For the sixth consecutive year, Rappahannock County High School’s Quiz Bowl team traveled to Washington, D.C., for the taping of “It’s Academic,” the longest-running televised quiz show in the world. In this year’s Central Virginia Tournament, seven schools vied for the win. The Panthers brought home second place.
Long-time coach Dave Naser said his confidence in the team was confirmed. “In round one, we played Louisa County and Robert E. Lee High from Staunton. We were supposed to play Wilson Memorial, but they backed out at the last minute. Overall, we pretty much blew out those teams with about a 100-point lead each time.”
Those wins took the team to the championship round with triple-A Charlottesville High School and double-A Orange County, where the Panthers led the field until the final “grab-bag” round. “I cautioned them not to answer unless they were certain they knew the answer because players lose points for wrong answers,” Naser said. “Orange surprised everyone and came back from an over-100-point deficit. We were tied with them at the last second. The definitive question was about the first women’s air corps, the Ninety-Nines. The hint was: ‘What is the largest two-digit integer?’ Our team didn’t see the connection between the question and the subject.” Orange buzzed in at the last second to win, 430-410.
Even with the disappointment, there was a statistic to celebrate. “Charlottesville had 400,” Naser said. “It was close all the way, but we had that lead over them the entire time. It was gratifying to beat them because they’re such a large school with a great reputation. We didn’t even see Orange coming. There’s always a lesson in giving up on an opponent and disregarding them. We got a plaque and a check for $500 for the team fund.”
Case Kramer served as the team’s captain and competed alongside Zach Huff and James MacLeod. “Only three members are allowed in each round,” Naser said. “Henry Mason and Trevor Achilles were there as alternates and gave a lot of support.” Susan Fox (retired RCHS teacher) and assistant coach Brad Weeks aided the team.
“It was a heartbreaker,” Fox said. “The Orange player yelled out the answer in the very last second, and our kids knew the answer but second-guessed themselves.”
“[Interim superintendent] Kathleen Grove came with her husband and encouraged us,” Naser reported. “Ironically, she played on ‘It’s Academic’ when she was in high school.”
“I was proud to represent Rappahannock County Public Schools,” Grove said. “Our team members conducted themselves with poise and good humor as they resoundingly won their first game and barely lost their last game. Congratulations to the team and to Mr. Naser and Mr. Weeks for their supportive and effective coaching!”