by Greg House
Who would have though that a 9th grade young lady would win her way to tie with Kent Piacenti for the most 1st place finishes (3) in the Individual High Score category? But win and tie she did.
When I retired from coaching, for the third and last time, at National Finals in Troy, MI, Kent Piacenti, Ricky Haney, and David Dorey (from my 1999 team) flew in to have dinner with me on the night of the banquet. The guys asked me about the teams and the quizzers that year and how good they actually were. When Abby’s name came up as high scorer at such a young age, Kent replied: “Records were meant to be tied, and broken, and if she’s that good at that age, she will definitely pass me up.” And he was right. Records are kept to honor quizzers from the past and inspire quizzers of the future. Abby’s high scorer wins were born from hard work, determination, and a drive to fulfill a dream, one she is living out right now. I have no doubt in my mind that she will surpass that record and find herself at the top of that category in the “Hall of Records” at Biblequiz.com after next year, and maybe even the next and the next. Right now she should bask in the glow of her achievement. She has shown herself to be a class act, taking pride in her achievements without being prideful. I am sure she will do the same in the future – here’s to breaking the record!
Then there’s Owasso. Years back I remember people involved in Bible Quiz saying no team would ever equal the three National Championships held by Decatur, GA. Two maybe, never three. Then Orange Hills came along and not only tied the record but upped the ante by being undefeated all three times and doing it over a shorter period of time. And the crowds said: “No one will beat that record.” Then shortly after, Briargate came along and posted four championships from 2001 – 2007. I heard people say that no one would ever come close to that record – and then came Owasso. Their wins in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012 not only tied that record, but they achieved it in fewer years and with one undefeated championship. Who would have said in 2007, when they finished 16th at finals, that we were watching a future four time National Champion and the only team besides Orange Hills to post an undefeated victory since expansion? Owasso did it by setting goals and backing up the talk with work – a MASSIVE amount of work. If Aaron Kohler’s questions were the great equalizer of teams in 2008, with their consistency and regular clues notifying teams what to study, why weren’t ten other teams prepped to the max to take on all contenders? No one was willing to fill up the chasm between desire and achievement with relentless study and practice. Finally, here we are in 2012 and Owasso has won four championships in five years. Two without Josh, and one without Jesse. Each time they lost a quizzer, people predicted they were finished. What many did not know was that as the team incrementally lost BQ “muscle”, with three over-the-top quizzers, they gained experience and game-play wisdom and put it into effect. Just think of Daniel two or three years ago – he often looked like he was having a stroke while he was answering. In his 2012 win he looked cool as a cucumber, taking his time, making smart plays, and bringing home the gold. Or consider little Luke Wagner in 2009, on the bench, scoring 50 total points, and finishing 61st. In 2010 he finished 40th. In 2011 he finished 39th. Today, on that podium quizzing for the championship, he had grown into a confident young man who knew what to do and how to do it. Digging a hole for himself early with two wrong, he calmed himself down, adjusted his strategy just a bit, took fewer chances, and found three questions that kept him in the game and kept the pressure on the 2nd and 3rd chair quizzers from the Wesley Chapel team. His mature adjustments in the game garnered, I believe, 60 more points, sealing the victory. And where did “little Luke” finish individually? Top ten. Owasso is a team that “put their money where their mouth was.” They found a way to win despite their critics. As Owasso rejoices in their jobs well done, everyone in Bible Quiz should “rejoice with those who rejoice,” and hail their achievements. For those who know how to win and set records – We Salute You!