Academic Team competes in Bel Air Invitational


The Academic Team prepares for their first match in the Bel Air Invitational on Saturday. They placed seventh in overall points.

Who was the Time Magazine “Man of the Year” in 2007?

With the clock ticking down, the minds of the Academic Team raced with a million possibilities.  This single question would determine which team would break the overtime tie.  However, the team’s thoughts were interrupted by the buzz of Dulaney High School’s team. Dulaney’s team captain guessed the correct answer; Vladmir Putin.

JC emerged from the Bel Air Invitational Academic Team competition with two wins and three losses on Nov. 19.  The team placed seventh overall out of 26 teams based on their total score of 840 points.

Seniors Ana Beain, Adam Kuester, Jenny Yang, Jon Galarraga, and junior Mary Kate Luft participated in the competition, with Beain leading the team as captain.

Each academic team participating in the competition was matched up against five other academic teams from all over the state. The teams that emerged victorious from their five matches moved on to the semifinals.

JC was matched up against Dulaney in the first round, C. Milton Wright High School in the second round, Bel Air High School in the third, Hammond High School in the fourth, and Dulaney once again in the fifth and final round.

Competing schools were permitted to bring teams of more than four players if they wished.  This allowed for a substitution of players in between rounds or the formation of another team as long as a minimum of four players to fill it could be met.

Within a single round, there were five cycles of questioning, with the questions covering open-ended subjects and trivia questions.  Among the many questions asked, the contestants were expected to factor math problems, know where U.S. presidents were born, and identify Casey Anthony.

The two types of questions were toss-up questions and hurdle questions.  The toss-ups required any player to buzz in for their answers, and conferring with teammates was not allowed. The hurdle questions allowed for conference, didn’t require buzzing in, and required that only the team captain was allowed to answer.  These questions had themes, such as settings of novels or state boundaries, and opposing teams would take turns answering a set of these hurdle questions.

If a team answered a toss-up incorrectly, a 10-point penalty was deducted.  For every correct answer from either type of questioning, 10 points were awarded.

JC won the second and third rounds, but lost the first, fourth, and fifth rounds.

According to Academic Team Coach Robert Schick, after viewing the final score board after the matches, he found it interesting and impressive that all of the teams JC lost to progressed undefeated into the semifinals.

“I feel good about how well we did against good teams . . . I’m having a blast with Academic Team this year.  I wish we had the chance to practice ahead of time because we probably would have won a couple more rounds.  We had a really academically strong team, but a big element of this is buzzing in,” Schick said.  “It’s a competition that requires quick reflexes.”

“I didn’t know that I was going to get as competitive as I did.  I had a lot more fun than I thought I would.  It was kind of humbling . . . my friends joke about how much I know, but then I saw how much other kids knew and it was cool,” Galarraga said.

For more information on joining the Academic Team, email Schick at [email protected].

Grace Kim is Online Chief for The Patriot and