APPLETON — Considering Lawrence University’s quizbowl team didn’t even exist six months ago, reaching the finals of the National Academic Quiz Tournaments’ (NAQT) Intercollegiate Championship, was cause for celebration.

Competing April 11-12 in the nation’s largest, most prestigious quizbowl event for college students at Washington University in St. Louis, Lawrence’s four-person team finished eighth out of 32 teams.

“Everyone contributed and we reached our goal,” said freshman Greg Peterson, Park Ridge, Ill., who organized the team late last fall and led the team to the tournament hoping to reach the eight-team championship bracket. “For a school that hasn’t competed in a national quizbowl tournament before, to place eighth out of 32 is something to be proud of.”

Lawrence cruised through the eight-team preliminary bracket, posting a 6-1 record, suffering its only loss to eventual overall champion Carleton College. Swarthmore College and Brandeis University were among the teams Lawrence defeated in advancing to the championship bracket.

In the finals, Lawrence lost to Western Ontario (240-190), Dartmouth (250-245), Truman State (285-230) and MIT (225-210) before rallying from an 85-point deficit to stun Cornell University 260-220. The team closed the championship round with a 245-190 loss to Princeton to finish 1-5 in the playoffs, 7-6 overall and eighth for the tournament.

“We just couldn’t seem to keep firing on all cylinders for a full match,” said Peterson of the finals. “The Cornell match was great, though. At one point, we were down -5 to 80.”

Sophomore Michael Schreiber and freshmen Richard Wanerman and Emily Koenig joined Peterson in representing Lawrence, which finished the tournament ahead of teams from Carnegie Mellon, Grinnell, Harvard, Stanford and Washington University, among others. Peterson finished the tournament first individually among 134 Division II players with an average of 66.67 points per game.