As the scores climbed, the teens' shrieking and fist-pumping grew ever more frenzied. A few of the mind-benders were so arcane that even the announcer had trouble pronouncing words best suited for a chemistry textbook.
For Alemany senior Nikki Reyes, 18, the most memorable bit of brain trivia she learned was "that fish is good for your brain." Something about the fatty acids, apparently.
Reyes, who does not like fish, skipped the seafood and instead ate a turkey sandwich before the competition.
In the showdown among public schools outside the district, a team from El Rancho beat 57 schools, scoring 48 out of a possible 60 points. Burbank and Palos Verdes high schools tied for second with 46 points each. West High School in Torrance, which won the Super Quiz portion last year, came in third with 45 points.
The students from the public schools outside the district took the quiz in classrooms earlier in the morning. The final answers and scores were announced publicly in the afternoon at the Morningside High School gymnasium.
Still, the gymnasium was buzzing with excitement as students learned whether their long months of studying had paid off.
Eric Gomez, a senior from El Rancho who competed for the first time, won a gold medal for earning a perfect score of 10 in one round. He was motivated, he said, by a desire to show up his older brother, an honor student who graduated two years earlier.
Times staff writer Hugo Martin and correspondent Sue Fox contributed to this story.