This Sunday, the public learned that Cooperstown had done it again: the school became the first in the history of the “Double Down” quiz show to win back-to-back championships.

“Double Down” is a quiz show broadcast on WCNY. The show pits high school quiz teams of five students against each other in three-on-three matches in a knockout competition, although this year teams had to win a qualifying round to enter. Subjects on which the students are quizzed in the show include English, math, science and geography. This season was the show’s 10th.

Although the championship game was played Nov. 17, the final match was first broadcast Feb. 15. The contest saw defending champion Cooperstown face off against Bishop Ludden, a Catholic school from the Syracuse area.

The three team members who represented Cooperstown in the final were Jacob Russell, Thomas Knight and Robert Iversen, while Bishop Ludden was represented by David Flood, Cameron Rustay and Marisa Ruane-Foster.

Cooperstown took an initial lead in the 20 Questions Round of the event. This round involved members from each team having to answer questions without assistance, with each correct answer worth 10 points. Each team was asked 10 questions total, and Cooperstown got nine answers right to Bishop Ludden’s five, giving them a 90-50 lead going into the Double Down Round, where Bishop Ludden was able to make up the difference.

In the Double Down Round, all students on a team could confer among themselves before answering a question, and a correct answer was worth 20 points. A team could then choose to “Double Down” and answer another question in a subject area of its choice. A correct answer would yield another 40 points, while an incorrect answer would cause the team to lose 20 points. Teams could only “Double Down” three times total. Bishop Ludden ended this round on top 170-150, after getting two Double Down questions right in a row.

This brought on the Lightning Round, which involved a member from each team getting to answer as many questions as possible over 45 seconds, with the student being able to receive input from teammates throughout. Each correct answer was worth 10 points.

Cooperstown out-performed Bishop Ludden this round, getting seven answers right to Bishop Ludden’s six. However, Bishop Ludden still lead 230-220 going into the final round.

In the final round, both teams were asked a single question: In modern tradition, who administers the presidential oath of office? Each team could wager as many points as they wanted on this question, and would gain that number of points if they answered correctly. However, if they answered incorrectly, they would lose that amount. Cooperstown wagered 200 points, and answered correctly with: chief justice of (the) Supreme Court. Bishop Ludden wagered 225 points and answered incorrectly with: previous president. This gave Cooperstown the title, with the final score being Cooperstown 420, Bishop Ludden 5.

In addition to making Cooperstown the show’s first back-to-back champion, the win made CCS the first school to win the competition three times, its first win having been in the program’s third season.

In the middle of the program, host Bill Baker interviewed all six students, asking them the best piece of advice they had ever received. Iversen said it was, “take every opportunity that gives itself to you.” Russell quoted CCS social studies teacher Glen Noto as saying every Friday, “Have a good weekend and don’t be stupid.” Knight said his pastor always tells him to keep a sense of perspective.

While the interviews were going on, a graphic for each contestant showed answers to three questions: What person inspired you? What is your dream vacation? What is your dream career? Iversen answered Henry Nicols, Norway or Poland and physicist. Russell answered his mom, Antarctica and football general manager. Knight answered Mr. Iversen, Europe and economist. 

The championship, as well as other matches in this year’s competition, can be watched online at www.wcny.org/television/doubledown.

Greg Klein and Teresa Winchester contributed to this story.

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