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Third in the country ... Amy Clarke (12), Liz Lamb (13), James Strang (12) and Boston Setefano (11) proud winners, taking third place in the national Kids' Lit Quiz.

Blue Mountain College pupils have returned home after scooping third place in the Kids’ Lit Quiz in Wellington last week.

The quiz is an annual literature competition, in which teams of four pupils, aged 10 to 13, work together to answer wide-ranging literary questions.

The team won the regional finals last year and had been diligently training every day preparing for the nationals.

Blue Mountain College principal Lindy Cavanagh-Monaghan said the questions were incredibly hard, lateral and obtuse at times.

“They could not anticipate questions, and there was no guessing what the catagories were.

“The questions could go from myths, legends, classics and everything in between,” Mrs Cavanagh-Monaghan said.

She said part of their success was their huge knowledge base but also technique.

“Hitting those buzzers could make or break their scores.

“If answered correctly they got two points, incorrectly minus one.

“Quite the strategy.”

The fact that three of the team had participated at the nationals last year helped, as they knew what they were in for, Mrs Cavanagh-Monaghan said.

“They showed calmness under fire, and wonderful sportsmanship.”

Mrs Cavanagh-Monaghan said having a competition using and portraying the strength of literature was thrilling.

“Being able to compete and extend themselves with their mental abilities is so rewarding.

“It is lovely to think these kids from a small rural school are footing it on stage with pupils from the larger schools.”

All four were thrilled to have been placed third.

Liz Lamb knew it was her last competition, as she will turn 14 in July.

“Coming away in third place is an awesome way to finish,” Liz said.

“We put in a lot of hours and hard work. It was worth it.”

Boston Setefano (11), James Strang (12) and Amy Clarke (12) were all rapt with the result, and proud to represent their school.