For the third consecutive year, Canton Elementary School’s reading team, the B.o.B. Squad, brought home a first place trophy from the North Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Reading Competition. The competition, commonly referred to as the Battle of the Books, was held in Northern Tioga, at Williamson Junior-Senior High School, on Saturday, April 6. Forty teams competed, 22 at the elementary level, six at the junior high level, and 12 at the high school level.
In the first speed round, captained by Ben Fitch, Canton played against the team Jurassic Book from East Lycoming. The two teams both scored 16 out of a possible 20 points. Isabel Schoonover led the team in round two, with the B.o.B. Squad garnering 18 points to the nine points earned by Southern Tioga’s Book Crooks from Warren L. Miller School. Brendon Tuttle served as captain for speed round three, in which Canton played against the Bippity Boppity Book Readers from Sullivan County. The B.o.B. Squad again led the bout, with 19 points to their opponents 11 points.
Following the speed rounds, the teams went to the cafeteria to take a break, eat lunch, and await the announcement that would tell which teams would play against one another in the championship round. In this round, teams are given the opportunity to earn an extra point if they are able to correctly answer a question missed by their opponent.
When the pairings were announced, Canton’s B.o.B. Squad was matched with Troy’s team, Bowser’s Books 1. Canton and Troy have a long tradition of being one another’s fiercest enemy as well as closest ally. Everyone in the room wanted the two teams to take the top trophies, and many had ties to both communities, making for a lot of tension.
Troy went into the round with 56 points to Canton’s 53, so the B.o.B. Squad would be unable to come out ahead of the Bowsers unless they were able to score some points missed by their opponents. Ben Fitch captained for Canton, and when scores were announced at the halfway point in the round, the team had earned 11 points to Troy’s eight, making for an overall tie.
During the second half of the round, both teams had eight correct answers and two misses, but Troy stole only one point, and Canton stole both. In an incredibly close, tense match, the B.o.B. Squad led Bowser’s Bookies by a single point, 74 to 73. However, it remained to be seen what other teams had scored in their matches.
The awards ceremony took place in the crowded gymnasium. Winners for the elementary level were announced first. Third place: the Knight Lights from Saint John Newman in Williamsport. Second Place: Bowser’s Bookies 1 from Troy. The announcement was met with wild cheering from all the fans from both Troy and Canton. Finally, the first place team was announced: the B.o.B. Squad from Canton. As the team ran to collect their trophy, ribbons and book, the Canton supporters applauded wildly, joined by the Troy fans. It was a day of victory for both teams, both schools, and both communities.
The B.o.B. Squad, sponsored by the Canton P.T.A., comprises sixth graders Ava Allen, Ben Fitch, Brendon Tuttle, and Isabel Schoonover, fifth graders Blake Barnes, Emma McGhee, Ethan May, and Rory Scott, and fourth graders Danah Wesneski, Stella Rockwell, and Wyatt Hilton. The team is coached by Rosalie Cease, Holly Keegan, Katie Steever, Claire Waldmeyer, and Kelsey Weed.
Winning teams at the junior high school level were: first place, New York Orcas from Tunkhannock; second place, We’re Fully Booked from Troy; and third place, Call Number Cowboys from Northern Tioga. At the high school level, first place went to Infinity Books from Northern Tioga, second place to Barnes and Her Noble Nerds from Southern Tioga, and third place to Sherlock Homies of Sullivan County.