The Cooperstown High School Quiz Team went three-and-three at the national tournament in Washington D.C. last year.
The goal, according to quiz team members and their adviser, is to still be competing on the final day of the three-day competition.
Second-year adviser Timothy Iversen said he really likes CCS’ chances, but said there will not be any easy matches.
This year the district will be sending two teams, a varsity and junior varsity squad. The two teams will be competing at different levels so there is no chance of a face-off like in the semifinals of the Catskill Area School Study Council Upstate Academic Competition at the State University College at Oneonta earlier this season.
“It would be great to get both teams to Sunday (the final day). I would love to win it all, but realistically, I would be very happy if we got one team into the final day,” Iversen said.
To qualify for the National Academic Championships, a team must win an academic competition (local or regional) of at least eight teams or finish in the top 15 percent of any tournament. The winning team from any preliminary round match in the Questions Unlimited QuizNet online tournament qualifies, as well as any team acing any one of Questions Unlimited’s monthly “20 Questions” quiz online. Any school making the playoffs at last year’s National Academic Championship automatically qualifies. Wild card entry may be offered to teams that wish to apply to compete at the National Academic Championship.
The Cooperstown teams qualified with results from the Catskill Area School Study Council Upstate Academic Competition.
CCS senior and team captain Jacob Miller will be competing on the varsity team that is made up of five seniors. He is one of three players on that team who competed at nationals last year. Miller said one thing people might not know about quizzing is that it is competitive. “We do not like to lose,” he said.
Hope Dohner and Erik Mebust, who also competed at nationals last year and will be on the varsity team, said they picked up some small strategies that they think will give the team a better chance this time around.
“It’s really a mental game,” Mebust said. “Having experience should give us more of an edge.”
Having already seen the matchup schedule, the three seniors said they feel fairly confident.
“We will not be up against any of those huge schools we had to play last year,” Mebust said.
“We will not be facing those teams like High Tech or John Cooper, like those giant college prep schools that we ran into last year,” added Miller.
Iversen said his younger team will probably have a tougher road because not many schools send JV teams unless they have an elite program.
“I really like to compare my teams to smaller schools where the kids are involved in a variety of extracurricular activities,” Iversen said.
Iversen said he will be taking eight students to participate on the JV team. Players will be rotating in and out more and the goal is to prepare them for the varsity level, he said.
“It will give them a chance to just sit, watch and pay attention,” Iversen continued. “Sometimes they can get more out of it by watching because they are not as nervous and they will notice things they might miss while playing.”
Team members also plan to show up better rested. Instead of starting their adventure at midnight and getting there the morning of competition, the journey will begin during the day today. Iversen and parent chaperones will drive the students.
Varsity team member Abby Brown has not competed at nationals before and said she is excited about the opportunity.
“I really like going to quiz team events. I think it is really fun and I like going with our team so I just want to have a good time, do well and leave with no regrets,” she said.
The National Academic Championships are held at three locations, New Orleans, Washington D.C. and Chicago. According to its website, the competition focuses on academic information — “significa” rather than “trivia” — and the questions are supplied by Questions Unlimited. Emphasis is light on popular culture and heavy on the academic. Contests follow the four-quarter format created by Questions Unlimited.
While in D.C. Iversen said the students will get some time to go sightseeing.
“The schedule is not quite as forgiving as it was last year, but we plan to go a couple of times. We plan to go see some monuments and museums we did not get to see last year,” Iversen said.
Iversen said he plans to post updates throughout the trip on the quiz team’s Facebook page, CCS Quiz Team.