Panther Quiz Bowl players shined their brightest in the final Bull Run District tournament at home last Thursday (Jan. 26), when they finished fourth overall for the season.
As the fifth seed in match one, Panthers faced fourth-seeded Madison County, “a team which had beaten us twice in the regular season,” coach Dave Naser said.” I was confident that we could win.”
Rappahannock took an early lead of 80-50 and added additional points in the team round, leading by 70 at round’s end. “Despite Madison’s attempted comeback,” Naser said, “we were victorious. It gave us a real morale boost.”
In match two, Panthers challenged Clarke County, first seed in the tournament and undefeated most of their season. “We knew what we were up against,” Naser said. “They were very fast on the buzzers, and they jumped to a 90-30 lead in round one. The team round was more even with us scoring 50 to their 70. Round three was also fairly even at 55 for us and 70 for Clarke. In this round senior captain Clayton Hatcher was on fire, answering most of the questions. This was our best game against Clarke this season.”
Rappahannock met another formidable opponent in match three. “Strasburg had beaten us twice in the season,” Naser said, “but were knew they were beatable. Coming off the momentum of the first two matches, we started strong, despite two penalties. We tied at 50, which led to the first coin toss of the year. The toss determined the question sets for round two. We won the toss and chose the set. They took a 20-point lead in that round, and we went head-to-head in round three – a real nail-biter. Although everyone scored and sealed the victory, Zach Huff was the major player in that round.”
Round four saw Panthers facing Manassas Park. “This round involved a change of rooms and readers,” Naser said. “Manassas Park seemed nervous, buzzing in and answering twice without recognition. Although Manassas Park was clearly the better team, their captain showed poor sportsmanship compared to us,” Naser said, “and I was pleased to hold them to a margin of 105 points.”
For the Panthers, lead scorers were Hatcher (210), Huff (140), Trevor Achilles (100), and Nich Hipple (70). Clarke finished as the regular season champions with Rappahannock in fourth.
“Looking back on the season and the tournament,” Naser said, “I was very proud to coach this team. Nich and Trevor were brand new to Quiz Bowl this year and had a lot to learn. Naysayers thought that after losing Danny Collins at the end of last year, we would have nothing this year. But I saw steady improvement in performance and confidence as the face of this team changed.
“Despite the fact that we had no girls on the team, I’m impressed with the group,” he said. “I only regret that only four players can be in at a time. Case Kramer, a junior, played in round two of each match in the tournament because of his math prowess. Robert Yowell, Davis Sheffield and Britt Hipple are new to the team and are consistently growing better in practice as they excel in the classroom. Success comes from independent reading and by excellence in classes.
“It is now time to prepare for ‘It’s Academic,’ which will be taped at NBC-4 studios on April 14. As part of that preparation, I also plan to take part in invitational tournaments sponsored by VCU and UVA in March. It is never too early to prepare for next year. Since Clayton and Adam Carter were the only seniors this year, losing them will still leave a solid core to build around for next season. With that said, Clayton has been a level-headed captain and has been great in rallying his team. I don’t think I’ve ever had a player who knew sports trivia better. I never saw him miss a sports question, if he could get to answer it first. I’m sure he will find success as he leaves Rappahannock.
“Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all the people who made the tournament run so smoothly. I appreciate the staff members and volunteers who gave up their Thursday. Also, thanks to the administration, athletic director Jimmy Swindler, assistant coach Brad Weeks and Russell Paulette. We could not have done this without lots of help.”