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The Varsity Mustang Minds team meets with their mediator before the match.

The Varsity Mustang Minds team meets with their mediator before the match.

Madison Vance

Madison Vance

The Varsity Mustang Minds team meets with their mediator before the match.

SDA Academic Team sweeps against Sage Creek

February 6, 2018

Wandering up from the parking lot in their blue plaid flannels, the San Dieguito Academy Mustang Minds teammates greeted one another warmly, entering the Media Center for last week’s Academic League competition, this time against Sage Creek High School.

About a half hour before the match was to start, the team headed towards the Media Center tables and started a Current Events practice round. The Mustangs were quick to respond, often buzzing before club president Klaus Neyer had finished asking the question: “What fiction author–” (buzz) “Ursula Le Guin.” (This famous science fiction author passed away in late January.) With each member giving up their buzzer after getting a couple questions right, the whole team had a chance to brush up on what’s happening in the world.

Before the Sage Creek team arrived, the team piled around a table outside the Media Center to eat some snacks. Junior Blue Flood said that the snacks they bring are an important part of the team’s culture and are something of which they are proud. Conceding that the food this game wasn’t as good as the last match, senior Erin Maxwell said, “We always try to be the team that brings the most food.” The team made small talk, teasing senior Ciro Valdez about his unique tangerine peeling techniques and how the despicable Cool Ranch Doritos are to be left for Sage Creek.

Starting off with a warm welcome by freshman team coach, science teacher Trish Hovey, and a quick introduction of both teams, the freshman game began. SDA Freshman captain Eve Oesterheld snagged the first question, gaining them a lead that they quickly lost. After a few mistakes, the Mustangs had fallen behind seven points. Several minutes after a halftime timeout, the Mustangs were able to tie up the score. The competition stayed tight and with a close last leg, the freshman Mustangs pulled off a 30-29 point victory over Sage Creek.

Next the JV team, constructed of sophomores and juniors, sat down behind the buzzers. Frantically scribbling once the questions started, the team had notably intense facial expressions; confusion, excitement, and disappointment, or some combination thereof, played over their faces and were a source of comedy between audience members. The score remained close as the teams battled for victory. Pulling from off the top of their heads and afternoon study sessions facts about classic literature, historical events, and periodic elements, the competition was a thoroughly impressive spectacle. Even with a disqualification on the last bonus question about countries bordering India, the JV Mustangs still won in a 42-32 point victory.

From the start, SDA Varsity made a striking lead. The Mustangs earned 34 points before Sage Creek made it on the board. During discussion, there was easy laughter over unknown answers, showing the closeness of the team. A timeout was called when the score reached 73-18 and senior Rokas Veitas took over as captain and the rest of the seats were filled with new faces.

A notable moment was when the Mustangs had their response disqualified because a teammate spoke after time was called, explaining how they’d learned about Frankenstein from VeggieTales. Sage Creek remained mostly silent, as they were struggling to buzz in; however, when they correctly responded to a math and then a history question, the audience from both sides readily applauded. With their quick buzzing and quicker minds (and the occasional educated guess), the SDA Mustang Minds varsity team won with 112-25 points.

AVID 3 and AP Language Composition teacher on campus, JV coach Ellen Dicristina said, “I think the game went great. It was a lot of fun seeing lots of different of kids buzzing in.”

“It’s a treat to be a part of it,” Dicristina said. “To be around kids who have just such a genuine love for learning is energizing.”

If you want to catch the next Mustang Minds game, come out to the SDA Media Center this Thursday, Feb. 8, at 6:30 p.m. for the game against Oceanside High School.

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