By: Julia Sanders
Many students at Newnan High School may not be aware that Cougar Nation boasts a great Academic Bowl team, but their presence is certainly felt in competitions around the region.
“We really fly under the radar, most likely because it’s a bit on the nerdy side.” Mr. Chris Swanson, one of the sponsors of Academic Bowl and NHS Economics teacher, commented.
The NHS Academic Bowl has done well this season. They won second place in Regionals this year. Plus, they have also won first, second, or third in all of their meets on both the Junior Varsity and Varsity team. In February, the team will be competing at state.
Academic Bowl team is full of very intellectual students. When asked what he likes about the NHS Academic Bowl team, Mr. Swanson commented that he is “impressed by how smart and knowledgeable some of [the] young people really are.”
The Varsity team captain is Brandon Collins. The other team members on the Varsity squad include Dylan Bulfin, Hunter Holcomb, Karan Patel, Caleb Perry, Thomas Schulz and Alexis Smith.
The Junior Varsity team captain is Ryan Potts. The other members on Junior Varsity are Davis Adams, Janie Edgar and Matthew Schulz.
Brandon Collins, the Varsity team captain and NHS senior, said he joined Academic Bowl because Dylan Bulfin, his friend and NHS senior, encouraged him to join. Dylan Bulfin has been on Academic Bowl for three years, and Brandon Collins has been on the team for two years.
Dylan Bulfin said he joined the team because “it’s fun to answer questions and stuff.”
The sponsors of Newnan High School’s Academic Bowl team are Mr. Chris Swanson and Mr. Troy Cornwell, NHS social studies teacher.
Academic Bowl is “like a quizbowl game: teams of 4 from each school face off with buzzers while questions are read aloud (covering pretty much all academic subjects with some trivia mixed in here and there). The first to buzz in with the right answer gets points. At the end of the round, the team with the most points wins,” Mr. Swanson explained.
At each Academic Bowl meet, there are three rounds, and the points are added up to determine who placed in the top four at the meet.
Each year, there are a total of five meets per year, where teams accumulate points. The top four teams who have won by points get to go to the state playoffs in February.
Mr. Swanson said Academic Bowl is “a team effort that relies on individuals. The first set of questions from each round deal with math and science subjects, and the second deals with history and lit and the last is a medley.”
The team sponsors usually put the best math players in the first round because it is a math and science round. Then, they put their best history and literature players in the second round and put a blend of all of the players in the the third round.
Mr. Swanson explained “winning depends on how well individual players do and the only time they are allowed to collaborate is on bonus questions in round 3.”
All of Mr. Swanson’s experience with Academic Bowl team, however, is not an accident.
He has been helping sponsor Academic Bowl at Newnan High School since 2008, when he first joined cougar nation. Before he started teaching at NHS, he sponsored his previous school’s team for three years.
“Wow, 10 years. That’s a long time,” Mr. Swanson exclaimed about the length of time he has worked with Academic Bowl students.
In addition to Mr. Swanson’s time with the team, Mr. Cornwell brings a half decade of experience to the Academic Bowl table.
Mr. Cornwell has been sponsoring Academic Bowl for five years. He said, “I got my CDL license, so I drive the bus to the meets too.” Mr. Cornwell is also involved with History Club and National Honors’ Society.
He said his favorite thing about Academic Bowl “is the tension and excitement a close match brings to the room. Winning a tight contest is comparable to hitting a walk off home run in baseball.”
Dylan Bulfin said he enjoys getting the chance to compete in an academic arena.
Brandon and Dylan are also involved in History Bowl, Science Bowl, Science Olympiad and Math team. Brandon and Dylan said they are involved in almost everything academic related.