A Winning Day for the Academic Team


After losing many strong senior members last year, the academic team didn’t know how their performances and team would be this year. However, on January 26, the team won the Region 5C Section 2 Competition and took 2nd place in the Region, the best finish in Tuscarora history.

“I was honestly surprised, I didn’t think we were as good as last year’s team, but we ended up making it further than they did,” said senior team captain Katie Geibel about their win.

“We started off a little bit slow this year, we lost two really good players from last year, so we weren’t sure what we were going to have. Early on, the competitions were pretty tough for us, but we kept improving throughout the year,” said head coach Mr. Matthew Crisp about the team’s start to the year. However, the work they’ve put in throughout the year was worth it. “On that day, we had a couple really close matches, but they just kept racking up wins. It was impressive to watch, but it was also great to see their enthusiasm and their excitement that all the work they’d put in practices paid off,” he said.

“It felt relieving that we were able to do well seeing how many hours are put in during practice and outside of school as well,” said freshman Eshal Farooq.

Geibel describes the competitions as a cross between trivia and jeopardy with four players on a team competing for three rounds. Rounds one and three have the same rules, where players cannot consult their team.

“The reader reads clues that start out vague and get more obvious. You can buzz at any time during the question or after, but once someone on your team gets it wrong then your team can’t buzz again. 10 points for a correct answer, -5 points for a wrong answer while the question is being read and no change in points if you get it wrong after the question is read,” said Geibel.

However, the questions in the second round are directed to teams and they can consult with each other. “One school is team A and one school is team B and they get questions directed to them, but if they get it wrong the other team has a chance to try to get the question correct,” said senior Emily Kessler.

To prepare for competitions, the academic team meets to go over practice questions and play practice games against each other. “This helps familiarize us with questions that commonly come up in real competitions, as well as their distribution. We also try to assign people specialized areas of interest, which determines team composition,” said senior team captain Maxim Gorodchanin.

Something Crisp has enjoyed about coaching the team is how the team has grown to be more cohesive over the years. “It seemed like it was very specific small groups of friends that were joining and now it seems like much more of a team as a whole. I’ve enjoyed watching the growth there and that’s been the product of the last few captains we’ve had. They’ve been really good at getting the whole team involved,” he said.

For many of the members, what they have learned and their time together is what they enjoy most about being apart of the team.

“The practices are really fun [and] the bus rides are a blast, someone usually brings a speaker and we play music and jam out on the bus,” said Kessler.

“My favorite part is being able to look back and realize how much I’ve learned. When I started I only knew a handful of famous writers and their works. Now, I think I know twice as many,” said Gorodochanin.

“I like the chance to hang out with friends because it’s super chill and we just have fun with practice and make jokes. We make it so it’s not stressful and we don’t get mad if someone gets a question wrong,” said Geibel.