Academic Team Competes at Regionals


Senior Aili Waller studies for an upcoming Academic Team competition.

Grace Frascati, Assistant Managing Editor

Ending the season on a high note, the Academic Team was successful at the regional competition in Fort Defiance, Va. Although the team was missing a couple members who could not make the event, they were still able to win several of the rounds. Prior to going to the regional competition, the team won the district championship. Sponsor Dr. Patrick Bradley helped to coach the team to success. 

“The academic team had a very successful season,” said Bradley. “The A team only lost one match over the course of the regular season, and then that left us as the district champions for the valley district.” 

The A team included Seniors Adam Saacke, Aili Waller, Joe Harrison, Sophomore Miles Zoelner, and Junior Darren White. 

“Joe and Miles couldn’t be at regionals, so we had in their place Junior Howie Youngdahl and Sophomore Arden Courtney Collins,” said Bradley. “Arden was the highest scorer for our team for the day.”

Junior Darren White is a member of the academic team and competed at the recent regional competition. 

“We lost four of our matches, and we won two,” said White. “Two of our best players were missing due to a college visit and the flu.” 

The Academic Team competitions consist of several rounds which differ in structure. 

“In a match, you have four students compete against four students from another school’s team. First, there are 15 toss-up questions, which means anybody is allowed to buzz in to answer the question,” said Bradley. “Then, there is a round called the directed round, where each team gets their own question that the players are allowed to confer on to try to figure it out. It goes back and forth with ten questions for each team. Then there’s another round of 15 more toss-up questions.”

Before their competitions, the Academic Team held practice sessions during the week. 

“We have practice every Friday. Leading up to regionals, we had practice on Tuesdays as well,” said White. “We do a lot of practice.”

Last year, the Academic Team won the state championship. 

“It’s certainly more fun when you win,” said Bradley. “We wish we could have won regionals again to go back to the state championship, which we won last year, but overall we had a successful season with the A team winning districts and the B and C teams also having won the vast majority of their matches.”

The team also has a mix of grade levels on the team, several of whom plan on joining again next year. 

 “I think it’s good that we have a nice mix of ages with sophomores, juniors, and seniors on the team,” said Bradley. “With Arden, Darren, and Miles coming back, we are very optimistic about next year.” 

White enjoys the intense competition at the Academic Team events. 

“I like Academic Team because it is both academic and a team, so it really covers all of the bases there,” said White. “I also like the fierce competition that goes on between people who know about the exact same things.” 

Bradley, who has coached the team for several years now, feels the Academic Team is more than just an extracurricular activity to the students. 

“I think they enjoy being with each other on the teams and having camaraderie,” said Bradley. “I really think they have fun doing it. They enjoy being successful, which we have been for years, and I think it’s an attractive team to be on for people.”