Confidence paves the way to nationals

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  • With markers in hand and buzzers ready to be lit, Avery Manning, Joel Lozoya, and Christopher Stewart race to buzz in with the correct answer. Although the Academic team functions as a collective-based competition, personal stats play their own role in tracking improvement over the course of practice.

  • Head Academic team coach Tyler Haisten gets in on buzzer practice, taking an active and fun role in coaching. Challenging his students is a way of keeping them prepared for anything.

  • On Tuesdays and Thursdays during study hall, Students on the outskirts focus on daily assignments. Meanwhile, Cruz Richardson and Joel Lozoya, among other students, gather in the center to socialize before beginning buzzer practice.

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In an academic competition, a team can only be as good as its’ weakest players. There is a consensus of knowledge and an understanding that each member of the team is valuable. This is not a realization that happens overnight, and intelligence is only the first step in winning academic tournaments. Varsity academic team students have had enough practice to know silence and a lack of confidence are most detrimental to gameplay.
Over this past weekend, on October 1st, head academic team coach, Tyler Haisten took some students to Norman Highschool for a National Academic Quiz Tournament (NAQT). The YHS academic team went undefeated 10-0 which allowed them to qualify for nationals in Atlanta, Georgia in May.
A sophomore varsity student in attendance at this past weekend’s competition, Avery Manning, found that joining the academic team was due to the nature of chance, although she has prior experience being a part of a team like this at a previous school.
“Here, I didn’t want to do anything, actually. But then I had to stay after school because my sister was part of the team and she was the one who drove me home. So I just joined the team,” Manning said.
Competition season often causes panic, however, most students can keep their composure. Mostly because students entrust in the preparation they’ve had during practice.
“Going into the competition, I knew, do good. Because I know that we are good. We work really hard as a team, and individually,” Manning said.
The academic team puts in hours of preparation, with practices taking place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday after school. The practice consists of an array of activities, from presentation learning to buzzer practice. Each activity done in practice links back to a larger goal. To build up both the knowledge and the confidence to win.
Another varsity team member, Christopher Stewart talks about how being panicked in the competition will do nothing beneficial.
“You just have to relax and not really do anything and be content with the knowledge that you have,” Stewart said.
Stewart goes on, to explain that, throughout rounds, it is also important to ensure that morale is up across the team.
“We’ve started to do little huddles just before every match, just saying like, yeah we got this. We know the stuff, we need to just, go in and win,” Stewart said.
Winning is exactly what the academic team managed to do.
“It felt really nice to finally win a tournament because we’ve been building up to this. I know Haisten himself said that he’s been thinking about like the tournament since May,” Stewart said.
Expanding on that Stuart mentions how accomplishing a win like this is something the team has been working up to.
“Since the end of the school year, he’s been thinking just about being able to go to a tournament and win,” Stewart said in reference to Haisten. “Through winning it, we’ve qualified for nationals happening in May in Atlanta, Georgia,” Stuart said.
Throughout practices, staying in communication with each other while learning and having fun creates an impact. Students have found the confidence and the energy it takes to win. Varsity team members have had the opportunity to coach rookies in an attempt to expand collective knowledge and their confidence. In doing so, varsity sophomore Joel Lozoya highlights how activities like those can solidify their foundation of knowledge while building up their chemistry to keep the academic team winning.
“I really haven’t done a ton with the rookies. But for me what I’ve enjoyed doing with them, has been trying to teach them and also getting them to have more confidence because that out of anything, even more than just knowing the answers, it’s the confidence on the buzzers. And the best way really to like teach them is just to get them to do it. You just got to build it up. Over time,” Lozoya said.