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2006 Indiana State Championship
(22 April 2006)

Harrison Outdistances the Field

Lafayette Harrison continued to add to their growing dominance of Indiana quiz bowl with a perfect performance at the State Tournament on Saturday, April 22nd. Harrison was the only team to finish perfect in the morning rounds, then pulled away in the afternoon to claim their third state championship and second in a row.

Harrison took the early lead by scoring 350 points in their first game. Meanwhile, the two South Bend teams, Washington and St. Joseph's, posted wins, as did last year's state runnerup, Hamilton Southeastern. The nailbiter was Culver Academies winning by only ten points over Duneland champion Andrean.

In Round 2, Andrean bounced back against Washington, while among the leaders, Harrison and St. Joseph's won. Then, in Round 3, the two undefeateds faced each other; Harrison turned around a 65-point deficit into a 25-point surplus by sweeping their "Math" sixty-second round and never looked back. With eight of the ten participating teams advancing to the playoffs, Crown Point was eliminated by Penn, and Michigan City missed the playoffs as the bottom team with a 1-2 record.

The quarterfinals saw two rematches, but neither Culver Academies nor Hamilton Southeastern could reverse their morning setbacks, losing to the #1 and #2 seeds Harrison and Washington. In the other quarterfinals, St. Joseph's had to mount a severe comeback to oust Penn, and North Central eked out a 30-point win over Andrean.

As befitting a true state championship, both semifinals were extremely closely contested. Washington snapped a 270-270 tie with St. Joseph's on the very last question to punch their ticket into the final, while North Central kept sticking around with Harrison until they lost by an identical 20-point margin. In the final, Washington, only attending state for the second year ever, fell too far behind Harrison, allowing the Raiders to inch ever closer to Andrean's record of four state championships. But the Panthers did make a name for themselves and, with some young stars, look like a team to be reckoned with in the future.

Some historical notes: The State Championship has now been around for ten years, and the teams keep improving. Since fewer teams were able to attend this year, the competition in the preliminary rounds was especially brutal. Culver Academies, host of the upcoming Midwest Championship (May 13th), had to renew their war with Harrison in Round 2; the two had played to a virtual draw just a month earlier in the NAQT Qualifier, won by Culver that day. Although Washington (at the time 1-0) seemed to be fortunate to be "paired down" against Andrean (at the time 0-1), the 59ers pulled the upset. And perhaps the toughest match was Penn versus Crown Point, decided by only 5 points, with the two teams knowing full well that the losing team wouldn't get to make the playoffs.