Trinity Lutheran Academic Super Bowl team wins state title


Through the first 12 questions of the interdisciplinary round of the 33rd Indiana Academic Super Bowl state finals, Trinity Lutheran correctly answered 10 and was in first place.

Early in the last 13 questions, the team stumbled a little and dropped to fourth place.

Down the stretch, though, they remained calm under pressure and rallied to capture the Class 4 state title.

Trinity scored 17, followed by Barr-Reeve and Washington Township with 16, Orleans with 15 and Randolph Southern with 14.

“It was close the whole time, but we would have won with that tiebreaker either way. It wasn’t a calm win,” said Michelle Bauman, who coaches the English team and helped the interdisciplinary team.

The school has only been involved with the Indiana Academic Super Bowl for four years, but each year, it has returned home from Purdue University’s Loeb Playhouse in West Lafayette with a state championship.

Trinity’s interdisciplinary team scored 13 in 2016 and 17 in 2018 for first-place finishes, and the English team scored 18 in 2017 for the win.

Interdisciplinary brings together members of the fine arts, English, math, science and social studies teams. This year’s theme was “The Fertile Crescent.”

Those participating in the state finals May 4 were a part of the 5,133 students from 278 high schools who were involved in the April 16 area competitions around the state.

Trinity also had its social studies team competing at state after scoring 21 at the area competition at Austin High School, while the interdisciplinary team scored 17.

Senior Nathaniel Bauman served as captain of the interdisciplinary team, so he remained at the table for all 25 questions at the state finals.

For the first 12, he was joined by freshmen Simeon Bauman and Addison Bumbleburg and sophomore Erin Enzinger.

“We started off really strong,” Nathaniel said. “Pretty much after four or five, we were already leading, we were in first place, and we held onto that lead through the first 12. I think we were just excited and confident.”

For the remaining questions, Nathaniel had help from freshman Hannah Kerkhof, sophomore Jerry Jiang and senior Josiah Probst.

“It was a really rough start. It was rough, but then later on, we started working together more, and we got our score back up,” Kerkhof said.

“I try not to pay pay too much attention to the score because it can really throw you off, but it was kind of hard not to,” Nathaniel said.

Toward the end, Probst said they were tied with Orleans and Barr-Reeve. The final question pertained to the genetic makeup of modern wheat, and the team used its knowledge of Latin roots to figure out the right answer.

When they realized the team won, Michelle and the other coaches who went to state, Rebecca Helmer, John Anderson and Jackie Stuckwisch, jumped up and down.

“They worked well, and each one knew what they were supposed to do, and they did it,” Michelle said.

The accomplishment meant a lot to the team. Nathaniel was able to finish his high school career with a fourth state title.

“During that competition, I was kind of scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it because all of the past three years, there has been somebody else who has been captain who has led the interdisciplinary team and all of the other teams,” he said.

“I still wanted to be able to live up to what they had achieved and get a state title. I felt a lot of pressure to do that even though no one put it on me,” he said. “It was very fulfilling to have that fourth year win.”

Probst also was glad to win a title in his final year of Academic Super Bowl.

“I came here sophomore year and I joined the Academic Bowl team, so it’s nice to go ahead and finish up with a state championship,” he said.

Jiang was on the math team and served as captain, but since that squad didn’t make it to state, he said he was happy to be there to help the interdisciplinary team.

“The last two (questions) were kind of hard, and I think my team really did a good job,” he said. “As part of the team, I was really excited. We had a championship.”

Enzinger said she won’t forget the moment she realized the team won.

“It felt great,” she said. “It really brought a smile to my face, and I was just so happy, and I didn’t think it was going to happen. Not that I don’t have faith in my teammates because they are really great and they all know their stuff really well. It was just a surprise that we actually did it. I’m really proud of how everybody did.”

The three freshmen were excited to win a state title in their first year of Academic Super Bowl in high school.

Kerkhof and Bumbleburg, though, had participated in the junior division while in middle school.

“We had always done good at that, and so when I came to high school, I knew I wanted to do it,” Kerkhof said. “But to go to state and win state, I had not even thought about that even being in the range of possibility, so when it happened, I was really excited.”

Bumbleburg said getting to be on multiple teams this year was fun.

“Going into interdisciplinary was kind of scary at the same time trying to remember all of that,” she said. “I was pretty proud while I was up there because we did so well, and then watching the second group go, I was getting kind of nervous, ‘We can’t lose it.’ We came back, and I was so excited. Getting up there to go get that medal was just great.”

Simeon described the win as “super exciting” and said he is really proud of the team.

“Winning state this year shows that we have the chance to do well in future years,” he said. “I’m excited for that, too.”

Michelle said it was great seeing the seven students come together.

“It’s phenomenal from that aspect. They really did work as a team,” she said. “I think that this group is a testament to how well-rounded our students are. Interdisciplinary is almost always our greatest success, and that really speaks to the education they are getting, but also to the hard work. A lot of these students were on two teams and sat in on three sessions, so that’s a lot of commitment. I’m super proud of them.”

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For information about the Indiana Academic Super Bowl and to view results from 2019 competitions, visit


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