By ROBERT CARTER
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The preliminary rounds have concluded, and the first five rounds of the main round-robin are in the books on the second day of the 50th Assemblies of God Teen Bible Quiz National Finals.
In the Championship Division, four teams that most BQ fans expected to finish near the top of the standings are off to a good start. Praise Assembly of Garfield, N.J.; the defending champions from Oawsso, Okla. Assembly; James River Assembly of Ozark, Mo.; and Victorious Life Center of Wesley Chapel, Fla. are all undefeated and atop the ladder after the first five rounds. Garfield is technically on top on points, but not by much.
Behind the top four is a group of six teams with 3-2 records, led by Pocono Community Church of Mt. Pocono, Pa. and Bellevue, Wash. Neighborhood Church, who have 600 total points each to stand in a flat-footed tie for fifth place.
In the individual standings, two quizzers who have already been selected among the best quizzers to ever play the game are battling for the lead. Daniel Wagner of Owasso leads two-time top individual Abby Rogers of Wesley Chapel by the slimmest of margins -- five points. Wagner has scored 620 points (124 avg. per game) while Rogers has 615 (123 avg.). Josh George of Ozark is close behing with 595 points (119 avg.).
In the Challenger Division, three teams are tied for the lead with perfect 5-0 records. Newport Mesa Church of Costa Mesa, Calif. (which just missed advancing to the Championship Division by losing a Group E preliminary-round playoff); Word of Life Church of Springfield, Va.; and Living Hope Church of Colorado Springs, Colo. Three more teams are one game behind them.
Play continues Tuesday with 10 round-robin games, to be followed by the last four rounds on Wednesday morning and the Final Four playoffs that afternoon. Results will be posted at bq.ag.org throughout the day.
Robert Carter is the official statistican for the Teen Bible Quiz National Finals. He is a sports editor for The North Jefferson News in Gardendale, Ala., and attends Garywood Assembly of God in Hueytown, Ala. (John A. Loper, Jr., pastor).