Ann Arbor middle schoolers finish 13th in national quiz bowl tournament

Both Emerson teams posed for a photograph in the midst of their tournament run. (Courtesy: Bryan Seymour)

ANN ARBOR – Nine middle school students from Emerson School finished in 13th place over Mother’s Day weekend at the National Academic Quiz Tournaments Middle School National Championship Tournament.

Held in Chicago, the event saw the top 141 teams from around the country compete in the Jeopardy-style quiz bowl.

Of the seven total teams from Michigan, two teams from Emerson qualified for the tournament and were the best-ever performing school from the state since the national event’s inception.

The teams were led by coach Bryan Seymour, who started the school’s Quiz Bowl program eight years ago. The teams consisted of eighth graders Jack River Nicolich, Abraham Zhang, Cole Doty and Walter Groening, seventh graders Andrew Li, Libby Schuster and Hana Ghani and and sixth graders Roshni Senthil and Jay Aiyagari.

“Our whole team was contributing to the score instead of us just having one or two team members that would have gotten all of the points,” Nicolich said in a statement. “We also had a collective broad reserve of knowledge, as everyone’s strengths accounted for everyone else’s weaknesses.”

“Our team got along well; everyone knew their, and each other’s, strong suits and no one was scared to ask for a sub or ask to come back into the match,” Doty said in a statement. “Of course, we wanted to win, but we tried to think more about having fun and enjoying the experience than stressing about a close match. It was a fun thing to do, especially in the last year of middle school.”

Students prepare for Quiz Bowl contests by discussing current events, studying history and science, learning poems and novels, performing math and brushing up on pop culture.

Emerson won a virtual national championship in 2020 and were the Michigan Middle School Quiz Bowl State Champions in 2017 and 2022.

The first-place team at this year’s NAQT Middle School Quiz Bowl was Longfellow Middle School from Washington, DC, while Boston’s Chenery Middle School came in second.

For more information about the event, visit

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.