to participating in the Battle of the Books competition in the years ahead as the same team.
“We’ve been friends since preschool and kindergarten,” said Georges.