Powder Springs Rookies Rank First in Brain Brawl
The finish for Hillgrove's fledgling NJROTC program earned the cadets a ticket to Saturday's championship.
After finishing first in a qualifying event during the weekend of April 16-17, the rookie team from Hillgrove High School’s NJROTC program is getting a shot at the gold.
The finish from Cadets Hunter Guthrie, Austin Horan, Miguel Maldonado, Houtan Satarian and Jacob Yingling in the Brain Brawl Wildcard in Jacksonville, FL resulted in their ticket to the big time.
The Area 12 Brain Brawl Championship, a trivia competition among NJROTC programs, will be at Henry County High School in McDonough, GA on Saturday. Area 12 covers Georgia and Florida.
“It’s like a college bowl,” explained their instructor, Capt. Charles Mingonet. “It’s beat the buzzer.”
Guthrie said the questions cover the gamut, from “naval science to current events and ROTC procedure.”
“They also tackle the World Wars, geography, cultural material (and) literature,” Mingonet added. “It’s all encompassing.”
Spelling is also part of the competition, Horan pointed out. “We only had one spelling question, but I got it right—Machiavelli.”
Satarian said the bonus question was a bit of a poser. “It was about Disney characters,” he expounded with a grimace.
Guthrie said the team finished first out of the 16 competing after earning 70 points in the first round and another 70 in the second. Hillgrove entered the preliminaries with a score of 140 and finished with 215, he added.
Satarian said the preparation was the hardest part, along with “holding yourself back at the buzzer."
"You had to, really, because you had points subtracted if you made an incorrect guess," he explained.
Horan said his favorite part of the competition was “the smiles on everybody’s faces when we realized we had won.”
Mingonet said that this will be the first time the team has been to a championship since the NJROTC program at Hillgrove started less than two years ago.
“I just want to see them perform to their best level," he said. We’ll go and see what we can get on April 30.”
Unfortunately for the Hillgrove NJROTC Academic Team, that’s the same day members of their unit will be helping out with a 5K run at Lost Mountain Baptist Church to benefit the Cobb County Police Honor Guard.
The simultaneous events mean fewer unit members will be available to cheer on their team, Mingonet acknowledged, but “it’s important that we help out with the Honor Guard in the 5K. They need and deserve our support.”
The captain said that no matter what the outcome is at the championship, the team is a winner.
“Each year you gain more knowledge," he said. "This is the first year for most of them, so they’ve only just started. These guys really surprised everyone.”
Correction: This article originally spelled Houtan Satarian's named Howtan.