Bringing home a national title is nothing new to students at Emerald Coast Middle School, but this year marks a first.

On June 26, four students from ECMS became third place winners in the nation, beating 23 other teams from around the country in the Beta Club National Quiz Bowl Competition.

This is no small feat. The students, Sophia Bock, Luke Messer, Eric Plunk and Olivia Tucker, competed at the Beta Club State Competition in Orlando in November. There they went up against dozens of other teams from Florida to become first place Quiz Bowl winners in the state.

The top three Quiz Bowl teams from the state competition are invited to compete at the national competition which is held in June in a different location across the country each year. This year, the national competition was held in Orlando. Tucker could not attend nationals so ECMS student Lily Jamison took her place and the national team was ready to go.

The first round of the Quiz Bowl competition at nationals was a written test taken by each team. Those test results narrow the competitors down from 25 teams to eight teams. Team ECMS secured one of those eight spots to advance to the Quiz Bowl Finals — the oral rounds of the competition — but they didn’t stop there. After more intense oral rounds, with questions that most adults couldn’t answer, these students earned their place among the top four teams of the competition. They came home as third place winners in the Junior Beta Club National Quiz Bowl Competition.

ECMS student Lily Gibson also earned a spot at the Junior Beta Nationals in the Visual Arts Competition with her painting that won third place at the state competition.