Calvary’s Triumph!

-Tuesday’s Turnout

Old Paths (PA), who had suffered through a down year and changed coaches, entered the Finals hoping to garner their first National Championship. 3 straight years from 2003 to 2005, Old Paths came up inches short and finished second. The 2nd place “curse” which now enters year 8, was nearly avoided in ’03 when captain Tim Keenan stood to answer question 20. But his error, on what turned out to be John 3:16, gave Athens (GA) their 2nd National Championship. Fast forward 6 years later, Entering the Finals Thursday, Old Paths was in the toughest position of the three teams. Considering that they had one loss and would face two teams with no losses, getting 1st place would be no easy task!

Heritage Mission (NY), a consistent Nationals contender of late, confidently entered the Finals after cruising through Tuesday without a loss. This ministry is no stranger to being on this stage. After getting accustomed to the rule differences in their first trip to AACS earlier this decade, this group has been a mainstay In the Top 5. Mrs. Nada Rogers has done an outstanding job of promoting Bible Quiz and has built probably the deepest ministry of quizzers in AACS at Heritage Mission. This team entered Thursday as the favorite to win, and had many people rooting them on in hopes of seeing Mrs Rogers’ gain her first national championship.

Calvary (FL) took nearly the whole season to get their team back into Nationals form. After nearly missing the Nationals field, the pieces seemed to fall in place at the right time. After pulling out a 5th place finish at Scqanit Monday, making it through Tuesday and earning a spot in Thursday’s Final seemed to be a real possibility. But things took quite an odd turn Tuesday morning when it was learned that top 25 Scqanit quizzer Paige Warren would not be quizzing with Calvary at Nationals. Surprisingly, Calvary didn’t miss a beat. Kelsey Davies, who self-admittedly got a very late start in her preparation for Nationals, provided enough support to David Tyrrell to lead Calvary through Tuesday’s quiz. But right after securing their spot in Thursday’s Final, tragic news was delivered to Calvary’s team. The Davies had lost a close family member and the Bible Quiz world had lost a dear friend. At first there were questions of whether Calvary would be able to quiz Thursday, but the decision was made that quizzing would be for the best.

-Thursday’s Triumph

The Thursday afternoon of Nationals is such an exciting time for me personally. I love seeing/feeling the excitement and pressure of the Finals. What has become a tradition for us, Matt West and I head over to Bob Jones after downing 20 chicken fingers from Zaxby’s. The 2 hours from 1:30 to 3:30 are spent watching the quizzers gather outside Stratton Hall and laughing at how well they pretend to not be nervous. Or as James Watkins (NY) told me, “No, I’m not nervous at all!” (as he clicked his pen 300 times a second )

Once the band competition ends, Stratton Hall converts into a 676-seat Bible Quiz Arena. As nearly every seat is filled, I take my seat among the judges. Thursdays at nationals actually have become much less stressful since I relinquished my responsibility to do live updates here on to now be a timekeeper at the officials’ table. (By the way, Special thanks to Jonathan Griffin and Josh Thomas for their help in doing the live updates for the site as well as Mr. Brown (Heritage Mission) for lending his laptop to us for blogging purposes and Aaron Wells, Josh Austin, Billy Hales, and Jesse Startup for blogging, and Daniel Keenan for his help updating Monday.) I’ll be the first to admit my role at “the table” is small, but seeing the quiz from that unique viewpoint is priceless! There are freshmen scared out of their mind because… well…they are freshmen! There are seniors anxiously ready to quiz-hoping their last hoorah ends with a “hoorah!” There are several others in between which exude anything and everything from confidence to fright to stomach ache! Then there are the spectators: Some hoping to see Old Paths finally break the cycle and get that coveted 1st place trophy. But most are trying to decide if they’d rather see Mrs. Rogers capture her 1st championship or see Calvary win what would be such a meaningful quiz in light of just how tough this week had been for them.

After months and months of preparation, the first quiz got off to quite a slow start. As many high pressured quizzes seem to do, this quiz yielded several early errors which left coaches asking for timeouts. Once some of the nerves had subsided, Calvary proved that they were ready to quiz. By question 16, Calvary had gained a 50 point lead (60-110-60) over both other teams. Knowing that one team could overpass them but not both (for if one team scored 60, the other would only get 40), Calvary stayed seated for the final 5 questions to ensure them at least a middle win. After Heritage Mission grabbed question 16, Old Paths responded by getting 20 points on #17.  Heritage Mission then got question 17, and it looked like we might be in for a doozy.  But when Cassy (Old Paths) missed a 50/50 question on #19, the Heritage Mission rebound ended Old Paths tournament. Though not finishing as highly as they would have liked, Old Paths had a remarkable nationals week. Getting 2nd on Monday and 3rd on Thursday, Old Paths should be very proud of their result!

In the first quiz between Calvary and Heritage Mission, David Tyrrell proved early that Calvary would be no pushover. Getting 4 of the first 5 questions, David put Calvary out into an early lead. But after the quiz had tightened by question 10, James Watkins and his Heritage Mission teammates reeled off 6 questions in a row to ensure them of a victory. As Heritage sat for the final 4 questions, David Tyrrell (Ca-FL) quizzed out. But his quizout was small consolation considering Calvary had received their first loss.

Entering the second quiz, Heritage Mission had placed themselves in a very good position. Calvary would have to win 2 straight quizzes to win Nationals; Heritage Mission just needed one more win. In what would turn out to be an incredible quiz, David Tyrrell once again showed why many believe he is the nation’s best quizzer. But Heritage Mission showed why many believe they are the nation’s best team. Showing far superior depth, Heritage had reached the all-important 200 points. But after making a critical error, Heritage found themselves with only a 10 point lead entering question 20. Fortunately for Calvary, David Tyrrell had not yet quizzed out as he was able to pass 4 answers to his teammate Deven Davies on tossup questions. At this point of the quiz, Kelsey (Ca-FL) had not yet answered correctly. But with timing that Calvary fans would call impeccable, Kelsey was the first quizzer standing on question 20. Her correct answer gained 20 points and handed Heritage Mission their first loss.

After a quiz that was an instant classic in the world of Bible Quiz, both teams found themselves on equal ground. The winner of this final quiz would be the National Champion! Although I figured Calvary would have the momentum after winning the last quiz in spectacular form, Heritage Mission jumped out to a solid start nabbing a 120-20 lead. Thru the next 9 questions, Calvary inched slightly closer but still found themselves down 180-110 with 4 questions remaining. Kelsey Davies, who defined the word “clutch” with her game-winning answer the quiz before, answered both #17 and 18 to pull Calvary right back into the quiz. David Tyrrell answered his 5th of the quiz on #19, which coupled with a Heritage Mission error put Calvary up 20 going into the last question. Heritage Mission would have to get #20 to force a tiebreaker question! As Dr. Knapp read one of the easier questions of the day, “What was mingled with…”, practically every quizzer stood hoping that his team would be called upon. To Heritage Mission’s dismay, Dr. Knapp called on Florida 3. David Tyrrell, the day’s best quizzer, calmly answered “wine was mingled with myrrh.”

Heritage Mission, as well as every other team, would be left waiting a year for another chance at the national title. But in light of all that Calvary had faced this week, no one could question how appropriate their win truly was! Entering the Final with only 3 quizzers and somewhat of an underdog…sometimes it’s just meant to be!

David Poston

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.