CALUMET - They didn't even need a pass.
Ontonagon Area High School's Diamond Match Devils were the big winners at Thursday night's High School Local History Smackdown, held at the Calumet Theatre.
The Diamond Match Devils, consisting of Tom Croteau, Logan Graff, Shane Ollila and Dillan Thompson, clinched their victory in the 11th round, missing only one of their questions along the way in the double-elimination contest.
Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
Shane Ollila, Dillan Thompson, Logan Graff and Tom Croteau of the Ontonagon Area High School Diamond Match Devils hoist the winner's trophy for the 10th annual High School Local History Smackdown Thursday night at the Calumet Theatre.
It's the fourth straight year an Ontonagon team has won.
"I feel awesome," Croteau said. "It's victory. I don't mean to sound terrible, but it's fun."
3.14 Apple Pi from Baraga Area High School finished second, followed by third-place finishers the DB Blue Bolts of Dollar Bay High School and another Ontonagon team, Parker's Pirates.
This was the 10th year for the Smackdown, which included 12 teams from Baraga, Ontonagon, Jeffers High School, Houghton High School, L'Anse High School, Dollar Bay and B.R.I.D.G.E. Alternative High School.
The annual contest mixes oral and visual questions on local history topics ranging from mining practices and local landmarks. Students were asked about topics such as the Ojibwe name for copper (miscowaubik) and the town founded by Ransom Shelden on the northeast shore of Portage Lake in 1861 (Dollar Bay).
A second visual round was added this year incorporating photographs from the Michigan Technological University Archives. Questions included "In what traditional early spring activity are these men engaged?" for a photo of maple syrup-making.
Some questions also used local involvement to tie in to larger national issues, such as the Civil War or the Works Progress Administration. That was also the case with the Diamond Match Devils' winner, which used the migration of former slaves to the Copper Country to ask the name of the informal network through which slaves made their way to the North.
The Match Devils made a strategic decision to hold on to its pass until they were facing elimination, Croteau said.
"It worked out well," he said.
The team members spent about 10 hours practicing specifically for the Smackdown. But they've also soaked up local lore through their time in the Senior History Intern program, in which they gave tours of the lighthouse and helped with restoration, among other tasks.
"It brought us to a lot of historical places and taught us a lot," Ollila said.