Team places second in Maryland
Blair's It's Academic team placed ninth out of 794 schools worldwide in the Knowledge Master Open, held in the Blair IMC on Dec. 7. In Maryland, the team placed second behind Richard Montgomery High School. KMO is an international academic competition which tests students' knowledge on topics ranging from science and math to humanities, history and trivia.
Blair's total score was 1723 out of a possible 2000. The winner of KMO was Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia, who received a score of 1845. The first place score in Maryland was 1741, at Richard Montgomery.
Competing schools receive a CD with all 200 questions. The competition is run off of a computer, allowing students to compete from a location within their own school. Though all students are able to shout out answers, the final decision rests with Team Captain senior Jeff Cao, who directs another student, Nathan Blustein, to type in the letter of the correct answer. Each team is given two attempts to answer each question correctly, with points awarded on the basis of speed and number of attempts.
According to team sponsor David Fantegrossi, the Blair team usually places much higher than ninth. "It's probably our worst showing in a couple of years," he said. "I'm not sure if we've ever been out of the top five." Last year, the team placed third and second in the fall and spring competitions, respectively, and also placed second in the fall 2003 competition. Fantegrossi believes that this fall in placement is probably due to "apathy" and lack of interest with regard to the KMO. "We kind of came around to it as an afterthought," he said.
Only three afterschool practices were held to prepare for KMO. For the most part, Fantegrossi was not able to supervise these practices since he was taking a group of students to compete in the Maryland Academic Beltway League, an academic tournament held between Maryland high schools.
The team also had a few gaps in knowledge, which may have resulted in a lower score, Fantegrossi said. "Our real weak spot was math," he commented. The problem with arithmetic questions stemmed mainly from the questions that required quick mental math. The team also had some difficulty with answering literature questions, he said.
Fantegrossi does not doubt that Blair will return to the top three in the world. Before the next KMO, he plans to hold more practices and pull in some more students who will be able to fill the gaps in knowledge.
Blair KMO participants:
Jeff Cao (captain)
William Cody Burton
Lois Bangiolo. Lois Bangiolo was born on March 14, pi day, an auspicious date as she is now in the math-science magnet. In addition to writing for Silver Chips Online she runs track and is secretary of the MBHS Key Club. More »