Edina Economics Team places 10th in the nation at National Economics Challenge

Kyra Bergerud, staff writer

The National Economics Challenge is unlike any other competition in the nation. Created specifically for high school economics students to demonstrate their knowledge, it attracts some of the best and brightest in the nation.

The highest scorers on a practice test, seniors Davis Everson-Rose, Michael Zappa and Richard Zhu, and junior Ravneet Anand were selected to make up Edina’s competing team.  After winning state and advancing to semifinals, it’s clear the team achieved great things this year.

A large reason for their success was their extraordinary ability to be efficient and work together as a team. “I think that they recognized each other’s value to the team. They had the ability to contribute when they were confident, but also to trust in each other’s abilities and defer. It was clear that everyone felt an obligation to the team,” AP Economics teacher and head coach Steven Cullison said.

On April 11, the team took first place at the statewide tournament held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. After three rounds of online tests, a quizbowl event was held. Competing against Edina was the team from Mounds View High School, the previous year’s state champions. After being tied up to the last question out of 12, Edina was able to take the lead, winning by a single point.

“The finish came right down to the wire between us and Mounds View. The last round was a quiz bowl style round and so essentially, we were going back and forth until the last question, the score was tied, and we were able to answer the question, so it was a really exciting finish for us because we got to win by one point,” Everson-Rose said.

The win at state gave these four students the opportunity to compete in the national semifinal championships, involving a series of on online exams to determine the top eight teams in the nation, who will proceed to nationals in New York this summer.  

After their success at state, the team was ready to prepare for a more rigorous challenge during the semifinals, “We were really happy, but we did want to stay focused on studying more. The semi-final round was significantly harder than the state tournament, so we really focused on studying,” Everson-Rose said.

After awaiting the results, Edina placed 10th of 11,000 teams in the nation, an incredibly successful finish; however, they will not continue on to nationals in New York. “Recently the team competed against all of the other state winners in the country. The top eight teams would have been flown out to New York City for the national finals. Our team came in 10th in the nation. Very close. It was actually after the state championship that they worked the hardest, I believe. It was close, but 10th in the nation is awfully good,” said Cullison.

Despite this loss, the Edina Economics team gained a lot from the experience. “I’ve learned a lot more about some ideas in economics that we didn’t really touch on in the AP economics class, including international trade which we haven’t gotten to yet,” Everson-Rose said.

Although the team will not be advancing to nationals, it’s clear that they, along with Cullison, worked hard for their success.