Two quiz bowl teams from Fishers High School and one from Hamilton Southeastern High School competed in the National Academic Championship in Chicago June 7-9. One FHS squad made it to the final round. The FHS and HSEHS teams qualified to participate based on performances in tournaments and the White River Academic League during the school year.
The Chicago tournament started with 46 teams from across the United States. Each team played six matches in the first two days, and those winning at least four continued to finals. Coach John Drozd said Indiana has a reputation as one of the strongest states with Lafayette Harrison High School winning and both Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers high schools reaching finals last year.
FHS sent two teams this year coached by Drozd and Deb Hejl: Team Mango – Patrick Axon, Rachel Cooke, Matthew Hartley, Zeke Willey, Robert Wiesler and Alexander Smith. Team Habanera – Parth Patel, Zach Willey, Ian Goller, Christina Koenig, Yuji Xie and Christopher Womble. HSEHS’s team coached by Ashley Rightsell included the following: Denny Allman, Justin Kingsolver, Tom Zhang, Sawyer Morgan, Mike Wildnauer and Mark Mace.
FHS teams were 1-1 after the day one, both losing their first matches in “heartbreaking style” on the last questions of the matches according to Coach Drozd. Team Habanera played schools ranked second, third and sixth and bowed out of the competition on the second day. Team Mango came back to win two morning matches, then lost an afternoon contest before beating it’s final opponent Sunday to qualify for Monday’s finals. HSEHS’s team won two and lost four in preliminary matches and did not continue.
In its first match of the Monday finals, the number-fifteenth-ranked Fishers Team Habanera faced third-ranked Wilmington Charter. The squads were tied in the first round of the match, but Fishers lost in round two. Reaching the finals does qualify the team for next year’s tournament.
Part of championship weekend included a “Who wants to be a game show host?” competition where seniors auditioned to be readers in next year’s competition. Fishers seniors Zach Willey and Rachel Cooke were selected as finalists from 20 competitors. Willey was the eventual winner. In addition, Fishers Coaches Drozd and Deb Hejl were members of the winning squad in the four-team coaches’ tournament.
Above: Fishers High School’s Team Habanera qualified for the finals round at the National Academic Championship in Chicago last weekend. Members include Zach Willey, Christina Koenig, Yuji Xie, Parth Patel, Chris Womble and Ian Goller.