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March Animal Madness Sweeps Through Upper School
Posted 04/15/2019 06:00PM

Max Landy '19 is the winner of Bay Ridge Prep's first ever March Animal Madness contest. 

While many college hoops fans watched their brackets bust and underdogs cruise to victory, students at Bay Ridge Prep had their eyes on a different contest in to kick off spring. The Upper School Science Department sponsored Mammal March Madness and the challenge came complete with life-size brackets adorning a third floor wall.

The concept was created a few years ago by a group of evolutionary biologists out of Arizona State University and has grown in popularity. This year, Science Department Chair Dr. Lisa Neesemann introduced it to Bay Ridge Prep. The basic idea is that each animal is ranked by its abilities: weapons, defenses, claws, scales, toxins, etc. That determines the seeding and leads to students heavily researching each animal to make their best educated guess on which ones will advance in the contest’s sweet sixteen and the final four.

Since everything is virtual and no actual animals battle, a random number generator uses probabilities to determine a winner for each head to head battle. Scientists then play out each battle on Twitter. They come up with scenarios and storylines that match the computer generated outcome so participants can ‘watch’ each battle unfold on Twitter and, because it’s done using a random number generator, upsets can happen! Injuries also carry over to the subsequent rounds just like in basketball. If an animal tears a muscle, it might win its current round but will be at a disadvantage for the next round! Two rounds happened each week in March with the championship held the first week of April.

For the first two rounds, the higher seed gets “home court advantage” meaning the battle takes place in their natural ecosystem so, for example, if aquatic animals battle is in the ocean. After the first two rounds, the arena is random.

After weeks of tracking the animal battles online, Bay Ridge Prep crowned senior Max Landy as its first ever March Animal Madness winner. While his bracket wasn’t perfect (he hoped for a moose to take it all; the Bengal tiger was the winner of the Animal Final Four), he led all other Bay Ridge Prep brackets in points and was happy that he joined in on the fun.

“It was an exciting way to learn more about animals, how they can respond to different environments and how they defend themselves against threats,” Landy said about participating in March Animal Madness. “It definitely increased my interest in science and animal behavior.”

Founded in 1998, Bay Ridge Prep is an independent, K-12 college preparatory school offering exceptional courses and intimate class sizes in a socially-mature and positive environment.


  • 8101 Ridge Boulevard
  • Brooklyn, New York 11209
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  • Brooklyn, New York 11209
  • Tel: 718.833.5839
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Bay Ridge Prep is an independent, private, co-ed, day school accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools. Serving students in Kindergarten thru Grade 12 from all across the New York City area, Bay Ridge Prep is located in Brooklyn and dedicated to enriching intellectual curiosity, creativity, and emotional intelligence through a student-centered community that values the unique talents and learning styles of each person.



About Us

Bay Ridge Prep is a co-ed, K-12 independent school in Brooklyn, New York, that is home to 400 students and over 100 faculty spread across two buildings.  With a student-centered environment and fresh approach to education, Bay Ridge Prep provides an enriching academic experience in a socially mature environment.


Bay Ridge Prep is selective in admissions and prospective students go through a formal application process.  What we look for most in an applicant is a student who will benefit from our programs and make a positive impact on our community.


Bay Ridge Prep students get their first taste of hands-on learning in Kindergarten, when they become owners and operators of their own bakery.  By high school, they are deeply engaged in courses like Science, Research & Design - a three-year class that offers the opportunity to conduct original, independent research.


Led by experienced arts educators with advanced degrees in art, music and theater, the arts program recognizes that creative expression is a vital and integral part of a student’s development.


Home to nine championships in the last seven years, Bay Ridge Prep Athletics offers students an opportunity to explore physical challenges and develop leadership and teamwork skills.

Student Life

Student life is more than just classes, clubs and team sports.  Bay Ridge Prep is proactive in making every day life for students engaging, positive and enjoyable. 


Giving to Bay Ridge Prep has a profound impact on the daily lives of our students and helps give the school's administration the flexibility and financial resources to address spontaneous needs in and out of the classroom such as undertaking new programs and facility upgrades.


Bay Ridge Prep Alumni can be found everywhere.  Our newest alums are at some of the best colleges and graduate programs in the country and older alums are professionals in the fields of medicine, law, media, education, finance and more.

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