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Martingrove CI Wins Reach for the Top Provincial Tournament

Martingrove CI Wins Reach for the Top Provincial Tournament

Team defeats UCC to be crowned Ontario champion for third year in past four

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

For the third time in the past four years, Martingrove Collegiate Institute (MCI) is the Ontario champion for the iconic quiz-based competition Reach for the Top. The MCI team competed in the provincial tournament and finished ahead of 39 other regional champions, representing more than 200 schools competing in Ontario.

On May 15, the teams played a round-robin tournament to determine seeding for the provincials. The Martingrove Bears team, comprised of Jack Bovey, Elisa Kuhn, Kaveen Makumbura, Bennet Montgomery, co-captains Fox Slawnych and Jonah Thiessen and coach Michael Goldberg, finished with a first-place seeding in the province with a perfect 7-0 record. In the first match of the provincials on May 16, Martingrove beat its strong cross-town rival Marc Garneau CI in an intense and close match, 370-360 points.  The next match was a rematch against Marc Garneau and resulted in another win for MCI. 

In the third match of the knock-out tournament--the semi-final--MCI beat traditional Reach powerhouse London Central 420-380. Then in the hard fought final match, Martingrove defeated Upper Canada College 380-320 to earn the title of provincial champion.

Coach Goldberg attributed the team’s success to a number of factors, including student enthusiasm, dedication, and fun. “Without prompting, the team showed up at my door at lunch on the first day of school, and we've been practicing every day since,” he said.  While the team prepared tirelessly for competition, they also understand the importance of unwinding, relaxing, and building chemistry. “Despite the pressure that may come from competing at the provincial and national levels, our students have a good time doing Reach,” noted Goldberg. “They are often seen throwing a frisbee around 5-10 minutes before an important game.”

At MCI, Reach for the Top is a school-wide activity, with an intramural league that involves more than 100 students.  “In September, students recruit other students to form teams of four split into intermediate and senior levels,” explained Goldberg. “The school-wide team members from the previous year act as quizmasters and scorekeepers, and team and individual scores are tracked.” A varsity team emerges from that group. The school also has a strong and supportive alumni network to help the team prepare. Every year, alumni challenge the current squad to a game.

Next stop for the Ontario champion Bears is a seat at this year’s national championship, where they will face off against the best teams in the country. The tournament takes place May 27-30, 2016 in Toronto. MCI is no stranger to the national event. Last year, the team made it to the semi-final round of the nationals. In 2014, the only year in the past four that MCI missed out on the provincial championship, finishing second, they more than made up for the loss by qualifying for and winning the national championship. 

Reach for the Top first appeared on CBC TV in Vancouver in 1961 and was modelled on the British television series Top of the Form. In 1966, the show went national, one year after the first National Finals were played in 1965. The format for the long-running competition has a quizmaster offer questions to two teams playing head to head who buzz in to answer first. Types of questions include team questions, assigned questions for individual players, “who or what am I,” and “snappers.” Alex Trebek, the well-known host of the game show Jeopardy!, also served as quizmaster for Reach for the Top in the mid-1960s.

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