The Highland Hills Elementary School team representing Region 6 of the Oregon Battle of the Books had its eye on the prize.
Out of the hundreds of elementary schools who participated in the Battle of the Books program this school year, only the top 25 teams are allowed to compete, said Kristi Smalley, Hermiston elementary librarian.
Team members Reagan Stanek, Avena Garrett, Hailey Magallanes and Alea Garrett were focused on making it to bracketed play during the April 7 event at Chemeketa Community College in Salem. None of the previous teams from the district’s elementary schools who had qualified for the state competition had made it that far, Smalley said.
After two rounds of pool play, the top 16 teams who would move to bracketed play were announced in the auditorium. Starting with the first place team of Alameda, the Highland Hills team anxiously awaited to find out if their point total would allow them to continue the battle. The shouts of joy when “Highland Hills” was announced as the 16th team to qualify very well may have been heard on the east side of the state, Smalley said.
After an extremely close match ending 30 to 35 points, the top-seeded team from Alameda defeated the Highland Hills team by one question. There was still much to celebrate, Smalley said, since this was the first team from Highland Hills to make it to the state competition.
A send-off celebration on Friday emphasized showing “Husky Pride. The Highland Hills team members, Smalley said, worked very hard and answered some extremely difficult questions.
“I was especially proud of the girls when they went up to the Alameda team members and congratulated them on the win,” Smalley said. “I also want to thank their parents and extended family members for making the trip to Salem to support these amazing readers.”