What does it take to be the nation’s best academic team?
To receive national recognition as the first team in Kentucky to take home the title, the six-member Daviess County High School Varsity Academic Team spent countless hours quizzing and challenging one another on quick recall questions. Evan Clark, Mason Clark, Eli Cooper, Jasmyne Post, Karli Sanders, and Stephen Ward are particularly gifted, and well-acquainted with the ingredients for a successful team. Recently-graduated senior and DCHS team captain, Evan Clark was ranked in the top 10 individual scorers. Impressively, he was also named MVP overall at the national tournament. Four of the six winning team members previously won the Junior National Academic Championship last year.
Head Coach Ann Koshy knew the Daviess County High School Panther Academic Team was destined for greatness based on their success from the previous year. This tournament was won due to the team’s ability to learn and remember an impressive set of facts and details through their extensive quick recall training. “Quick recall” is a quiz bowl competition featuring tossup and bonus questions in which teams go head-to-head to answer the queries as quickly and accurately as possible, signifying their readiness to respond with the use of a buzzer. Questions vary in topic from calculus to mythology, and everything in between.
The DCHS Panthers began practice in August, meeting three times a week, with two afterschool practices and one morning practice. Their first challenge for last year’s season was to participate in the regional Pennyrile Academic Association tournaments. With the use of Quizlet, a free online site for flashcards and study materials, and previous questions from the tournaments, each team member gained a well-balanced knowledge in multiple subjects.
The team diligently trained for the competitions while maintaining a self-driven, competitive spirit, according to Koshy. All six members have participated in academic team since at least middle school, and have been active team members every year at DCHS. According to Koshy, students begin as freshmen with one area of emphasis that is their specialty. Then, they must develop another area of expertise, so that by the time they reach varsity level, they are well-rounded in multiple areas, and prepared for any topic.
After participating in the Pennyrile tournaments, the team continued to the Governor’s Cup, or state championship, which followed in the same tossup/bonus format. After winning the Governor’s Cup championship for the state of Kentucky, the team had to modify their practice methods. Instead of the typical tossup/bonus format, the team was now faced with four various rounds, increasing in difficulty, featuring a 60-second lightning round and a “stump the experts” round, which consisted of more elaborate questions worth more points.
Only one of the team members was a graduating senior, which means the Panthers are poised to perform well for the 2017 season. Four of the winning team members participated in the Governor’s Scholar Program this summer, which will only enhance their perspectives and general knowledge outside their areas of specialty. According to Koshy, the returning team members have tasted victory, and can’t wait to represent Owensboro on the national stage again in 2017.