Pirate Quiz Bowl Team captures 4th place at state

April 14, 2024

Pirate News is a presentation of Hart Public Schools in partnership with Oceana County Press.

EAST LANSING — The Hart Varsity Quiz Bowl team took fourth place at its second consecutive class B state finals tournament at Michigan State University Saturday, April 13, improving over 2023’s fifth-place finish.

The team includes captain Jesse Lenon, Mia Perea, Julia McTaggart, Sean Wood, Austin Merten, Daria Pesavento, Lauren Pretty, Alisya Cruz and Amber Miguel and is coached by Brett Ramseyer.

In the five match prelims, the Pirates earned a 3-2 record defeating Hamilton 220-120, Airport 275-65, and Hopkins 260-65. Hart suffered its two losses to Utica Academy, the eventual undefeated state champions, and championship flight participant, Williamston. Hart’s preliminary record earned them second in their Terrakion division and a berth in the championship flight.

The five match championship rounds against the top eight teams in the state did not intimidate the veteran Pirates. Sault Saint Marie edged Hart 170-135. Then Detroit Country Day, reigning third place national champions, defeated Hart 355-155.  

The Pirate Quiz Bowl Team includes: back row, left to right, Lauren Pretty, Julia McTaggart, Daria Pesavento, Coach Brett Ramseyer, and Austin Merten; front row, left to right, Amber Miguel, Alisya Cruz, Mia Perea, Jesse Lenon, and Sean Wood.

Then the Pirates faced their local nemesis, perennial powerhouse Ludington. Hart jumped out to a commanding first half lead against the Orioles that dwindled as Ludington regrouped, but Hart swept the final toss-up and bonus questions to win 235-150 in Hart’s first victory over Ludington in decades. Ludington finished third in the tournament.

Hart followed up that convincing win on the ninth match of the day against Haslett. Tied 70-70 at the half, Haslett went on a run that put them ahead 145-65 with only six questions remaining. Junior Julia McTaggart brought down the hammer with a power toss-up on a Succession question she has waited for all season. Then, senior captain Jesse Lenon took the last toss-up of the match. Hart down 160-155 needed one of three bonus questions to win the match. Missing the first two in a literature category that is not their strength put them down to their final bonus which they nailed to snatch a 165-160 last second victory over a stunned Haslett.

In the final match, junior Mia Perea led the team with 45 points on three power toss-ups, but the team fell to Chelsea and finished with a championship finals record of 3-3 and an overall state tournament record of 5-5.

The Pirates finished the season 15-6.

Senior captain Jesse Lenon earned sixth in the state individual as a second team all-state selection and first team all-conference in the WMC. Lenon scored 545 points in the state tournament, broke his own Hart varsity single season scoring record with 1,530 points and set the new Hart varsity career record with 4,755 points.

Junior Mia Perea finished 45th individually out of 107 at state, scoring 165 points in the tournament and finished with 385 on the 2024 season. Perea earned first team all-conference earlier in the year. 

Senior Sean Wood took 53rd with 50 points at state, 205 on the season, and he earned second team all-conference.

Junior Julia McTaggart finished 73rd at state before catching fire in the playoff rounds which are not counted toward the individual ranking with 70 points on the day.  McTaggart finished the season with 290 points and first team all-conference. 

  • Photos by Heather Ramseyer

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