By Victoria Mairal-Cruz, ‘12, Contributor
The CCDS academic team is undefeated, with both varsity and J.V. teams currently holding a five win record. Team members are optimistic about qualifying for the state tournament for the second year in a row.
According to senior Will Portman, co-captain along with fellow senior Xanni Brown, the team’s biggest rivals are Wyoming, Indian Hill, and Seven Hills, and “we enjoy beating all three.”
Last week, both the varsity and J.V. teams beat Indian Hill. Varsity won 50-35 and J.V. won 44-39. Varsity team members include seniors Kevin Baxter, Xanni Brown, Sebastian Koochaki, Allison Lazarus, and Will Portman. The J.V. consists of seniors Joey Fritz, Micaela Mullee, and Jessup Smith, in addition to juniors Kevin McSwiggen, Robert Park, and Cody Pomeranz, and sophomore Mitchell Cruey.
As of this week, CCDS was tied with Summit Country Day School for the number one spot in the league. The two teams face off on Monday, Jan. 25.
According to Dr. Hecker, the varsity team members “don’t cram facts in order to be competitive; they know things because they listen, read and retain. They like to learn, and then they like to share (show off) what they know.”
Co-captain Brown said she is optimistic about making it to state and performing well there. According to Brown, last year, the team wasn’t as well prepared upon reaching state, but “this year we know what to expect.”
Two members of last year’s varsity team, Howard Kim and Kevin Breneman, graduated. Portman acknowledged that “they were both huge assets to the team, so it’s certainly a loss. That being said, I think our team is very strong this year, and I think we’ll go very far.”
To make it to state, the team must come in first or second at the regional tournament. To make it to the regional tournament, the team must have the best record in the league and/or win the league tournament.
The upcoming match against Summit is a key showdown for the team.
Mr. Plummer said he thinks that “this year’s team is even stronger [than last year’s], and has a chance to be even more successful, but that depends on being asked the right questions.”
Academic team members claimed to enjoy competitions immensely.
Allison Lazarus said that her favorite part of being on the team is “competing against other schools, with questions that are interesting.”
“It’s really fun to hop in the school vans every Monday and head over to Cincinnati State. It’s just a great group of people, and I really enjoy spending time with them,” Portman explained.
The team is recruiting new members; anyone who is interested is encouraged to join. “We’re still looking for underclassmen. I really recommend it,” said Brown.
Fellow team member Baxter said “the glory” is his favorite thing about academic team, and when asked if he thought the team is ready for the “epic battle” against Summit, he said, “[we’re] basically a big deal. We’re a powerhouse.”
According to Brown, each competition consists of three rounds, the alphabet round, team questions, and the lightning round.
First is the alphabet round, in which competitors have to answer 20 written questions, the answers to all of which begin with the same letter, in four minutes.
In team questions, the teams have to answer a series of 10 second questions.
In the lightning round, contestants have just three seconds to answer individually each of 30 questions.
Questions vary in topic, from American history and English world literature to physical science and the fine arts. Thus, having a team with students who specialize in various knowledge areas is advantageous.
“Will Portman’s knowledge of history, government and popular culture is as good [as] anyone I’ve seen in more than 20 years with the team, Xanni Brown knows more literature than is reasonable for someone her age, Sebastian Koochaki gets the chemistry questions almost before they are asked, and Allison Lazarus and Kevin Baxter have a wide and quick access to facts that is constantly surprising,” said Mr. Plummer.
Photo by Ilana Habib.