After all rigorous rounds of testing, the final round of the Finance Challenge state competition came down to two teams — both from Hannibal High School.

After all rigorous rounds of testing, the final round of the Finance Challenge state competition came down to two teams — both from Hannibal High School.

The junior and senior Finance Challenge Teams, under the leadership of Business Teacher and team leader Kurt Haner, finished the state competition ahead of every other participating school in Missouri. The junior team and senior teams were closely matched, with the juniors winning the first two rounds and the seniors entering the final quiz bowl section one question in the lead. With national competition ahead for the senior competitors, the team is eager to reach the top level again.

“It was a really fun experience and it was really exciting by the end of it,” senior Jordan Held said. “We were all kind of in shock that we got it, but it was a good shock because it was just so much excitement and everyone had a great time. I can’t have asked for anything better.”

Fellow senior Joe Karlinski said regular meetings each Thursday since the end of September, constant review of quizzes and vocabulary in Haner’s classroom helped the team members reach their milestone together. Haner said the teams also met during two evenings after school for additional practice. Pranati Parikh, who has competed in the Finance Challenge Team for three years, said she and her teammates were prepared thanks to Haner’s experienced leadership being part of “a team that works hard.” She said the Finance Feud fundraiser — where the team members competed against bank managers and financial personnel from HOMEBANK, F&M Bank, Brad Kurz’s Edward Jones office, Benson Financial Group, Commerce Bank and Hannibal National Bank— prepared the teams for the fast-paced quiz bowl. Parikh remembered her feeling of relief when that round arrived, knowing that both Hannibal teams had emerged with top honors.

Dalton Goewey pores over all of the study materials during each step of the process as Haner’s assistant. He said he is excited to be preparing case studies — the first time they will be incorporated in the national level competition. These new components will “even the playing field,” since each team will be studying case studies for the first time this year. He is planning on meeting more frequently with the team to prepare for the next level of competition.

Held said his fellow team members will be prepared for “honing in all of our collaborative knowledge” toward the new case studies. Karlinski agreed that the team would be working to do their best work on the case studies as the national competition in Kansas City draws closer.

Looking ahead, the juniors are also prepared to study the new case studies along with their senior colleagues, as they prepare for next year’s pursuit of a first-place national title. With their first year at the state competition under their belts, each junior took away a unique experience.

“I felt from the beginning that the team that we put together had a solid chance for success,” said junior Hunter Hazen. Fellow junior Gavin Booth agreed, commending Haner for making the experience fun.

“Personally, I really enjoyed the nighttime studying when we came at 7 o’clock and worked until 9, just us eight working to better prepare for this,” he said. He joined fellow juniors Evan Wallace and Matthew Craven in celebrating their success at state and looking ahead future sucess.

Craven said he enjoyed working with friends who shared an interest in finance, and he said that bringing home national honors would be special for the team and for Haner, who is pursuing his doctorate and will retire after one more year at Hannibal High School.

“This is kind of been on my bucket list for my kids to be first in the nation before I leave,” Haner said. “We’ve been second in the nation. We’d love to go together.”

“It will be his last year, Craven said. “So we definitely got to get nationals, we’ve got to get first place.”

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com