Glebe high schoolers capture Reach for the Top national championship
Team members included Micah Colman (middle row, right) and (bottom row, left to right) Caleb Ott, Jacob Johnston, and Gabriel McMurren. Photo by Handout /YouTube Article content For Glebe Collegiate Institute’s resident trivia masters, winning the 2021 Reach for the Top national championships came down to getting the answer right to a single, final question.
During the 30 minute game against University of Toronto Schools’s powerhouse team, the lead had see sawed. Glebe even trailed at one point by 60 points. But the four Ottawa high school students staged a comeback and with one question left, they held the narrowest of leads, 460 to 450.
The players, who were videoconferencing from home, couldn’t see the game’s running score and were in a fog about who was ahead. But viewers could see that a right answer to the question would either clinch Glebe’s win or keep their Toronto rivals alive, sending the game into a tiebreaker round.
“What is the northernmost country in the former Yugoslavia?” asked the game’s host Ryan Vickers.
Article content The Glebe students also won the Canadian History Bowl nationals in May, beating the UTS team in a game decided by its the final question.
Of all the achievements, winning the Reach nationals looms largest for the players and their coach, who trained and competed entirely by virtual means because of pandemic restrictions.
“The national finals game was a narrow hermes twilly scarf replica
and hard earned victory,” Gabriel McMurren, the team’s 17 year old captain, said. “I’ve never felt prouder to have been a part of this team.”
McMurren led a six person team, of which two players were alternates. Joining him on the championship deciding game were Colman, who is 16, Jacob Johnston, 17, Caleb Ott, 15.
Article content Broadly speaking, the team’s successes rest on the shoulders of a well developed Reach for the Top culture at Glebe that coach Greg John, a math teacher at the school, has nurtured over the last decade.
In the years before the pandemic, as many as 20 students were part of the club that loaded their brains with trivia during regular lunch time practices. While Reach games were not held in 2020 because of the pandemic, the Reach group at Glebe this year took its meetings online and the results speak for themselves.
“The pandemic hasn’t stopped the momentum,” John said. “I just read questions and we play and we laugh and we have a good time.”.