Team hopes to place in top ten in international competition
Blair's It's Academic Team will compete in the worldwide Knowledge Master Open (KMO) today during periods 5A, 5B and 6 in room 247. The team looks to improve from their eleventh place finish out of 774 teams in last spring's KMO and return to the top ten.
KMO is an international competition that is held twice a year in the fall and spring. Each participating school receives a CD with 200 multiple choice questions covering a broad range of topics from mathematics, government and other academic subjects to a category called "useless trivia." On the designated competition day, each participating team is allowed two minutes to answer each question with two opportunities to respond per question. The maximum possible score is 2000, with points awarded based on speed and accuracy.
Blair's It's Academic Team has been competing in the KMO for over ten years, but the team's overall standing fell in last year's competitions from third place in the fall 2004 KMO and second place in the spring 2005 KMO to ninth and eleventh place in fall 2005 and spring 2006 respectively. "It's kind of dropped off," said It's Academic sponsor David Fantegrossi. Captain senior David Gootenberg agreed. "It's been a continuous downward slide for the past two years," he said. With a majority of the team composed of freshmen and sophomores, Gootenberg said that the team is on the "tail end of a rebuilding period." Still, Fantegrossi and Gootenberg are confident that the team can perform better than last year and return to the top ten.
To prepare for the upcoming competition, the team completed questions from past KMO CDs in several afterschool practice sessions. Because KMO questions are multiple choice, Fantegrossi said that there are strategies the team can adapt to answer questions quickly and earn bonus points. "Half of the kids will read the answer choices from the bottom up, and half will read from the top," explained Fantegrossi. "There are little tricks to [the KMO]."
Gootenberg cited positive results from the practice sessions that could hint at a strong finish for Blair. But, the KMO's unique format creates many factors such as fatigue during the lengthy competition and cooperation between team members that could also influence the team's results. "The KMO is such a unique competition because it has unlimited team sizes and multiple choice questions," said Gootenberg.
The team will receive competition results on Thursday, Dec. 7.
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