Trinity Lutheran High School’s first year of participating in the Indiana Academic Super Bowl proved to be a success.

With their performances at the area competition in April, three of the Seymour school’s six teams advanced to the state finals, which was conducted May 7 at Purdue University’s Loeb Playhouse in West Lafayette.

There, the interdisciplinary team finished as the state champion in Class 4, while the math and science teams were runners-up.

The state competition consisted of 99 schools and nearly 800 students.

“It was an honor to be counted among them, and the students represented themselves and the school well with their performance,” said Ben Stellwagen, a resource teacher at the school who coached the science and math teams.

Trinity’s interdisciplinary team, consisting of Nathaniel Bauman, Cameo Hildreth, Abigail Moses, Ethan Neawedde, Luke Onken, Rachel Onken, Tanner Prewitt and Chris Rust, answered 13 of 25 questions correctly. Interdisciplinary brings together members of the fine arts, English, math, science and social studies teams.

Barr-Reeve was next in Class 4 with 12, while Evansville Day and Tecumseh each had 11. The highest interdisciplinary score posted across all four classes was 17.

The four classes are divided based on school enrollment, with Class 1 being large schools. In Class 4 at state, there were six teams in each of the subjects.

“The questions were noticeably harder than at the area competition,” Stellwagen said. “Plus, with computerized scoring, there was less downtime between questions, which required quicker recovery in the nearly rapid-fire format. It was a real test of some of the brightest high school minds in the state of Indiana.”

Neawedde, Rust and the Onken siblings made up the math and science teams.

The science squad scored 19 out of 25, finishing two behind state champion Indianapolis Lutheran and one ahead of Indiana Academy for Science, Math and Humanities.

In the math round, Indiana Academy for Science, Math and Humanities won with 18, followed by Trinity with 16, Barr-Reeve with 15 and Tecumseh with 14.

Trinity and Greencastle, which competed in Class 3, were the only two schools in the state to place in three subjects, Stellwagen said.

He also said there was an impressive display of mutual respect and sportsmanship between Trinity and Muncie-based Indiana Academy for Science, Math and Humanities, which were the only Class 4 schools to have three teams at state.

“(They) were seen commending each other’s accomplishments throughout the competition,” Stellwagen said.

“Our team also met the science squad and coach Robert Deirth from Scottsburg, which won interdisciplinary in Class 2, and we are already planning to scrimmage them next year,” he said.

Stellwagen said the math and science teams already have called for a postseason practice to go over all of the problems from the state finals. He said that’s one example of what a unique and worthwhile experience the season has been.

“Never content just to be told the right answer, they will continue on their quest to understand the ‘why,’” he said. “I’ll be there to explore and discover with them.”

This was the 30th year of the Indiana Academic Super Bowl, which has the Senior Division for high schools and Junior Division for middle schools. It is run by the Indiana Association of School Principals and sponsored by Purdue University.

With the state’s bicentennial being celebrated this year, the theme was “Hoosier Heritage.” The content in each subject was tied closely to that theme.

Trinity had 14 students involved in Academic Super Bowl. On Friday afternoon, they were recognized during an assembly at the school.

The interdisciplinary and science teams both qualified for state by scoring 22 for first place in Class 4 at the area competition April 19 at Austin High School. Math scored 16 for first place, while English had 15 for third place, social studies tallied 11 for second place and fine arts had 13.

Of the 279 schools statewide, Trinity’s interdisciplinary score at the area competition was the highest across all four classes. Also, the science team had the top score out of the 70 schools in Class 4, and the math team tied for the fourth-best score in Class 4.

Trinity Principal Daniel Sievert said Academic Super Bowl was a good addition to the school.

“The students and coaches did not set out to simply start an Academic Bowl team, but to invest a high amount of their energy in preparation so they could be very competitive,” he said. “Not only were they competitive, but many other coaches were very complimentary at the region and state competition for such a strong finish for a first-year program.”

Sievert said he also was impressed with the teams because rules prevent them from meeting during the school day.

“This led our coaches and students to make every minute outside of the school day count,” Sievert said. “Before school, after school, even on a couple non-school weekdays, the students and coaches were diligently reviewing the materials. The teachers even prepared practice tests for the meetings so the students could get used to the format and time limitations in selecting the answer.”

Trinity plans on offering Academic Super Bowl again next school year.

“The success of the teams is a tribute to the determination of both the students and the coaches to use their God-given gifts to the best of their abilities,” Sievert said.

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Trinity Lutheran High School competed in the Indiana Academic Super Bowl state finals May 7 at Loeb Playhouse on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette.

The interdisciplinary team was the state champion in Class 4, while the math and science teams both were runner-up in Class 4.

Interdisciplinary: Nathaniel Bauman, Cameo Hildreth, Abigail Moses, Ethan Neawedde, Luke Onken, Rachel Onken, Tanner Prewitt and Chris Rust

Math: Ethan Neawedde, Luke Onken, Rachel Onken and Chris Rust

Science: Ethan Neawedde, Luke Onken, Rachel Onken and Chris Rust

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To view results from the Indiana Academic Super Bowl state finals, visit


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