Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
March 8th, 2006
Quiz Team


Quiz Team nearly conquers Copely

Remind me to pay more attention to the St. X website every once and awhile. Today I noticed a well-written article about the Quiz Team’s results from Copley. (I’ve included the news item below, in case it disappears from the school website, which will happen eventually.)

As always, I would’ve liked to come and at least watch them play, but… circumstances dictate that I stay in my room instead and read about the tournament. :^\ Y’know, it’d be real nice if someone on the team took up the task of posting about each match online, on their blog or something. I’ve done it for the past four years, but obviously I can’t do that anymore, unless you want me to make up the scores and questions. I mean, it’s pretty sad that the school’s website normally gives the quiz team a measely paragraph. It’s not as if we need live, streaming webcasts or anything like that: just a simple update on the outcomes each week.

Well, congratulations, guys. You all look pretty happy in that photo they took of you (except for Barber…). Uncle John’s Men: Up State!

While the swimming team smoked the competition in the state meet in Canton, the St. Xavier High School varsity and junior varsity quiz teams were similarly dominant a few miles further up I-77 in Akron.

Both squads competed in the Copley Tournament Saturday, Feb. 25, against a field of 42 schools and 88 teams. The JV won the overall title and walked away with a 26-point average margin of victory. The varsity won its division – competing against other state-wide league and tournament champions – before falling by a narrow margin in the tournament finals against Fisher Catholic.

The varsity quiz kids included Douglas Lim, Sean Barber, Mike Knadler and Brett Seifried. The JV champs were Jay Kiger, Daniel Breyer, Harrison Lee and A.J. Arand. Kent Seifried (’70), was the JV coach, substituting for regular coach Ron Weisbrod.

“It was a good event,” said varsity head coach John Hussong. “We just roll the ball out there and let them compete. We’re all generalists and we’re pretty good that way. We don’t have specialists in any one area.”

The Copley event was the last big tournament before regional competition in April. The quiz team – including about 20 students – has matches on Tuesday afternoons from November through January and competes in tournaments on weekends. Team members also practice on their lunch periods at least once a week.

Former St. Xavier faculty member Ed Sunderhaus is the Cincinnati-area Catholic league commissioner, overseeing 17 teams, a number that could grow to 20 by next year with the possible addition of Kettering Alter, Dayton Carroll and Summit Country Day. Sunderhaus also oversees a local public school league. All local quiz team competitions are contested at Cincinnati State, where Sunderhaus now works.

St. X was unbeaten in league competition this year on the freshman, JV and varsity levels. Hussong’s charges last won a state title in 1997 and have had three other runner-up finishes since then.

“For my money, Cincinnati State and Ed do a great job,” Hussong said. “It’s better run now than even the old days (when “It’s Academic,” funded by CG&E, appeared on local television in the 1970s and early ’80s). I’m very grateful for the support we get from the administration, the funding. We have at least two out-of-town trips a year and they allow us to do that financially.”

The next challenge is to stay sharp for regional competition. There are five regions in the state. Regional winners go on to the state tournament in Columbus. State winners from across the country converge on Orlando, Florida, for a chance at the national championship. With a 12-buzzer system, Hussong can run three teams of four through their paces in practice matches. He prepares them by compiling lists, collecting questions and encouraging his students to read everything they can get their hands on.

“We definitely have a shot (to win state) this year, but we’ll see,” Hussong said. “I’d like to win another state championship.

“We’re content to toil in relative obscurity. My philosophy, especially in the league, is to let everyone play – we can substitute in our league – and still win. What you have to do is buoy up some of the programs who struggle. So I’m always looking, trying to see what kind of a lead we have, seeing how we can get more kids in. It’s not glamorous. We hang be [sic] threads, but I’m encouraged for the future.”