The Student News Site of Rush-Henrietta Senior High School

The Comet Chronicle

The Comet Chronicle

The Student News Site of Rush-Henrietta Senior High School

The Comet Chronicle

The Comet Chronicle

World history, poetry, calculus: R-H MasterMinds teams rack up victories in the 2023-2024 season

Interviews with Rush Henrietta MasterMinds advisers and members

Kicking off the new season in November, the Rush Henrietta Varsity MasterMinds team has been able to score an incredible eleven wins out of twelve matches this season. The JV team was able to score eight wins. Both teams amassed a spectacular amount of points. 

On April 17, 2024, the Rush Henrietta Varsity MasterMinds defeated both Greece Arcadia and Greece Olympia, winning 235 to 35 points and 250 to 105 points, respectively. With star player Chloe Colosimo, earning over 300 points across this year’s meets, the team tallied yet another win during the 2023-2024 school year.

Scoring a total of 2,530  points combined, R-H Varsity MasterMinds members are ecstatic to expand their legacy of victories and teamwork throughout 2024!

Founded by Scott Kroner in 1995, MasterMinds is a high school trivia bowl held in upstate New York with participation from schools in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse. Meeting every Monday afterschool, MasterMinds is an opportunity for R-H students to challenge themselves in competition all while creating a community of students with a passion for seeking knowledge. From there, they move on to meets once a month with five additional teams within each league. Groups face two teams at each meet, with matches divided into sets of eight Toss-Up questions and eight Bonus questions. 

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History teachers and advisers of R-H’s MasterMinds teams since the 2000s, Mr. Jason Nudds and Mr. MartyMiller provide a vivid reflection on their experience with the after-school program.


What initially motivated you to become an adviser for this program?

Mr. Miller: Originally I was working with an individual. They asked me, “hey, would you be willing to take these two clubs on?” and I said “tell me about them.” They said “you travel around, compete with other schools, you have a tournament at the end of the year if you make it that far. Practice once a week, competition once a month.” I said alright and signed up for it. 

Mr. Nudds: I love trivia, always have. I’ve always been a big Jeopardy fan. I never competed in trivia in high school, but I started competing in college and then after college with friends just for fun. 


What do you enjoy most about running MasterMinds?

Miller: Just watching the kids grow – the comradery when they’re competing is really, it’s sort of the best part of it. Of course, they have fun on the bus ride to and from, but it’s the friendship component that comes out of it. Some of these kids end up being lifelong friends and their connection in this case is their participation in this club. 

Nudds: The students are fantastic and have a lot of interesting personalities. I really enjoy learning more everyday and asking questions. I guess delivering answers and feedback to students helps me learn things better, so I enjoy that end of it. I enjoy my co-adviser Mr. Miller; we have a lot of fun with it. 


How do you prepare students for competitions?

Nudds: So generally during a practice, we’ll go through a simulated competition environment where we’ll divide the room and two halves and people will ring in on toss-up questions and talk together about bonus responses.

Miller: We have a series of questions in these big binders, and they are given to us, it’s a subscription almost. [One] is about art, one is about literature – it’s everything under the sun. We literally have binders full of these questions and we get new questions every year, we print them out and in practice we go through them. 

Nudds: We give them study packets at the beginning of each year with the most frequently asked questions so they can prepare in different, more broad categories. Honestly, a lot of the preparation is individual for the competitors. It’s coursework in school: they’ll be asked United States history questions, for example, chemistry questions. A lot of our kids tend to take the AP level courses and [they] use that to excel. 


What would you tell students who are considering joining?

Miller: It’s just a great opportunity to challenge yourself, I mean it’s a different type of competition. Everybody thinks that the only types of competition out there are athletic.

Nudds: Join, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a thing where you will be able to contribute in some way, shape, or form. You don’t have to be an expert in chemistry or psychology or computational math. Even if you know pop culture stuff, sports trivia, if you know anime, they ask questions about everything. 

Miller: It’s ultimately “how much do you know?” and every trivia under the sun you could possibly imagine. So there’s science, art, literature, geography, math; you name it, and it’s out there. Pop culture, politics – it’s all in there. 

Nudds: And it’s a good thing for college resumes, colleges like academic stuff for sure. It’s definitely a great way to look for like-minded people in a very supportive environment. 


The members of the program include: Miles Anderson , Reid Buttery, Chloe Colosimo, Max Mattice, Arielle Misra, Keir Olsen, Dibyansi Panda, Raj Vaghela, Ethan Yen, and Austin Zhang. Arielle Misra and Ethan Yen, both juniors, talk about their own participation in MasterMinds this year


How long have you been in Masterminds?

Ethan: About three years. 

Arielle: This is my second year doing it. 


Were you involved in ACB? If so, for how long?

Ethan: One year, until Covid. 

Arielle: I wasn’t. Burger didn’t offer it, it was never an option for us. 


Why did you decide to join MasterMinds?

Arielle: I’m pretty sure one of our friends invited me to go to one of the practices, and then I was like, “y’know, it’s pretty fun” and then I just kinda got into it. 

Ethan: Because the Academic Challenge Bowl was fun. 


How do you get ready for competitions?

Arielle: I mean we do our practices every week. Other than that, everyone has their own little niche for things they know a lot about. There’s sports people, there’s music people, there’s history and geography. I just kinda study literature, so I make sure I read a lot of classic books. We would quiz people with flashcards on random topics. 

Ethan: I don’t. [I] felt pretty good about the other meets. 


Are you ready for the upcoming events of this year?

Ethan: Yeah!

Arielle: I feel really good this year. We’ve only lost one, but we’ve won every single game I’ve taken part in. I have the second highest points on the team, so we’re pretty good. I think that, honestly, we’re probably going to make it to the next level. Like we’re gonna get into the sectionals, you’d call it? We’ve just been doing really, really good this year. 


Considering their most recent victory, R-H qualifies for the next level of competition. There is no doubt that our teams will continue to reach extraordinary heights as they progress far into the future!

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