Riverside Academic Challenge team is a state champion

On Saturday March 16, the Riverside Academic Challenge team finished up its competition for the 2023-24 year with a trip to the state competition in Riverton. They came home as the small school champions.
The team consisting of sophomores Ben Mendenhall and Jackson Scott and juniors Jon Mendenhall and Hailey Scott completed in four rounds of questions switching between the toss up format, where each correct answer is worth 10 points for 60 questions and toss up bonus where the team answering the question correctly gets 10 points and then has first chance at four follow up questions worth five points each. Traditionally, Riverside does better at the toss up format.
The team started off strong with a dominating win in the first round against the teams from Pine Bluffs and Douglas.  In Riverside’s bracket were the powerhouses of Cheyenne East, Lovell, Douglas and Pine Bluffs and Mountain View.
 The second round played between Lovell, Riverside and Pine Bluffs was a toss-up bonus, and RHS came out second best behind Lovell.  
The third round was head-to-head with Lovell in which the team did surprisingly well, answering 17 out of the 60 questions.  
The younger team was at a disadvantage against Lovell’s team of seniors. They competed well,  but still came up short.  
The fourth round was the one the coach was really dreading, a toss-up bonus against Cheyenne East and Lovell.  As expected, the team did not do so well, and they figured we were out of luck. At this point the players were mentally drained as you could imagine after four hours of nonstop questions.
Fortunately, they were incorrect and a check of the scores showed that of the small schools (schools with fewer than 200 students), Riverside finished atop its bracket.
Competing in the opposite bracket were Cheyenne Central, Poder Academy, Thunder Basin, Greybull and Hot Springs County.  Tops in this bracket was Cheyenne Central and in small schools Hot Springs.  Since no small school landed in the top three spots there was to be a head-to-head championship round between Riverside and Hot Springs.
The championship round was a rollercoaster.  At the score check at the end of 20 questions Riverside was up by 20 points.  At the end of 40 questions Hot Springs was up by 40.  Riverside got on a roll and although the coach was not keeping score he figured that they were up.  
As the 60th question was answered by Hot Springs their reaction made the coach believe they had won.   What had happened was, they tied Riverside.  The tie breaking protocol is to ask three more questions. If the tie is not broken in the initial three questions, then it will go to sudden death.
Neither team answered the first question correctly.  The second question was “This king ruled England with his wife Mary in 1702.” Hot Springs rang in and answered incorrectly.  Jon Mendenhall rang in and answered “William” to which the judge responded, “Please be more specific.” After an agonizing wait Jon replied “the third” which was the correct answer.
The final question asked if an object was dropped from 10 meters, what would be its velocity when it hit the ground.  Neither team answered correctly. Riverside clinched the small school’s championship.  Riverside has the smallest population of all the small schools with an enrollment of 83 while Hot Springs has the largest with 198.
In addition to the state title Jackson Scott was honored by the other coaches as a top performer throughout the year as one of six chosen from across the state as an academic all-star.  
Other members of the team that have competed this year are Lane Owen, Falcon Dannar, Dawson Scott, Paul Stone, Andrew Sawyer.  Special thanks to Ira Jensen for driving the team all over the state and Mr. Matt Jensen for organizing the victory parade.