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2009 Indiana State Championship
(14 March 2009)

A First-Time Champ

After the previous eleven state championships were split among four teams, a new kid on the block horned in on the action. Culver Academies took the top prize in only its fifth year of playing quiz bowl. A one-two scoring punch of Eric Faust and Kirsten Paff were the main weapons. Congratulations to the Coach Phil Blessman's Eagles for flying high!

In the first round, perennial power St. Joseph's and last year's champ Center Grove were fastest out of the gate with over 400 points. Zionsville, Adams, Culver, Harrison, New Palestine, and Penn also won big. The other two games were close, with Broad Ripple prevailing over Andrean, Brownsburg getting by Clay, and Michigan City eking out a controversial win over Lawrence North.

As winners began to pair off in Round 2, there were some terrific skirmishes. St. Joe again had the high game in avenging their Dogfight loss to Brownsburg. Two of the games featured what would be eventual quarterfinalists. At the other end, teams were trying to bounce back: Fishers rebounded from its loss to Penn; Andrean shook off its narrow Round 1 loss to win narrowly against Center Grove; and North White, the smallest school present and playing in its first state championship, notched a win against LaPorte.

In Round 3 highlights, St. Joe held off Penn in a rematch of the St. Joseph Valley League finals. Michigan City scored more points in falling to Adams than in either of their first two wins. New Palestine had just enough gas to beat Mishawaka Marian. Lawrence North, who had lost closely in its two previous games, won a close one.

For the first time, every team got to play a fourth preliminary game, and the drama was high with playoff spots on the line. Three undefeated teams were guaranteed spots (St. Joe, Adams, and Culver); St. Joe beat Adams in the head-to-head matchup to secure the #1 seed for the playoffs. Culver was paired down against a 2-1 team, and they nearly dashed Zionsville's playoff hopes by tagging them with a second loss, but Zionsville had average enough points to make it in as the last team. The team that missed was four-time state champ and host Harrison, who lost to Fishers, and the Raiders only barely missed by averaging 6 points per game lower than Zionsville. New Palestine eliminated Broad Ripple, and Penn did likewise to Michigan City. Finally, in a rematch of Round 2, Center Grove reversed the loss to gain a spot. Marian, Brownsburg, Lawrence North, and Noblesville all won to finish 2-2, but with too few points to advance to the afternoon.

After lunch, the playoffs began in earnest. The top two schools, St. Joseph's and Culver, stayed on track by disposing of Zionsville and Fishers, respectively. New Palestine made it to the state semifinals for the second consecutive year by ending Center Grove's bid to repeat. This left Penn as the only former champ still alive in the draw when they outlasted Adams.

Surprisingly, the two semifinals ending historically and almost identically, with all four teams scoring over 300 points. But it was the two undefeated teams who made it through to the finals: St. Joseph's dispatched New Palestine 350-305, and Culver beat Penn, 355-305.

In a final reminiscent of the 2002 title game between Andrean and St. Joseph's, Culver snagged a huge early lead in the bonus round, only to see it nearly evaporate in the last round as St. Joe's huge comeback ran out of questions. St. Joseph's now holds the record for most lifetime wins at state (41) but, unfortunately, has not yet punched through to the winner's circle (0-4 in title games).