Academic Team advances to Nationals for the first time

Kaely Holloway

The Academic Competition Club has competed and advanced to the National Academic Quiz Tournaments Intercollegiate Championship Tournament for the first time in WKU history.

The tournament will be hosted in Chicago on April 13.


Huntsville, Ala. freshman Matthew Riggle, Leitchfield senior Nick Conder, Leitchfield junior Cole Phelps, Radcliff junior Terence Donohue and Bowling Green sophomore Joey Wallace, will spend the coming weeks practicing, studying and preparing to face schools from all across the country and potentially some from overseas.

The team recently placed second in a competition in St. Louis.

The team, having only been around for four competition seasons, is advancing to the national tournament level for the first time in university history.

They received an at-large bid, a placement and invitation given out to teams based on their performance that season. This achievement came as a huge honor to the team, and presented new challenges to face opponents on a national level.

“It’s very exciting,” Riggle said. “It’s a big milestone, and we’ve come a long way.”

Despite being the only freshman on the team, Riggle has enough credit hours gained from his high school years to be considered a junior. He and the team, led by Conder, will begin practicing more in preparation for the upcoming tournament.

Riggle said his strong suit is geography, a statement backed up by the team’s advisor, Guy Jordan, an assistant art professor. Jordan said Riggle is a good asset to the team.

“He’s going to be a monster by the time he’s a junior and senior; we’ll be going to nationals regularly if we keep him,” Jordan said.

Jordan, having participated in Quiz Bowl teams throughout his graduate and undergraduate career, encourages the team to practice and study for this tournament.

“I’m really proud of them,” Jordan said. “I remember their first year playing they went to a tournament in Illinois, and got beat pretty bad. It’s easy to go and come back never wanting to do it again, so I’m proud of them.”

The team will fund this trip through the meets they have hosted on campus for high school students.

Several competitions are set up and hosted by the Academic Team to allow high school students to compete, potentially recruit for coming seasons and raise funds allowing them to travel to competitions and pay needed fees.

Conder, who is captain and founder of the team, said the team’s strong suits are in history, current events and geography. He said the team will incorporate more individual study time into their schedules, as well as team practices.

“I think it represents a lot of hard work that we’ve put in in the last four years,” he said. “We’ve achieved our starting goal, and now our new goal is to win nationals.”