Academic League’s Brain Bowl this Week

Jack O'Donnell, News Editor

   The UC High Academic League finished off a strong year of competition with an underdog win against Saints in the first round of playoffs, and they are looking forward to the annual seniors versus staff Brainbowl coming up on June 10, which will be held virtually through Zoom.

   According to the official UC High Academic League website, Academic League is a “buzzer competition in which teams of five players compete to answer questions that cover academic subjects like literature and science as well as the broader world of popular culture and current events” ( Varsity Coach Phillip Huszar described the competition as “team Jeopardy.”

   “The Brain Bowl is a competition between the UC staff and students representing the current senior class. This year represents the thirteenth such match, and the staff has won 10 out of 12 meetings thus far. They are almost always close and very competitive,” said Huszar. The staff roster includes teachers such as Huszar, Scott Patterson, Maureen Quessenberry, and Michelle Fournier.

   The seniors will be facing the staff team coming off of playoffs. Huszar said, “When we ended up facing [Saint Augustine High] in the first round of the playoffs as the underdog. We got a little lucky with the question topic distribution and absolutely dominated the match. After such a challenging year for everyone, it was so nice to get that win.”

   Senior Captain Elise Truchan said, “I’ve really appreciated the academic community it’s provided me over the last few years. These people are all so bright and they have given me a chance to do something fun in an environment where people are just enjoying shared knowledge.”

   Huszar said, “We had one of the largest groups I have ever had for our senior varsity this year. Elle Truchan was our captain and completed her fourth year with the team. She, along with about a dozen of her teammates, made for a highly diverse and close knit group. Throughout the pandemic, they maintained such an incredible positivity that it really made for an especially delightful season. They were also the first team I have ever coached to a playoff win, so that was very special.”

   Senior Joel Watson said, “We got off to an uncertain start in the spring of last year, but after a successful online staff versus seniors match at the end of the year, we knew how to continue in the fall. So this year, we’ve been practicing and competing on zoom, and instead of buzzing when we know the answer to a question, we type into the chat or use an online buzzer website. We’ve been able to collaborate pretty well on group questions and chat before and after matches, which is really nice.”

   “Given that we are in the business of education, it is just amazing to witness just how much these students have learned and how quickly they can pick up on clues to put together their answers. It also gives us a sport that is not reliant on physical prowess, but instead it puts the intellect on display, and I think that attracts a segment of the population that does not normally get to experience such accolades and spotlight attention,” said Huszar.

   Huszar said, “Although literature has been kind of an Achilles heel for us, our specialties have been science and social studies, which has been a great strength thanks in great part to Nikhil Seshadri and Aleksa Radomirovic.”

   Senior Aleksa Radomirovic said, “I’m one of the history and geography guys on the team, and that’s really where I specialize in the questions I can answer. What I really like about Academic League is that it’s not a one on one style trivia game. Since we play with teams of five, there’s less stress to focus on every single question topic, and it allows people to specialize in what they’re interested in.

   Truchan said, “My favorite memories have been when some players were put in after a slower game and then immediately answered several questions right off the bat. I feel like those moments really pump up everyone else and get our heads back in the competition.”

   Radomirovic said, “The kind of questions we can answer always baffles me. We’re spotty with literature, but ask us anything about monkeys and we answer it 100 percent of the time.”