A team of underclassmen students at Mays Business School finished out an Introduction to Securities and Commodities course with a bang this spring when five students placed in the top 10 at the New York Mercantile Exchange Commodities Challenge, held at the University of Houston in mid-April.

Sophomore business major Kristin Kellar took home the second-place prize and $1,000 in the Open Outcry Competition, which simulates a trading pit in which traders “cry” out their bids and offers. Freshman Casey Bell took 4th place and $500, and sophomore Michael Rooney came away at No. 6, winning $250. Sophomore Allison Martin and junior Sarah Krauss placed in the top 10.

Rooney was also an instrumental member of the third-place team in the broker trading competition, a five-week mock trading challenge that mirrors NYMEX’s ups and downs during daily trades in crude oil and natural gas commodities.

The team of younger students fared better than last year, when a group of 25 finance seniors took seven of the top 16 spots. This year’s 25 freshman and sophomores, recruited through a special topics course to learn the competition, took nine of the top 16 places.

“We expected our students to compete well, but this was a welcome surprise,” said Detlef Hallermann, a finance professor who oversaw student involvement in the challenge. “Considering all of our students will be returning next spring, things are looking up for next year.”