Byron's first place team is shown above (from left to right): Aric Jorgensen, Matt Willits, Andy Lambrecht, Olivia Lamb and Ava Hartman. Photo submitted.
By David Richards
It was a meeting of the minds.
More than a dozen fifth and sixth grades teams and the same number for seventh and eighth grades, met at Byron Middle School Jan. 31 for an academic triathlon competition.
Teams from the Zumbrota Education District compete multiple times a year, with the Jan. 31 meet the only one held in Byron.
"We have practices, but during competitions, they cannot talk to their parents and they can't talk to their coaches," said seventh and eighth grade coach Andrea Laning.
"So if they're placing, they're working well as a team and being super creative."
The Byron students did place, with the fifth and sixth graders earning first and second and the seventh and eighth graders earning second and third.
"They had a lot of energy," Laning said.
Teams compete in three different phases.
In the "mind sprint challenge," students work together to solve a type of puzzle.
The "face off" is a Jeopardy type phase with competitors buzzing in and answering questions about both current events as well as historic ones. And in "party in the box," students have 45 minutes to organize a skit or a play based on items given in a bag.
"I'm very proud," said Jane Krier, Byron's fifth and sixth grade coach. "They're good kids, and it's kind of nice to see something where they can compete with their minds."