The St John's team posed with this year's University Challenge trophyBBC

St John’s has won the University Challenge championship tonight, beating Merton College, Oxford 145-100. They took back the title for Cambridge, with Cambridge colleges having won for three consecutive years until last year’s Wolfson team, led by famed muse for memes Eric Monkman, lost to Balliol College, Oxford.

The St John’s team was captained by James Devine-Stoneman, a student of superconducting spintronics. The other team members were John-Clark Levin, Rosie McKeown, and Matt Hazell. They faced off against Leonie Woodland, Edward Thomas, Alex Peplow, and Akira Wiberg from Merton.

Speaking to Varsity, Devine-Stoneman said: “Let’s be honest, Rosie McKeown won that final for us, on top of an immense performance across the series. The absolute MVP.

“However, looking back across it all, and as Paxman himself noted, our strength was in our balance. Each member contributed in unique style.”

The Master's reception in St John's was underway as the Johnian victory was announced on BBCNick Collin

He added: “Leonie Woodland, Edward Thomas, Alex Peplow and Akira Wiberg are intimidatingly talented and simultaneously amicable and lovely people. Truly glad to have met you all.”

The game started with Merton in the lead, who made significant gains with bonus points from questions on shipping forecast areas and a Byzantine princess and historian. Yet ultimately, St John’s pulled ahead with a music bonus about Handel, and they stayed ahead with correct answers to questions about NMR spectroscopy and a bird poet.

Tonight’s final also covered questions about the surface area of the Great Lakes, the highest points of the Low Countries and the apparently even lower Baltic countries, former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and Sociology.

The college tweeted: “Congratulations to James Devine-Stoneman, John-Clark Levine, Rosie McKeown, and Matt Hazell for becoming the first St John’s students ever to win #UniversityChallenge. You were brilliant from start to finish, and we’re all very proud of you #GoStJohns.”

Merton, Oxford also tweeted its congratulations: “Alas! It was not to be. Huge congratulations to @stjohnscam on a superlative performance, and a richly deserved victory.”

Master of St John’s, Christopher Dobson, held a well-attended reception in the college tonight to commemorate their victory.

Cambridge colleges have now won the championship in four of the last five years.

The last six winners:

2013: University of Manchester
2014: Trinity College, Cambridge
2015: Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge
2016 Peterhouse, Cambridge
2017 Balliol College, Oxford
2018: St John’s College, Cambridge

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