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City students battle for title of Battle of the Books champions

After answering 20 questions about multiple books, Team Shadow Knights, comprised of three middle school girls, won the Battle of the Books District Championship Tuesday morning at Central Middle School.

The Shadow Knights, including seventh-grader Carrie Demarrias and sixth-graders Riley Anders and Leia Blackburn, vied for the title against Team B.O.B., which included three boys  eighth-grader James Long, along with sixth-graders Samuel Clayton and Jordan Baltier.

Thirteen-year-old Demarrias said the most enjoyable part of the entire competition was "reading the fun stories," which she did in her spare time.

"I had to study (the books) a lot," she said. "I just did it after school and homework."

It was a battle of the minds as the students collaborated within their groups to recall the names and authors of quotes from 19 different books. During the contest, about 100 students gathered inside the auditorium to watch their fellow Central Cougars answer questions read over the microphone by proctor Carolin Blackburn, a middle school teacher.

Neither team accumulated points for the first two questions, but by the third question, the teams were tied 2 to 2 after writing down the correct author and book title to the corresponding quote.

"He flexed his hand, watching the scar move with his skin," Blackburn said, reading the quote. "It's strange, you know, having scars and not knowing where they came from."

Teams Shadow Knights and B.O.B. both wrote "This Monstrous Thing" by Mackenzi Lee.

By the fifth question, the Shadow Knights pulled ahead to 4 after Blackburn read, "Here was a man, a man I always saw as the dude who beat cancer twice, the old guy across the street who ran the neighborhood." 

The middle school girls decided on "The Boy in the Black Suit" by Jason Reynolds, which were the correct answers. 

A standstill occurred once more during the sixth question as neither team wrote down the right answers when Blackburn read, "Vi vii vinda aka. We will win"  a quote from Phillip Hoose's "The Boys who Challenged Hitler."

As Battle of the Books continued, Team Shadow Knights accumulated many points and ended on a high note with their answers to the quote "The kid knocked over the vase, and the cat is investigating" from "What If?" by Randall Munroe.

After the teams responded to 20 questions, the contest was over, and Kathleen Long, sixth-grade teacher and chair of Battle of the Books, announced Team Shadow Knights to be the winner, earning 22 points, while the opposing team B.O.B. had 12 points.

"Let's give both teams a round of applause," Long said. "It was a tough task."

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