Ithaca Brain Team Aims to Visit Nationals

The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) Brain Team has not let the snowy winter slow them down this year. The Ithaca Brain Team has traveled to a variety of competitions and tournaments this year, showcasing their talents and dedication to their team and teammates.
On February 25, three teams from the ICSD – Ithaca Team A, Ithaca Team B, and Ithaca Team C – traveled to High Technology High School in Lincroft, NJ. Ithaca Team A went 10-1 with a tough loss in the semi-finals against a team from Darien, CT. The team landed in third place, after securing a win against last year's national champions from Hunter College High School in Manhattan, NY. Ithaca Team A member Daniel and Ithaca Team B member James both earned recognition for their top 10 scores during the competition.
On March 4, two teams from ICSD – Ithaca Team A and Ithaca Team B – traveled to Columbia University to play in the spring tournament. Ithaca Team A again won third place in the Nationals Division. Ithaca Team B earned second place in the Standard Division. Both Ithaca Team A and Ithaca Team B ended the tournament with some very well-played games, earning them each 8-2 records. Ithaca Team A member Casey earned recognition in the tournament for his Top 8 score.
Earlier in the month, Ithaca Team A and Ithaca Team B went to Tompkins Cortland Community College for the High School Challenge. The two teams began the challenge with some preliminary ranking matches on March 9. Both teams went undefeated, which guaranteed two spots in the playoff rounds. This was the second year in a row that the team has managed to achieve such an impressive feat.
On Friday, March 17, the teams returned to finish the playoffs, with Ithaca Team A earning a bye into the semifinals as the No. 1 seed. Ithaca Team B participated in the quarterfinals as the No. 4 seed.
Ithaca Team B started the day with a match against a team from Elmira. The team was able to correctly naming five of the six African capital cities that start with the letter A (Asmara, Eritrea; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Accra, Ghana; Antananarivo, Madagascar; and Abuja, Nigeria; in addition to Algiers, Algeria), pulling them into an early 75-0 lead. They held that significant lead through the entirety of the match, ending 315-35. In an exact replica of last year’s tournament, Ithaca Team A and Ithaca Team B ended up facing each other in the semifinals.
The Ithaca vs. Ithaca match was an extraordinary match, with Ithaca Team A quickly pulling ahead with a 185-10 lead after three rounds. Ithaca Team B surged in the fourth and fifth rounds to narrow that gap, but Ithaca Team A advanced to the finals with a 365-205 finish.
In the finals, Ithaca Team A faced off against another frequent playoff-reaching school, Cooperstown Central School District. Cooperstown was ahead 215-140 going into the final round. Ithaca Team A managed to bridge the gap and tie up the game with only three tossup questions remaining in the last round. The team got two of the three questions, securing them a 290-260 victory and a $2,000 cash prize. The Ithaca Brain Team hopes to use this prize, along with funds from their additional fundraising efforts, to attend national tournaments in Atlanta, GA and Chicago, IL. Congratulations to our Ithaca Team A members – Andrey, Casey, Daniel, and Luc!
Looking to help the Ithaca Brain Team attend the national tournaments? On March 30, the team will hold a Spring Trivia Night. A $10 admission charge includes dinner and treats, music by DJ Andrew Lesser, and plenty of fun trivia. Individuals or teams of up to five are welcome, with a prize awarded to the winning teams. For more information or to sign up, please visit the event page at:
Interested in following along with the Ithaca Brain Team? There are only two more regular season competitions before nationals. For updates on the team, please visit their Twitter at
Congratulations to the Ithaca Brain Team on your success! We hope to see everyone at Spring Trivia Night on March 30!