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Chaska Hawks
Chaska, MN
Club President None
Coaches Tucker Besel (head coach 2018-present), Naomi Jones (assistant coach 2019-present)
State Championships MNHSQB League: 1992, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2009
Science Bowl: 2003, 2004, 2006
KMO: spring 1992, spring 1993, spring 2003
Knowledge Bowl: 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2009, 2012
National Championships none
National Appearances PACE: 2009
HSNCT: 2005, 2007-2019
NAC: 2006
Program Status Active
School Size ~1400

Chaska High School is a public high school in Chaska, Minnesota. Its quiz bowl team was founded by Jan Baker in the early 1980s and led to prominence by Chris Lenius in the 2000s. The 2006 Chaska team placed second at the 2006 NAC and the 2009 team tied for 7th at the 2009 HSNCT. That team also also attended the program's only PACE NSC. Chaska has been a very steady program for most of the 21st century, and they have attended HSNCT every year since 2004, excepting the very good 2006 team that chose to attend the NAC instead. Many Chaska alumni have gone on to compete for the University of Minnesota's quiz bowl team.

Chaska Hawks roster

Seniors (Class of 2021)

  • Ethan Abbe
  • Isaac Baych
  • Rand Bovard (C)
  • Stephen Carlson
  • Brenden Lane
  • Jamie Lyman (A)

Juniors (Class of 2022)

  • Maxwell Eriksrud
  • Joseph Hammerschmidt
  • Eliana Hanson
  • Reilly Melville (A)
  • Connor Paulsen


Sophomores (Class of 2023)

  • Eric Anderson
  • Tim Hagen
  • Jack Matthews

Freshmen (Class of 2024)

Other Players

  • Tucker Besel


  • Naomi Jones

Other Notable People

  • Chris Lenius (advisor)


(C) Captain

(A) Alternate Captain

Program History

Chaska High School's quiz bowl team was founded in 1982 by Language Arts teacher Jan Baker, who had seen Knowledge Bowl in Colorado and wanted to bring it to Minnesota. Baker remained the coach for the program's first few decades, when it competed mostly in Knowledge Bowl and the early forms of the Minnesota High School Quiz Bowl League. Much of the history of the program from its founding until the 1990s has been lost to history, but it is believed that Chaska competed and steadily improved throughout the 1980s. In 1992, the program broke through, sweeping that year's league, Knowledge Master Open, and Knowledge Bowl State Meet.

The rest of the 1990s saw continued success for the program, which won some form of state championship in 1992, 93, 95, 97, 99, and 2000. The 1993 Chaska team burst onto the national scene and finished second at that year's American Academic Challenge. That year's team also performed the incredible feat of placing both first and second at the 1993 Minnesota State Knowledge Bowl Meet.

With the turn of the century came the beginning of the NAQT era, which had a tremendous impact on the Chaska program. Founder and longtime coach Jan Baker retired in 2002 after a twenty year run with the team. She was succeeded by former player Chris Lenius, who was a member of the 1995 state championship squad and returned to Chaska High School as a teacher after graduating college. In the early 2000s, Lenius propelled the program to further heights, winning a state championship in 2003 and fiercely contending in other years.

The program reached a climax in 2006, when the top team, consisting of Rob Carson, Andrew Hart, Andrew Guyton, and Jon Martin, won a state championship and placed second at the 2006 NAC. However, that team chose not to attend HSNCT, making them the only Chaska team since 2004 to not attend. Carson, Hart, and Guyton went on to play quiz bowl in college, where Carson and Hart won the 2011 ICT with the University of Minnesota in addition to collecting undergraduate titles in 2009 and 2010. Chaska continued to be highly competitive in the late 2000s and peaked again in 2009, Sam Peterson's senior year, when they tied for 7th at HSNCT, the program's highest finish ever there.

The Chaska program suffered multiple setbacks around 2010. First came the retirement of its coach, Lenius, who accepted a position as the head of District 112's Gifted and Talented program. Second, Chanhassen High School opened as an in-district rival, and several rising stars in the Chaska program (most notably Austin Wilder) transferred to Chanhassen as the school district's attendance boundaries changed. Those two events marked the end of Chaska's "glory years," although the program continued to compete at the state level for much of the 2010s under new coach Jennifer Stone. Notable accomplishments during this time period include winning Run for the Roses in 2011 and 2012, as well as consistent top-10 finished at many other tournaments. The team slowly began to fade around 2014, in no small part due to the emergence of Minnesota powerhouses like Wayzata and Eden Prairie.

Chris Lenius returned to Chaska for the 2015-2016 season, just in time for the best years of a top Chaska class of 2017. Highlights of 2016-17 include top-10 finishes at every tournament attended and qualifying two teams for HSNCT for the first time since 2013. Lenius stayed as coach for two more years before retiring for good in the summer of 2018 to spend more time with his family. He was succeed by current coach Tucker Besel. Currently, Chaska is in a transitional period of trying to break back into the top tier of programs in the state.

Top Players

Following is a list of the top ten quiz bowlers in Chaska history that was compiled in 2019. This list was created with emphasis on both accomplishments while playing for Chaska as well as accomplishments elsewhere in players' careers.

1. Sam Peterson - Hands down, the greatest player in Chaska history. His career records for practically every statistic are nearly unbeatable, and he led the team to its best-ever finish at an HSNCT. Sam went on to play for Harvard, and will always have a place among the top historical high school players in Minnesota.

2. Rob Carson - Rob didn't play much in NAQT-sponsored tournaments for Chaska, so his statistics are somewhat incomplete. However, he was the driving force behind the 2006 Chaska team that is generally considered the best in school history. Rob's biggest achievements came in college with the University of Minnesota, where he won the 2011 ICT. He is now active in the quiz bowl community, and was a member of Team Humanity against QANTA at the 2016 HSNCT.

3. Andrew Hart - As with Rob, Andrew's high school statistics are incomplete, but he was an important piece of the 2006 Chaska squad. With the University of Minnesota, he won the 2009 and 2010 Underclassmen ICTs, as well as the 2011 ICT with Rob. Andrew is the University of Minnesota's career points leader, and he is now NAQT's Director of Writer Development.

4. Jeffrey Lyman - Probably the second-best player if you only count competitions with Chaska, Jeffrey is second-place all-time for Chaska to Sam Peterson in points, powers, tossups converted, and points per twenty tossups heard (he's also second in negs, if that matters). His career spanned the years immediately following Sam's graduation, which were a period of great success for Chaska, and he eventually passed the torch to the class of 2013, whose members are further down this list.

5. Jacob "Coby" Oertel - Another standard-bearer for Chaska, Coby was one of the best players on very good mid 2010s teams that competed locally but never got over the hump nationally. He sits third in Chaska history in tossups converted and career points and now attends the University of Minnesota.

6. Emily Goldberg - Along with Mark Meier, she led the 2013 Chaska team to a third-place finish in the 2012-13 MNHSQBL. Emily sits second in Chaska history in tossups heard, third in games played, fourth in career points and tossups converted, and fifth in powers. She is also unquestionably the best female player in Chaska history.

7. Sean Zipse - The second head of the two-headed monster that was the class of 2017, Zipse started his career slowly but grew to become sometimes spectacular, including a pair of 25-power Run for the Roses. However, he also has 32 career negs at HSNCTs, and racked up another 18 at the 2017 NAQT Minnesota State Championship. Sean is third in Chaska history in powers and fourth in negs.

8. Mark Meier - Along with Emily Goldberg, Mark contributed heavily to the class of 2013's very good team. He was also involved with a Knowledge Bowl event to raise money for cancer research, which was started after then-Chaska player Tommy Costello was diagnosed with cancer. Mark is first in Chaska history in tossups heard and games played, fourth in powers, and fifth in tossups converted and career points.

9. Andrew Guyton - Andrew played during the mid 2000s, so he only competed in five NAQT-sponsored tournaments for Chaska. However, he was pretty darn good when he did play, being a solid player on the 2006 team starring Rob Carson and Andrew Hart. Andrew went on to play for Macalester College, where he was likely the best player in team history.

10. Daniel Wyre - One of the many solid rank-and-file players that Chaska has made a program out of developing, Wyre is considered the "best of the rest," beating out T.J. Kegel, Josh Hagen, Rory Bartels, and others for this spot. He played in 17 tournaments for Chaska in the early 2010s, and sits sixth in Chaska history in points, sevenths in tossups converted, and eighth in powers.

Chaska alumni

There are several noted Chaska alumni in the college quiz bowl community that aren't mentioned above, including:

Chaska tournaments

In 2007, Chaska hosted a mirror of the Titanomachy tournament, which was attended by several teams on the Saturday before ACF Fall. Drake, consisting of Brendan Byrne, won the tournament over a Minnesota team featuring Rob Carson and Gautam Kandlikar.

NAQT Minnesota State Championship Champion
Preceded by
Succeeded by
(inaugural season)
St. Thomas (MN)
NAQT Minnesota State Championship Champion
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Eden Prairie
Eden Prairie

External links