‘It’s Academic’ starts season soaring

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It’s Academic; a competition not for the weak of heart or mind. It requires intellect, quick thinking and competitive spirit all rolled into one. During the past few years, LB hasn’t done well in these battles of knowledge. However, this year they placed second, giving them hope for the future.

“We did better than we have done in the last several years,” coach Gary Holtzman said. “We came in a close second where as we have been in last place in the past few years.”

This is the second time this year that the It’s Academic team has done well in an event.

“We had a very good first tournament in October,” Holtzman said. “We went two and three, and we lost one event by one question.”

It’s Academic is a questionnaire trivia competition where contestants are asked a series of questions and whoever answers the question correctly gains points.

“It’s kind of like Jeopardy,” senior Quentin Paleo said, “but more for school and oriented for teenagers.”

The most recent competition, which took place on Nov. 16, consisted of a series of rounds, alternating between individual and team sections. During this event, LB took on McClean and Woodgrove. Woodgrove won first, LB second and McClean third.

“There was a round where anyone could buzz in,” Paleo said. “Then a group round, then individual, then another group round and then the final round was individual.”

LB’s team consisted of Paleo, who was named captain, junior Ben Tobin and senior Jonah Scharf. Junior Josh Wartel and sophomore Seong Woo Cho participated as the alternates.

“We kind of felt like the underdog,” Tobin said, “because there are schools out there that are really, really good at It’s Academic. [It’s] not that we aren’t good, but there are some schools that are absolutely amazing.”

As if the pressure of needing to do well wasn’t enough, this particular event took place on live television in an NBC 4 Studio.

“It was more surreal than anything else because I would guess that none of us had ever been on TV before,” Tobin said.

Despite all of this, the team did not let the pressure get to them and displayed an impressive performance.

“It started out quite well,” Tobin said. “We were very competitive from the beginning, and so we began to gain confidence in ourselves. We ultimately had a lot of fun and energy during the show.”

Though the competition was the main event itself, there was a lot of hard work that went on beforehand in order to prepare for this event.

“We practice every week on Thursday,” Holtzman said. “And that team that went to the TV show had several extra practices with Mrs. Adams.”

During these practices, Paleo, Tobin, Scharf, Wartel and Cho trained, not on mental aspects, but instead physical aspects of the game.

“A lot of it’s just about speed,” Paleo said. “You have to know information, but it’s all about buzzing in quickly, so that’s what we practiced.”

With such a successful event, the team now looks ahead toward future competitions. Aside from this particular TV show, LB also participates in competitions that are not recorded.

“We are getting ready for the VHSL tournament in January,” Holtzman said. “We are hoping to have a strong showing, and we’d like to make it into regionals. And I think we have a chance this year.”

With these first two successful events, things seem to be taking an upward turn for LB’s It’s Academic team.

“We’re really starting to rebuild our program,” Holtzman said. “We have a lot of freshman, sophomores and juniors who are good so we’re hoping to do better and better in upcoming years.”

With talented up-and-coming recruits and the momentum of two consecutive successful events, a new era of It’s Academic has begun for LB. With any luck, they will be able to  continue gaining experience and confidence, and eventually claim first place.

 

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