Upper Canada College’s Reach for the Top team members can hold their heads high after showing their smarts and finishing second in the recent provincial championships.
Elliot Birman, Jack van Nostrand, Ian McDowell, Matthew Wang and Joshua-David Heath competed at the tournament after qualifying by winning the Uptown Regional Division Championship.
“They played an incredible semi-final match, coming back from a deficit of over 100 points to win the game in the shootout at the end by 10 points,” says team faculty adviser Courtney Turner of the competition, which originated as a CBC television quiz show for high school students in 1961.
The boys advanced from that match to the final against Martingrove Collegiate Institute, which had taken the provincial title in two of the past three years. The final was tightly contested but, in the end, UCC dropped a 380-320 decision and Martingrove was crowned Ontario champion for the third time in four years.
“They competed as gentlemen and made sure the rules were followed, even if it benefitted their opposing team,” says Turner. “Their trivia knowledge is incredible and it was a really fun weekend. The MVP was Jack van Nostrand.”
The second place finish qualified UCC for the national championships that are being held from May 27 to 30 at University of Toronto Schools. The invitation was declined, however, as the timing was awkward for the team’s graduating students.
More than 200 schools take part in Reach For The Top competitions in Ontario and 40 regional champions took part in the provincial tournament, where the UCC boys were supervised by teachers Amit Morris, Kevin Olds and Heather Crawford.
UCC’s other team members that didn’t take part in the final are Gabriel Birman, Eric McDowell, Alex Quinn, Adam Steiner, Campbell McKinnon, Darren Elias and Steven Leu. The boys had one meeting per week on Wednesdays after school from February to April to hone their quiz skills.
Five members have graduated and seven plan to return next year, with McDowell and Heath acting as club heads.