Trinity Lutheran sending 5 Academic Super Bowl teams to state

Coming off of a state title and a pair of runner-up finishes in its inaugural year, Trinity Lutheran High School had high hopes for its Academic Super Bowl teams this year.

The area competitions were April 18 at 22 sites across the state with 4,980 students from 275 schools participating.

After the results were tabulated, the top six teams in each of the four classes, which are divided based on enrollment, earned a spot in the 31st annual Indiana Academic Super Bowl State Finals on Saturday at Purdue University’s Loeb Playhouse.

Of the six subjects, Trinity will have five competing that day — English, fine arts, social studies, math and interdisciplinary. The Seymour school was among the 97 high schools that qualified to participate and is the only one to send five teams.

Opening ceremonies are at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, and the first round will begin 15 minutes later. The last round is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m.

The English squad answered 19 of 25 questions correctly for first place at the area competition at Austin High School. That also was the highest score in the state in Class 4.

Again this year, the team consists of three seniors and one underclassman. Sophomore Nathaniel Bauman is the team captain.

“We’ve been working hard, everybody pretty consistently did all of their homework and we’ve gotten to know each other a lot better,” he said. “We just figured out how to work together, who’s good at what, who knows what best and I think it makes a lot better team.”

Coach Michelle Bauman said the team has focused on poems and a novel, taking turns reading, memorizing and discussing different aspects of each text based on this year’s theme, French Revolution.

“They’ve all worked so hard and become friends in the process. I’m so proud of them and of their accomplishments,” she said. “It has been a joy to coach this team, to engage in laughter and make memories with them and, of course, to study some great literature in the process.”

The fine arts team scored 19 at the area contest and wound up second in Class 4.

Like the English team, this is the fine arts squad’s first time qualifying for state. Last year, the team missed state by two points.

Captain Abby Moses, a junior, said the team is expecting tougher questions at state.

“From here on out, it’s just study, study, study, read all of the material over and over again and go over all of the notes that we’ve gotten and taken,” she said.

Fine arts involves studying art and music, including form, theory, technique, history and biographical information.

“You definitely have to go beyond what people would probably expect,” Moses said. “You have to go deep into a subject or a person. You have to learn all of the little intricate details about everything that people might not normally know.”

Coaches Leah Schneider and Lori Moses both said they are proud of the team’s efforts so far.

“They work together very well and have to acquire knowledge pertaining to vast areas of material with art and music,” Schneider said. “They have shown much dedication and improvement.”

Lori Moses said it’s rare to have a student who is strong in both art and music, so the students have to rely on each other’s expertise. She said they worked together at the area competition, and she expects that to continue at state.

“Our hope is that the students just do their best,” she said. “At the end of the day, the results do not matter, as long as you have done your best.”

Trinity’s social studies team scored 17 at the area contest, placing fourth in Class 4 and advancing to state for the first time.

Nathaniel Bauman, who also is the captain of that team, said they had to read two lengthy books. One is a general overview of the French Revolution, and the other one is centered around six women from that time period.

“There’s a lot more to read in history than there was in English,” he said. “We had to read two pretty long books, and everybody put in the work to read those. It’s mostly just memorization, and I think everybody has done a pretty good job with that.”

Rebecca Helmer, who coaches the team with John Anderson, said the students read the books while also completing their regular studies at Trinity, including over Christmas break.

At the area competition, she said the questions were quite detailed with long introductions into the actual questions.

“The team works well together because they pull from one another’s knowledge when they answer those questions,” Helmer said. “They also all love history and enjoy learning, which definitely fuels their commitment to Academic Bowl.”

She is excited to see how the team does at the next level.

“I am looking forward to watching them work through those 25 questions on the French Revolution, whatever the final score, because all of them are terrific kids who are a joy to coach,” she said.

The math team qualified for state after placing sixth in Class 4 with 18.

Junior Rachel Onken is the team’s captain and was on the runner-up team at state last year.

Some of this year’s questions involve converting French units of measurement, and they also have learned about some French mathematicians.

Math is different than the other subjects because students have 40 seconds to answer each question.

“Some person will do the actual math of the question, someone will look at it and think of it rationally and another person will look at the answers and maybe plug it into their calculators, so there’s a lot of teamwork and a lot of strategy involved,” Onken said.

Coach Ben Stellwagen said despite several new faces on the team, they work together very well and bring unique gifts and skills to the team.

“I really admire how they truly appreciate one another’s talents,” he said. “Plus, this material is almost entirely new for them, and we all marvel at the incredible minds it took to discover these concepts in the first place.”

Even though Onken is the only returning team member, Stellwagen said he expects the team to be prepared for state.

“They’re extremely diligent and conscientious students, but the day will ultimately be memorable and fun,” he said. “And I’ve heard that we’ll have some of last year’s finalists in attendance cheering us on. Success breeds success, and I enjoy watching how all our teams challenge each other to excel.”

The interdisciplinary squad, which brings together team members from all five subjects, including science, scored 16 at the area contest and placed fifth in the state in Class 4.

Last year’s interdisciplinary team won the Class 4 state title.

Onken, who also is captain of the science and interdisciplinary teams, said it’s great to see people from all of the teams come together for the final round.

“Typically, you have someone there with you who’s on your same subject,” she said. “So it’s interesting when you go up there and there’s a question on a certain subject and you can see those two people really working together and trying to figure out what the right answer is.”

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Meet the Trinity Lutheran High School Academic Super Bowl teams

English: Nathaniel Bauman, Maggie Neawedde, Lexi Schneider, Macy Taylor and coach Michelle Bauman

Science: Jacob Crockett, Rachel Onken, Hailley Peters, Matt Stuckwisch, Macy Taylor and coach Justin Vorthmann

Fine arts: Shelby Hayes, Cameo Hildreth, Abby Lemming, Abby Moses, Lexi Schneider, Emily Schultz and coaches Leah Schneider and Lori Moses

Social studies: Nathaniel Bauman, Shelby Hayes, Josiah Probst, Emily Schultz, Emily Thompson, Davis Tracey and coaches Rebecca Helmer and John Anderson

Math: Jacob Crockett, Rachel Onken, Hailley Peters, Alyssa Schultz, Matt Stuckwisch, Noah Voelker and coach Ben Stellwagen

Interdisciplinary: Nathaniel Bauman, Abby Moses, Rachel Onken, Hailley Peters, Lexi Schneider and Macy Taylor

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For information about the Indiana Academic Super Bowl, visit