By Olivia Short ’17
It’s a stretch to call Academic Team a sport, but it’s definitely just as competitive and collaborative. Just like sports, there are two divisions in teams: Varsity and Reserve (JV). Varsity teams answer harder questions, such calculus or physics, so they usually consist of juniors and seniors. But on Mercy’s team, the Varsity level players are sophomores Maria Busken, Rachel Meyer, Sarah Braunstein, and Olivia Short. Our army of Reserve level players consist of freshmen Marin Berlon, Heidi Sohngen, Lindsey Alverson, Anna Burger, Alexandria Eberly, Erica Roeder, Emma Brueggemeyer, Alexis Franzosa, and Julia Bley. A majority of these girls played on their grade school’s Academic Teams previously.
Any Academic Team kid will tell you that while matches are fun, tournaments are a thrill. They happen three times yearly: one for fall, one for winter, and one for spring. Last Saturday, 10/18/14, the Varsity team represented Mercy at the Fall Tournament. Arriving bright and early (8:30 AM, on a weekend) to Cincinnati State, we played 3 matches, 2 of which were victories.
First, Mercy played against Ursula and won by a long shot. We then played our sister school McAuley, scoring a second victory. Next was St. X, who have a reputation as the best team. We lost pretty hard, but to be fair, X’s team is all seniors who went on to win the entire tournament.
An Academic Team match requires about 30 minutes and exactly 4 players. Every Match consists of three main portions: the alphabet round, the category questions, and the lightning round.
Alphabet Round: Called so because each answer starts with the same letter. In this round, all 4 players are given a sheet with 20 questions about varied topics such as science, mythology, or geography. With a time limit of 4 minutes, the players must work together and write down every answer they know. The papers are then collected and saved for later in the match.
Category Questions: Sets of questions based on categories such as Life Science, World Literature, or American Government. A question is read aloud, and teams are given credit for correct answers. Since there are three questions in a set, each team gets a chance to answer first. If the other team runs out of time or guesses wrong, Mercy gets a chance to answer and gain one bonus point (and we usually do!)
During a short break period, the Alphabet Round papers are graded, and 1 point is awarded for each correct answer written.
Lighting Round: Think Jeopardy. Questions on random topics are read aloud, and the student who buzzes in first gets a chance to answer. Every correct answer is worth 1 point.
Usually, matches are played every Tuesday at Cincinnati State. Our practices, if they can be called that, are held every Monday after school in Ms. Lundstedt’s room. She quizzes us using practice sets and decides which subjects we need to polish.
Most schools have a test for acceptance into Academic Team, but such is not the case for Mercy. Any student who is interested can join; she simply needs to talk to Ms. Lundstedt about her schedule. I joined late last year, but I’m so glad I did! Academic Team might sound boring, but it’s a great way to have fun and learn useless trivia.