Academic Team triumphs in close victory
Seniors Ana Beain, Nick Henninger, and Adam Kuester stared at the picture of the sculpture on the screen in front of them. They had been in last place since the first round, but these questions in the last round were worth more points than before.
With lights and cameras trained on their faces, the host Dave Zahren said, “This sculpture is titled The Gift of Gab, a phrase that became popular in England during the reign of what Stuart king, restored to the throne in 1660?”
After a quick consultation with his other team members, Henninger rang in with the correct answer: Charles II.
With that, JC gained 30 points and went on to win “It’s Academic!” on March 17, becoming one of the remaining nine competitors for the Baltimore region. This episode will air on Saturday, April 14, at 10 a.m. on WJZ 13.
The final score had JC winning with 440 points, Gilman School with 405 points, and Huntingtown High School with 400 points.
At the beginning of the game, JC had fallen behind. “After the first round, we were down about 60 points. Every round after that we were in last place, so I was fairly sure that we were going to lose every round until the last round, when we made a big jump in points,” Kuester said.
Even in the round where it is possible to win 25 bonus points when all eight questions are answered correctly, JC fell short, answering one question wrong.
“After we lost the 25 point bonus, and then Gilman got it in the fourth round, I thought for sure we were done. I just wanted to not get in last place,” Beain said.
JC emerged victorious “when the clock struck zero and by some miracle we had 35 more points than Gilman,” Henninger said.
This victory was the result of the players’ practice with the help of moderator Bob Schick. “Nick, Ana, and Adam, plus anyone else on the team who wants to help, do buzzer practice. We use trivia books, questions from previous tournaments, and online sources. We’ll go through dozens, if not hundreds, of questions that help us review material and increase our speed at answering questions. ‘It’s Academic!’ is very much about speed,” Schick said.
“It’s made me a better person by challenging my intelligence, my memory, and my nerves. I hope that anybody who’s ever loved to watch Jeopardy, play Scrabble, or memorized state capitals will give the Academic Team a try. You’ll still be a nerd, but you’ll be an awesome, ‘It’s-Academic!’-winning nerd,” Henninger said.
Martha Schick is a Managing Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.