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Athletics for the head

Northern Middle School Destination Imagination team shoots to state competition in Towson, Md.

Northern Middle School Destination Imagination team shoots to state competition in Towson, Md.

March 26, 2006|By PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN

Northern Middle School Boogie Knights team members positioned themselves around a large wood and PVC pipe structure Saturday morning, preparing themselves for a shootout ? not against each other, but against the clock.

When they were given the OK to start, the Destination Imagination team acted out a skit in South Hagerstown High School's gym during which members shot as many tennis balls as they could from one side of the structure to another within eight minutes.

The team took first place in its division in the "Back at You!" challenge and advanced to the state Destination Imagination tournament at Towson (Md.) University on April 22.

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Boogie Knights was one of 36 teams from Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties that competed Saturday at the Western Maryland Regional Destination Imagination Tournament at South High and Emma K. Doub School for the Arts and Integrated Technology, said Bob Brown, Destination Imagination regional "Back at You!" challenge master and Washington County Public Schools coordinator of testing and accountability.

First- and second-place teams in each division ? elementary, intermediate and secondary ? advanced to the state competition. From there, they could advance to the global competition, which will be held May 24 to 27 in Knoxville, Tenn.

"It's a different kind of competition," Brown said. "It's creative problem solving. This is what I'd call athletics for the head."

Creative problem solving competitions have been held in Washington County for the past 25 years, he said. Brown said there are "a lot of different solutions" to any of the four challenges DI members were charged with solving Saturday. He said the Walkersville High School "Back at You!" team, which took first place in its division, shot 211 pingpong balls back into their structure by arcing their shot.

Mark Kaniski is a Northern Middle School technology education teacher and manager of five of the school's teams, four of which advanced to the state competition Saturday. He said Rob McCoy also helped.

He said the students really make the competition exciting.

"When they come up with the solution, you oughta see their faces light up," he said.

Aside from the central challenge, teams also were judged on an "instant challenge," an improvised problem-solving question, Brown said.

David Burkey, a member of the Northern Middle School Boogie Knights team, said he enjoys the improvisational challenges. Their central challenge used a lot of improvisation, too, he said.

Andy Krehbiel, 13, a Boogie Knights member, said his team practiced every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and after school on Wednesdays.

Bill Anderson's daughter, Sarah, 9, a fourth-grader at Emma K. Doub, worked on the "Back at You!" challenge in her division.

"It's neat. We enjoy it," Bill Anderson said. "It's good for the kids to work on aspects outside the school scene."

Sarah's team, the Doub Diamond Miners, took third place in its division.

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