MBA remains Academic Challenge Bowl champ


The 2018 Middle School Academic Challenge Bowl championship was awarded to the Marianas Baptist Academy last Friday for the second year in a row. The team scored 845 points during the competition that was held at the Saipan Southern High School cafeteria. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

Marianas Baptist Academy took home Saturday the middle school Academic Challenge Bowl championship for the second consecutive year.

MBA came out on top of 11 other middle schools across the island at the 23rd Annual Academic Challenge Bowl competition middle school edition held last Friday at the Saipan Southern High School cafeteria.

The MBA’s junior high competitors dominated the contest with a whooping final score of 845.

The MBA team consisted of team members Deancey Chua, Lyndon Digno, Keith Villasin, Sebastian Bernardo, and team leader Joanah Jimenez.

MBA instructor/coach Manuel Castro attributed the MBA team’s feat on spiritual guidance, the prayers of their minister, and parental support.

Castro said he prepared the students for the competition with loads of studying, not just for his students but also for himself. “I prepared a lot of materials. I study for myself and then I give it to my students,” he said.

The fact that MBA did so well last year only added to the pressure on Castro and his team to do equally well this year. Castro acknowledged that it was not easy. It took about a month of preparation and it even took unpaid weekend study sessions.

According to Jimenez, she and her team worked really hard and practiced everyday after classes and during the weekends.

Although it was hard to balance practice, schoolwork, and their social lives, Jimenez is proud of how the hard work paid off.

Coming in at second place was Saipan International School with 800 points. The SIS competitors were Anastasia Shamanaeva, Mylan Goodwin, Christina Kim, Hyeon Jae Park, and Hyeonbin Jeong.

In third place with 760 points was Grace Christian Academy. The competitors were Richard Villagomez, Susan Villagomez, Gabriel Retardo, Miku Kimura, and James Keaton.

The fourth place winner was Agape Christian School with a score of 725. The competitors were Silas Xu, Kevin Tang, Kyla Carino, and Victoria Ancheta.

The eight other competing schools were Chacha Oceanview Middle School, Dandan Middle School, San Antonio Middle School, Green Meadow School, Hopwood Middle School, Mount Carmel School, Northern Marianas International School, and Saipan Community School.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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