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Wilton High Challenge Team Wins by a Hair

WILTON, Conn. – After a close match, Wilton High School's MSG Varsity Challenge Team came out victorious in the second round of the Connecticut division.

The team topped Jonathan Law High School, 370-330, in the televised match that aired Tuesday night. The close score of this second match was in sharp contrast to its first match in which the team beat Brien McMahon High School by nearly 300 points, 455-170.

“We’re feeling pretty good,” senior Will Jankowski said about the win.

“I feel that winning by such a small margin made it an incredibly thrilling match,” said Mohsin Jawed, a senior at Wilton High School. The past two matches have “been a blast,” he said. “This year it’s just been a lot of fun.”

What was nice, they all said, was having their classmates in the audience cheering them. Team captain and senior Simon Brewer said it added a little bit more pressure. “There was more energy in the air.” But, he said, it was good energy.

“I think they went in there with a certain amount of confidence because they’re really smart kids,” said Terry Ragazzini, the team’s academic adviser. When she chooses the teams, she said she looks for students with a diversity of knowledge. She wants someone who knows about Broadway and another who knows about physics.

“I try to find a balance with the kids participating,” Ragazzini said.

Brewer said, “We’ve sort of divvied up areas.” Jankowski is studying musicals, Brewer will be looking at the 100 best books and Jawed is learning about art and architecture.

But, Brewer said, they’ll also be working on their buzzer skills after the school got a new system. “It’s really based on how good your reaction times are,” Jankowski said.

Overall, the students say they enjoy the atmosphere and challenge of being on "The Challenge."

“I love the atmosphere of the studio, being there. Ever since I was little I’ve been in love with games and challenges, stuff like that,” said Jack Jankowski, a junior and the team's alternate.

And the youngest – and only girl – on the team Molly Hoch agreed. Her brother, Jason Hoch, was on the "Challenge" team four years ago when the team won the Connecticut division. She said he didn’t push her to join the team, but “it’s a little intimidating” being the youngest.

They all say they’re looking forward to their next match. The opponent and time have not yet been announced.

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