June 15, 2018 — The Harding Academy Junior High Quiz Bowl team was named the winner of the 11th Annual Junior National Academic Championship in Chicago on Monday, June 11, 2018. Approximately 20 junior high teams from around the United States participated in the three-day national competition.
“Quiz Bowl is more than memorizing facts; it involves math computation, critical thinking and teamwork,” said Kevin Ganus, Harding Academy English teacher and quiz bowl coach. “For months, these students have come to early practices before school, and it’s rewarding to see their hard work pay off.”
Harding Academy won four of their six preliminary matches during the first two days of competition and qualified for the playoffs on the third day. After two close-scoring games, the team earned a spot in the final match where they defeated Detroit Jesuit Academy to take home the Chicago Junior National Academic Championship.
“One of the things I like best about running this tournament is the yearly surprises,” said Charles Beall, executive director of the National Academic Association and president of Questions Unlimited. “Such I can say about Harding Academy. Never having been on our radar as a contender, they end up in the playoffs this year at 4-2 and then catch fire on Playoff Monday winning two very close and exciting matches — one of which may be considered the upset of the year against perennial contender Danville Bate from Kentucky — and then winning decisively in the final Chicago game.”
Aubrey Jones, a ninth-grade student at Harding Academy, was awarded tournament MVP.
“It’s been an honor to work with this group,” said Ganus. “Obviously they are talented, but they also are positive and trustworthy and genuinely enjoy being around one another. I’m extremely proud of our team and grateful for the support of our parents and school.”