MOUNT VERNON — Edging out East Elementary by a narrow margin, Wiggin Street Elementary won the 2011 Battle of the Books championship on Thursday evening. Seven teams competed for the title in 11 rounds of questions.
First up were St. Vincent and Columbia Elementary, with each team alternatively being asked 15 questions by school superintendent Steve Short. Team captains could confer with their teammates, then had to answer the question with the correct title and author. In the event of an incorrect response, the other team had the opportunity to “steal” the points. St. Vincent won that round.
East Elementary and Dan Emmett faced off in Round 2, with East the victor, and Twin Oak edged out Pleasant Street in Round 3.
Round 1 winner St. Vincent lost to No. 1 seed Wiggin Street in Round 4, and a three-team lightening round came next.
Three teams, Columbia, Dan Emmett and Pleasant competed against each other in the lightening round, which involved a total of 30 questions. Quick thinking and quick conferring were required, as the first team to hit the buzzer had the first chance to answer the question. Dan Emmett and Pleasant Street tied in the lightening round and went head-to-head in a “sudden ending” round. The teams took turns answering questions until one missed a question; Dan Emmett won by a hair.
Twin Oak and East duked it out in Round 6, which East won, and Dan Emmett, St. Vincent and Twin Oak squared off in the second lightening round, with Twin Oak emerging victorious.
East and Wiggin Street battled it out in Round 8, with Wiggin Street coming out on top. East then squeaked past Twin Oak in Round 9.
In Round 10, East and Wiggin Street vied for the championship, with East winning the first round, forcing a second match. They went at it again, and Wiggin Street came out the winner.
Sarah Powell, Wiggin Street’s team captain, said winning was awesome. The most fun part of preparing for the competition, she said, was getting to eat lunch in the library. Of the 60 books on the Battle of the Books list, “Jip” by Katherine Patterson is her favorite.
“I like historical fiction,” she explained.
Coach Pat Callam said it felt really good to win the championship.
“They changed the format this year,” she said, “so it was hard to tell who was going to win. These kids worked hard, as all the kids on all the teams have. I’m really proud of them.”
Team members include Powell, Ellie Broeren, Sulekh Fernando-Peiris, Kennedy Kohlman, Annika Kanuckel-Wolfe and Amanda Miglin.
Both the East Elementary Battle of the Books team and Wiggin Street’s team members received gift certificates from Paragraphs Bookstore. Wiggin Street’s champion readers also took home “Among the Hidden,” autographed by author Margaret Haddix.
Thursday’s contest was a bittersweet one for coordinator Lori Beach. She is retiring this year, and said she “will miss the energy that comes from working with kids.”