STERLING – The team from Newman Central Catholic High School went undefeated to emerge champions of the 31st annual Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl State Tournament.
In Division A, sectional winners Newman, Rockridge in Taylor Ridge, and Riverdale in Port Byron, members of the Three Rivers Conference, competed March 1 at Springfield High School.
Newman's team members played five matches in the morning without a single loss, then advanced to the semifinals, where they beat Cumberland High School, 240 to 200.
They whipped Carterville High School, 260 to 130, to take the championship.
The players who participated in the Masonic competition were Jacob Ardis, Nate Edison, Andy Eifel and Todd Nelson, Ken Ellorando, Jakob Frank, Elliott Frankfother, Dillon Gallantine, Luke Hodge and Matt Wagenecht.
Eighteen Division A schools and 22 Division AA schools competed in the sectionals. Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora took the 2A title.
In addition to trophies and bragging rights, the winning teams each received a $1,500 award from the Illinois Masons.
This tournament was not part of Illinois High School Association competition. Newman, Morrison and Riverdale each host IHSA regional tournaments this afternoon. Regionals are the first level of competition in the Illinois state series; teams that win the regionals advance to Saturday's sectionals. (The winners at Morrison and Newman will play at the Keith Country Day School in Rockford.)
Sectional winners go on to IHSA state finals, which will be held March 21 at Peoria Civic Center.
Go to www.masonicbowl.org for results of this competition, and to ihsa.org for its results.