PAGE 4 PREDICTIONS, CONTINUED 7. California It may be blasphemy to rank last year’s Finalists so far down the list, but consider it a testament to A. the quality of the advanced division and B. how quickly teams can shift from year to year. That being said, no one expected California to do as well as they did last year, so the stage might be set for a repeat performance. Some have credited the run last year to luck, but that theory could be quickly put to bed if California can do it again. Key Player: Shawn Honaryar. The reports that filter back to us from California are scant at best, but past performance has proved he is a danger man. 8. Illinois Illinois could have been ranked, in my opinion, anywhere from 3-8 on this list. Samir Al-Ali, the renowned Illinois grammarian is the maverick to end all mavericks. Perhaps the best player in the country on his day, he buzzes at places others might think impossible—and somehow, implausibly, it usually works out. However, when the strategy fails, it fails hard—only time will tell. Key Players: The rest of the team. Undoubtedly, good players in their own right, but the question remains about whether they will be able to live up to the expectation. 9. Ohio To be frank, finding a ninth team was incredibly difficult. No team truly stood out to me—so, once again, I chose to go with the establishment. Ohio Advanced finished second last year in a truly magical run to the finals but lost the talents of Ben Robertson, Will Beatrez, and 2015 Advanced MVP Sameer Apte. Returning are Tullus Dean and Matthew McMillan, both historians and we will have to see what the future holds for Team Ohio. Key Players: Tullus Dean and Matthew McMillan (whichever is in for a particular round). Ohio will need to rely upon their experience if they hope to go far. MY TRIP TO ITALY BY CAMRYN REID, HOMESTEAD HIGH SCHOOL Going on a cruise through the Mediterranean was an amazing experience, but what made it even better was stopping in Rome and Pompeii, seeing all of the artifacts that I have learned about in real life. The stop in Rome included a visit to the Colosseum, which was so breathtaking, literally, because there were so many steps. But one look around and I knew those three flights of steps were worth it. While looking around, we saw the Arch of Constantine through the curvature of the Colosseum’s wall. After the stop at the Colosseum, we went through the Forum and walked around Rome, which included a stop at Trajan’s Column. Following Rome, we went to Pompeii, which wasn’t quite what I expected. All of the body plasters that I had seen or heard about were not present--there were only four. And all of the statues and art pieces were from someone's personal art collection and were not actually from Pompeii. But despite that, it was still an amazing experience, seeing the ruins and seeing how close Mt. Vesuvius was to Pompeii. In all, my trip to Rome and Pompeii was amazing, and I wish I had more time in each place. AT RIGHT: CAMRYN REID HAD THE CHANCE TO VISIT THE COLOSSEUM WHILE TRAVELING IN ITALY.