By MARK MAYNARD
A fourth-grade student at Crabbe Elementary was in rare air on Friday morning.
Andrew Enyart had a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket, correctly predicting the 16 winners from Thursday’s opening round of games.
How rare was the feat, you ask?
Well, ESPN reported out of 11 million brackets that were entered into its contest, less than one percent remained perfect after a dizzying day that included four overtime games.
Dayton over Ohio State? Check.
Harvard over Cincinnati? Got it.
North Dakota State over Oklahoma? Oh yes.
“I just chose my favorite teams,” explained Andrew of his selection methodology.
While the fourth-grader doesn’t profess to being a college basketball guru — “I like it more than football or baseball,” he said — his perfect day was certainly unique.
According to one estimate, at least 95 percent of the 100 million or so brackets filled out all across America were busted by the time the NCAA tournament was barely 12 hours old.
But not so for Andrew Enyart’s bracket.
Cheryl Barber, one of his teachers at Crabbe, said she kept going back to Andrew’s bracket all day long. She went to bed with four games still undecided but checked them Friday morning and learned he remained perfect.
“He hit every one of them,” said Barber, who even posted on Facebook about a student who had the perfect bracket ... so far.
Barber and Tamara Withrow, another fourth-grade teacher, introduced March Madness to their students as a teaching tool. Some of them, Barber said, had never heard of it.
“We were kind of surprised by that,” she said. “It helps them keep up with things going on around them. That’s important. They need to know what people are talking about around them.”
She explained about the NCAA tournament brackets and told them “there’s always some upsets somewhere, so keep that in mind.”
Each of the 56 students filled out brackets along with the teachers and Brad Greene, the Crabbe principal. His bracket didn’t quite measure up to Andrew’s — Greene correctly picked only half the games. Andrew wanted to have his picture taken with the principal with both of them holding up their brackets sheets.
Andrew said he hadn’t heard of March Madness “until Mrs. Barber told us about it.”
She explained the tournament and showed them a video of President Barack Obama making his selections on ESPN.
“It definitely influenced them (in how they selected winners),” she said.
Most of the fourth-grade class went with Florida, the overall No. 1 seed, as the national champion. That included Andrew, who has Arizona, Louisville and Harvard joining the Gators in the Final Four.
“I like Florida because I like Gators,” Andrew said. “I don’t like Kentucky because they don’t play their best.”
Louisville and Kentucky were also some of the favorites to win it all, according to the Crabbe brackets.
Barber said this is the first time she has done the NCAA brackets but she often has students draw names of horses during Kentucky Derby weekend.
She turned on the television to watch some of the Dayton-Ohio State game on Thursday and the students were excited. “They were cheering. Some of them were for Ohio State and some of them picked Dayton. It was exciting.”
But at the end of the day, nobody was perfect except one.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2648.