Middletown academic team travels to Baltimore

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For the typical Middletown High School student, a Saturday afternoon would consist of hanging out with friends, playing video games, or even sleeping. But for MHS students Kundan Chintamaneni, Isaac Hoehn, Avilash Das and the rest of the Middletown Academic team, there was business to attend to.

On Saturday Feb. 1, the Academic team made a one hour car trip to Baltimore’s WJZ-13 TV studio to compete in the stations popular quiz show “It’s Academic,” which the longest-running television quiz show in the world, going on its 51st season. “It’s Academic” features the brightest high school scholars in the area competing against each other for recognition and bragging rights.

The preparation for the Academic team started early. At noon on Saturday, the team met in the MHS parking lot to discuss the upcoming competition and strategy.

“We hold practices every week, and prepare with a county competition.” Said MHS junior Kundan Chintamaneni.

Chinamaneni, Hoehn, and Das, the only three students participating in the competition could hardly wait. After talks of possible quiz categories, and a quick run through of what they should know, the team departed MHS for Baltimore.

Even the long drive couldn’t break the Academic team’s focus. As soon as they arrived at the television station it was business as usual, returning to their conversation about the upcoming competition. After a 30 minute delay, the team was ready to go, taking their seat next to James M. Bennett High School from Salisbury.

“You can kind of get nervous up there,” said Chintamaneni, “But it goes by so quickly that you can’t control it. And you know your teammates are there to help you, and they have your back.”

In the first round, James M. Bennett took an early lead and maintained it through the third round. Middletown surged back and took the lead in the fourth, answering questions ranging from mathematics to geography. But in the end, it was James M. Bennett who pulled out the win in the fifth and final round.

“It was tough,” Chintamaneni said after the lights had gone off and the cameras had stopped rolling. “It was a lot harder than we thought. There were some questions that none of us knew.”

But despite the tough loss, Chintamaneni remains optimistic for next year.

“Two of our three members are returning next year, so we’ll definitely be coming back looking for first.”