Coach Kimberly Lloyd says the Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy Academic Team is the whole package. They are smart, funny and just qualified for the National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) national tournament.
Team members Bradley Lloyd, Daniel Federici, David Advent and Max Teddy recently took second place in an academic quiz bowl tournament in Charlotte which qualified them for the national tournament in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel May 30-June 1.
"I enjoy being with them. I have a great team," Kimberly Lloyd said. "They have wonderful personalities. They're not just smart, they're really fun and funny and fun to be around."
The four boys, who are all juniors, have competed in quiz bowls since the seventh grade and said they have functioned as a team since the eighth grade. They tried out for the team at the beginning of the year and practice during elective class time.
"This is the first year we had tryouts. We played a real competition and the top 12 scorers made the team. They are only allowed to sign up for the elective if they make the team," Kimberly Lloyd said. "When we go to competitions, we play in groups of four and six."
When they go to competitions, each team member has their own specialty. Teddy answers many of the physical science questions, Bradley Lloyd answers humanities questions, Federici does history and literature and Advent does literature and art.
"A lot of the stuff we do on our own. If you get bored you just read things. A lot of the information you get from other subjects will help you a lot with academic team," Bradley Lloyd said. "I'm the waste category person, like the stuff that gets forgotten. I get a lot of stuff that is humanities-oriented like philosophy, a little bit of history, religion and anthropology. I also get a little bit of current events."
According to Teddy, the competitions usually have nine rounds. Each round has 20 toss-up questions which are answered by a single member of the team if they buzz in. If the individual answers the toss-up correctly the team gets points and three bonus questions that they can discuss together before the captain gives the answer.
"You learn a lot and there's a lot of really crazy facts. I think it's interesting some of the things I've picked up through it," Bradley Lloyd said. "It's not stuff we would know if it wasn't for this. A lot of questions I get are things that I only get because they have come up before and I've written them down and looked them up. It's not like we know more, it just comes from experience."
Some of the things they know even surprise their coach. Each of them have memorable questions that they answered correctly.
"In eighth grade during a practice I got tungsten right because it's my favorite element," Teddy said. "It's my favorite because it's one of the few elements that doesn't end in-ium, 74 is my favorite numbers, it has the highest boiling point of any element, it's in light bulbs and it's symbol is W."
They said that some of the hardest questions usually involve math, but the team has a plan if they don't know the answer.
"If it's a completely confusing math question that nobody knows usually you need to guess 1 or 0 because those are the answers to math questions way more often," Bradley Lloyd said. "If nobody has any clue, say 1 or 0 and every now and then you get it"
The team members said they are very competitive, especially in intense situations.
"At this competition where we qualified we were down by less than a question and it came down to the final question to decide who won," Federici said. "We were uncertain if we would qualify for nationals if we got second place, so there's a lot of pressure to try to beat them and qualify."
But if they are ever in a pinch, they can always rely on Bradley Lloyd to be quick to pull the trigger and hit the buzzer. He has a reputation of hitting the buzzer button before he knows the answer or before the question has been completed.
"A lot of kids that know a lot and are very bright don't do well at quiz bowl because they won't put themselves out there and aren't good buzzers. They just don't have that speed and willingness to go for it before they are 100 percent positive they're right," Kimberly Lloyd said. "The competitions have powers and negs and if you buzz in early and get it right you get power points and if you buzz in early and get it wrong you get negs. Bradley has the most of both."
Kimberly Lloyd said the team is really excited for their upcoming trip to nationals. They are planning fundraisers like bakes sales and chicken biscuit sales to raise the money for the trip.
"We've qualified before but it was late in the season and by then it was too late to pull it together and go, so they were very excited to qualify early in the year so we can start making plans to make sure it happens this year," Kimberly Lloyd said.
Until then, the team will go over questions and learn everything they can to prepare.
"Academic team is really my break from the school day. It's where I can relax and have fun," Teddy said. "I just enjoy learning because it's learning. I just like knowledge."