Middlesex Middle School's Quiz Bowl teams showed that Darien is "doing something right" at the Fall/Winter 2012 Knowledge Master Open, conducted in December, according to Barbara Ivey, one of the co-coaches.

"People told us how well the kids work together and complimented them on how polite they were," Ivey said. "We came away (from the KMO) feeling ... wow."

The eighth-grade team placed first in Connecticut and fourth in the world against 508 other schools at the KMO, an international tournament conducted twice a year in which participants answer 200 questions on a computer at their own schools.

"We feel very proud," said Porter Bowman, captain of the eighth-grade team, about the fourth-place finish. "We also feel that coming in fourth means that we have the possibility of coming in first."

Julia Tong, the only seventh-grader on the eighth-grade team, said the group realized it had a lot of potential.

"We all agreed that we didn't do our best," eighth-grader Katherine Du said.

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Co-coach Ken Romeo created the teams three years ago because he did Quiz Bowl when he was in middle and high school.

"It was fun," Romeo said. "I was competitive, and trivia was something I was good at. It gave me an outlet for my competitive nature, and it does the same for them."

Placing fourth in the world doesn't come without practice, though, and these kids make sure they do so every day.

Every morning, a group of team members meets in the library with Ivey to practice questions about pop culture, math, history and more, Tong said.

"The kids are so dedicated," Ivey said. They also practice after school on Thursdays, when the 35 students are split into smaller teams and asked questions. They use a buzzer system to determine who answers first.

One of the problems with having a team, Romeo said, was that there's not a lot of local competition. In response, Middlesex started its own tournament, the Charter Oak Scholastic Open. Last year, schools from New Jersey, Boston and around Connecticut competed, Romeo said.

This year, it will take place Sunday, Jan. 27. The teams also travel to other schools throughout the year to compete in national academic quiz tournaments.

The Middlesex Middle School Eighth-Grade Team members are Porter Bowman (captain), J.P. Barce, Michael Borecki, Lizzie Borecki, Claire Borecki, Julia Tong, Jason Poon, Aditya Krishnamachar, Teddy Nolan, Colin Shaughnessy, Arija Forsyth, Brendan Berrigan, Tommy Paul, Johnathan Stimpson, Will Brandan, Katie Cunningham, Katherine Du and James Johnson.

The Middlesex Middle School Sixth/Seventh-Grade Team members are Sara Baldwin (captain), Evan Tong, Charlotte Juan, Alexandra van Dijkum, Caroline Orphanos, Thomas Brown, Folke Bruno, Sheena Zhao, Benjamin Zhao, Brendan Ross, Brett Peters, Greyson Etheredge, Catherine Garrett and Francesca DeVita

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