It took eight years to get back on top, but from the sound of the winners of the 23rd Annual Quiz Bowl, it was worth every minute of it. Said Andrew Luscz, 18, captain of winning team the Antilles Brainstorms, "It was so good to win. We've practiced every lunch hour all year."
Antilles will now represent the Virgin Islands in the 19th Annual National Academic Championship in June.
The last time Antilles won was in 1993, and for a while this year it looked like none of the schools would even get a chance to compete. The event was canceled in February, and then reinstated last month after educators raised enough funding for the event.
The Brainstorms team consisted of Luscz, Dennis Jones, Jasmin Blak, Anwar Lockhart, Justin Wheatley and Lane Sell, who are coached by Alan Eberhart.
The Brainstorms competed against two St. Croix teams, the Country Day School Tigers and the Good Hope Falcons, in the games at the Buccaneer Hotel on St. Croix, which donated rooms for the event.
The games started on Sunday with double elimination competition. Country Day took the first game against Good Hope, then lost to Antilles. Country Day and Good Hope played the first game Monday, with Good Hope winning to go on to face Antilles, who won by a score of 385-215.
"The score put us 150 ahead," said Luscz, "but, actually, the competition was a lot closer. We didn't really build up a lead until the last rounds."
Reflecting on the team's new glory, Luscz was philosophical. "We're glad, but it's not like you just tackled somebody on the football field, with 'yeah! yeahs!. It's a bit more of a reserved-type game, you know."
Luscz said one thing he enjoyed was the camaraderie with the other schools. "The Good Hope coach, Chip Renn, and the team ate with us, and then he drove us around. Usually you just sit with your own team. There was no ill will, just good conversation," he said.
The event was sponsored by the St. Thomas Rotary Club, Texaco Caribbean Inc., the Prosser Foundation, Communication Corp., B and W Investment, the West Indian Co. Ltd., private citizens Neil Weiss and George Blackhall of St. Thomas, and the St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers.
The Brainstorms will appear in the national competition in either Washington, D.C., New Orleans or Malibu, Cal., depending on which competition the team is able to fit into its year-end graduation schedule.

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