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Mitchell Christian crowned again at DWU academic festival

Mitchell Christian students Jessica Karhoff, left, and Emily Schrag, right, high-five after getting a correct answer Wednesday during the team competition portion of the Custer Battlefield Highway Academic Festival at the Sherman Center on the Dakota Wesleyan University campus. Also pictured is teammate Levi Knight. (Sean Ryan/Republic)

Mitchell Christian senior Aaron Lemon says his strongest subject is science, particularly chemistry and physics.

But he showed he's pretty good at grammar, too.

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Like many students from nine local schools at the Custer Battlefield Highway Conference Academic Festival Wednesday, Lemon showed his academic prowess across the board. He helped Mitchell Christian capture the title at the annual event, held at the Sherman Center on the Dakota Wesleyan Campus.

"I think this is a way for kids who aren't in sports or band to show what they're good at," Lemon said. "There's some people here who aren't as good at some of those other things, so this is a great chance for those students to show that they're making contributions at their schools."

The event includes written tests in 18 categories, ranging from literature, American Government and biology. Then, there's a quiz bowl format where students have 30 seconds to answer questions.

"Which two revolutions did Thomas Paine participate in?" was one question Wednesday.

Another was, "What does the acronym 'LIFO' mean in business regarding inventory?"

Lemon, a senior, will be attending Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, to study athletic training says the academic festival is a good way for all sorts of students to show their skills.

Lemon finished in first place in the Grammar IV event, which is among the most challenging of the 18 written test categories part of the festival.

His teammate, sophomore Casey Zoss, said he "surprised himself" with a second-place finish in the Grammar II category. He also had a second-place finish and two third-place finishes in the written test portion.

"This is a way to show themselves that they can do this and they can get themselves ready for college," said Lemon, who also had two third-place finishes in written test categories.

Mitchell Christian's championship effort was not without a thorough challenge from Stickney, which won the quiz bowl round by a wide margin. But the quiz bowl has the same weight value as one written test, where Mitchell Christian had built a large lead earlier in the day and it proved to be enough to take back the winning honors.

The two schools have engaged in a quality battle for top honors in the last few years, with Mitchell Christian having a long history of success in the annual event. The school won six straight CBH Festival titles from 2003 to 2008 and then again in 2010 and 2011.

Stickney edged Mitchell Christian for first place at the 2013 festival.

Mount Vernon finished in third place this year, followed by Plankinton and Sanborn Central to round out the overall top five. Corsica finished second in the quiz bowl session, followed by Mount Vernon, Sanborn Central and Plankinton.

"We knew they were going to have a great quiz bowl team," Mitchell Christian School team advisor Kim Karhoff said of Stickney. "They are always really good."

Mitchell Christian had five written test winners on the day. Each school can enter two students per category and four students from each school contribute to the quiz bowl team.

DWU's Mike Catalano, who is a professor of mathematics and hosted the event since 1993, said the event is particularly fun because he sees many of the same students in the festival year after year and that students get better in their subjects.

"You recognize the same names," he said. "You see them as freshmen and then as sophomores and a lot of times, if the students are good in one subject, they're good in a lot of different subjects."

DWU supplies the testing equipment and does the scoring, while the conference decides on the subjects and the time limits.

"It's fun to have a competitive event in the academic area," Catalano said. "I applaud the conference for doing this because I don't know that this is an opportunity in every conference."

Custer Battlefield Highway Conference Academic Festival

Overall Finish:

1. Mitchell Christian, 2. Stickney, 3. Mount Vernon, 4. Plankinton, 5. Sanborn Central, 6. White Lake, 7. Kimball, 8. Corsica, 9. Ethan.

Quiz bowl round:

1. Stickney, 2. Corsica, 3. Mount Vernon, 4. Sanborn Central, 5. Plankinton, 6. Mitchell Christian, 7. Kimball, 8. Ethan, 9. White Lake.

Written test results:

Accounting I: 1. Jamie Van Zee (Corsica), 2. Deric Denning (Mount Vernon), 3. Phillip Millar (Mount Vernon), 4. Jace Connor (Ethan), 5. William Doering (White Lake), 6. Matthew Koch (Stickney).

Algebra II: 1. Blake Kroupa (Kimball), 2. Jesse Kirsch (White Lake), 3. Casey Zoss (Mitchell Christian), 4. Joe Johnson (Mount Vernon), 5. Paige Munsen (White Lake), 6. Riley Shields (Mitchell Christian).

Biology: 1. Megan Bultsma (Plankinton), 2. Dillon Moore (Sanborn Central), 3. Casey Zoss (Mitchell Christian), 4. Tom Hetland (Sanborn Central), 5. Aften Pennings (Stickney), 6. Emily Sinclair (Kimball).

Geometry: 1. Todd Kieffer (White Lake), 2. Carlie Vander Pol (Mitchell Christian), 3. Breanna Thiry (White Lake),4. Payleen O'Day (Plankinton), 5. Jarid Bechen (Sanborn Central), 6. Josh Feiner (Sanborn Central).

World Geography: 1. Kendra Nydam (Mitchell Christian), 2. Drew Pazour (Kimball), 3. Ashley Naranjo (Corsica), 4. Megan Bultsma (Plankinton), 5. Samuel Schumacher (Stickney), 6. Robyn Roberts (Mount Vernon).

Literature III: 1. Jacob Carsten (Kimball), 2. Cody Renken (Mount Vernon), 3. Chris Gortmaker (Mount Vernon), 4. Emily Schrag (Mitchell Christian), 5. Rowan Byrd (White Lake), 6. Jesse Kirsch (White Lake).

Physical Science: 1. Sam Schumacher (Stickney), 2. Zach Duerfeldt (Ethan), 3. Ashley Naranjo (Corsica), 4. Abbie Reynen (Mitchell Christian), 5. Kyle Menning (Corsica), 6. Cody Ruml (Sanborn Central).

Algebra I: 1. Myah Selland (Sanborn Central), 2. Samuel Schumacher (Stickney), 3. Nicole Reuland (White Lake), 4. Zach Deurfeldt (Ethan), 5. Garrett Dean (Sanborn Central), 6. Janae Gustafson (Ethan).

Grammar IV: 1. Aaron Lemon (Mitchell Christian), 2. Kelsey Overweg (Stickney), 3. Jackie Dethlefsen (Stickney), 4. Becca Glanzer (Mount Vernon), 5. Brady Brink (Plankinton), 6. Allison Van Horn (Plankinton).

Physics: 1. Wes Vander Pol (Mitchell Christian), 2. Becca Glanzer (Mount Vernon), 3. Aaron Lemon (Mitchell Christian), 4. Thomas Punt (Stickney), 5. Brian Joachim (Corsica), 6. Connor Pennings (Stickney).

American Government: 1. Phillip Millar (Mount Vernon), 2. Thomas Punt (Stickney), 3. Aaron Lemon (Mitchell Christian), 4. Deric Denning (Mount Vernon), 5. Shelby Selland (Sanborn Central), 6. Danika Pollreisz (Ethan).

Grammar II: 1. Ashley Glanzer (Mount Vernon), 2. Casey Zoss (Mitchell Christian), 3. Aften Pennings (Stickney), 4. Jacob Stange (Plankinton), 5. Tristan Hayes (Kimball), 6. Kendra Nydam (Mitchell Christian).

Literature IV: 1. Destiny Wolbrink (Stickney), 2. Jessica Schmit (Sanborn Central), 3. Brady Brink (Plankinton), 4. Brady Pickart (Stickney), 5. Jessica Karhoff (Mitchell Christian), 6. Danika Pollreisz (Ethan).

Grammar I: 1. Carlie Vander Pol (Mitchell Christian), 2. Hannah Matzner (Stickney), 3. Abbie Reynen (Mitchell Christian), 4. Keeley Rexwinkel (Corsica), 5. Erin Denning (Mount Vernon), 6. Ashley Naranjo (Corsica).

Chemistry: 1. Morgan Selland (Sanborn Central), 2. Justin Krell (Plankinton), 3. Aaron Hargens (Stickney), 4. Jacob Carsten (Kimball), 5. James Mayclin (Plankinton), 6. Turner Blasius (Kimball).

Grammar III: 1. Emily Schrag (Mitchell Christian), 2. Jacob Carsten (Kimball), 3. Kallyn Prangley (Plankinton), 4. Tye Harris (Plankinton), 5. Beth Aulner (Ethan), 6. Danielle Blom (Corsica).

American History: 1. Justin Krell (Plankinton), 2. Todd Kieffer (White Lake), 3. Jessica Karhoff (Mitchell Christian), 4. Jon Van Zee (Corsica), 5. Charlie Mahaffey (Mount Vernon), 6. Ellie Bleeker (Mitchell Christian).

Senior Math: 1. Ryan Glissendorf (White Lake), 2. Connor Pennings (Stickney), 3. Jessica Schmit (Sanborn Central), 4. Lisa Smith (Kimball), 5. Shelby Selland (Sanborn Central), 6. Blake Bartscher (Ethan).