By Michelle Miller
---- — Members of the Cooperstown High School Quiz Team will be featured on WCNY’s “Double Down” quiz show on Sunday.
Cooperstown won the competition the first year participating in the fast-paced academic quiz show where 32 schools compete to win the blueRock Energy Scholastic Award trophy. Will this year’s team have the same success? Tune in and see.
Team adviser Timothy Iversen said the only thing he is going to reveal is that the students did better than last year when they were knocked out in the first round. Cooperstown’s first match will be aired at 6 p.m. Sunday. The show is broadcast Sundays on WCNY channel 24.1 and repeats are shown at 8:30 p.m. Mondays on WCNY channel 24.3.
This marks the eighth season of the quiz show. WCNY on-air host Bill Barker moderates each session with questions in the categories of English language, arts and literature, history and geography, math, science arts, sports and 2012.
Three students compete at a time, and unlike most of the competitions CCS participates in, students do not use buzzers to chime in on questions, according to Iversen. He said players cannot be rotated during a match, but because schools typically compete twice in a day, he likes to play three students during the first match and a different three the next match.
Iversen brought five of his quiz team members to the Syracuse competition. They included team captain Jacob Miller, Patrick Dewey, Thomas Franck, Erik Mebust and Hope Dohner —all seniors except Dewey.
According to Iversen, “‘Double Down’ does not rely on buzzer speed like other competitions the team competes in. He said another big difference is that it is televised.
“It is kind of fun for me to see how students respond when they get on camera,” he said. “Sometimes they get pretty nervous. Some of them anyways.”
For example, Iversen revealed one more thing; one of the players missed a first-round question that he would not have otherwise missed if he was not on camera.
Students eventually get past the butterflies from being on camera, Iversen said.
He added that having no buzzer can be a good and a bad thing.
“Most of our preparations for competitions we go to are buzzer-based. We have to think very differently for this game,” he said.
There is a possibility to double points at the end like on Jeopardy that can be a real challenge, according to Iversen.
“You have to have different strategies in games that are constructed differently,” he said.
The “Double Down” competition returned to a single-elimination format this year. The seventh season featured a twist in the first round: Teams still competed head-to-head, but with the goal of scoring as many points as possible. The 16 teams with the highest first-round scores advanced to the second round.
Iversen said he actually much prefers the single-elimination format even though it is “a little tighter in the moment.”
“It makes the strategy much more manageable,” he explained. “When you don’t know how many points anybody else is getting, it makes you take risks where you might really be putting yourself out. That is what happened to us last year. They had a pretty good score, but decided to go for the gold and tried to double it by betting everything. The missed the question and lost it all and that was it. We were out of the tournament.”