The varsity Academic Challenge team at Black River High School finished the 2018 season with a win March 17 at the Ohio National Academic Quiz Tournament’s small school state championship.
Advisor Clayton Van Doren said the team’s undefeated nine games at the championship was its strongest performance in recent history. The team also went 9-0 at the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Patriot Athletic Conference season.
By winning at PAC, the varsity team qualified for the Ohio Academic Competition regional tournament, which will be held on April 21.
“This has been our strongest year without a doubt,” said Van Doren. “What I’m most proud of is that our team has a reputation for sportsmanship and congeniality, and I consistently get positive comments from other coaches. The team gets along well internally and they are very supportive of each other.”
The team is comprised of seniors Jason Wright (captain), Ashley Stroud, and Abigail Behrend; and juniors Micah Street and Samuel Meredith. Black River also has a junior varsity team, which has only competed in a few matches this year and includes sophomoers Erin Smith (captain), Lance Kocab, Shay Ladina; and freshman Emmit Goldthwaite.
“We have lost some very close matches and there is never any recrimination or second-guessing,” said Van Doren. “Even though our players vary widely in the number of questions they answer individually, they are still very much team. Our working motto is that our strongest player will get us within striking distance of a win, but the rest of the team has to be on point for us to close the win.”