Academic team invites new players to join

Mt. Sterling freshman Blake Soper answers a question during the Academic Competition Club practice. The club has been slow to grow but is constantly gaining new members.

Monta Reinfelde

Athletics isn’t the only discipline where students compete bearing the WKU name.

The academic competition, mostly known as “quiz bowl,” is more an intellectual matchup rather than muscle or strength -related.

WKU Academic Competition Club was established in spring of 2010 by two WKU students, Leitchfield junior Nick Conder and Smiths Grove junior Brian Riddle, who met in a quiz bowl tournament during high school.

The club consists of different students and faculty members who help with all aspects of an academic competition. Select members who wish to compete form teams.

Because the WKU Academic Competition Team is new compared to other collegiate teams in the nation that have been around for decades, they are not ranked yet.

“Since we started, we have done fair,” said Riddle, who is a finance major and the club’s treasurer. “We are in the middle of the pack.”

Guy Jordan, who is an assistant professor of art history and the club’s adviser, said he thinks this team has a lot of growing to do. However, Jordan said he knows the team will get better and earn a ranking one day.

“I do not think there is anybody currently on our team who is sort of a monster player who will just gobble everything up,” he said. “To have a team like that that works, everybody has to be on that same level, sharpening swords and making one another better.”

Currently the Academic Competition Team is looking for new students who would like to participate.

“We always need new players and people to help read questions, keep scores and perform other simple tasks,” said Conder, who is a history major and the club’s president.

Although it may seem daunting to join a club based on intelligence, Conder said people don’t need a 4.0 GPA to be successful players.

“I know someone who played for another team,” he said. “He was one of the best players in the country, but he was a terrible student, who ended up dropping out of college. There are people who do not fit the normal definition of smart who excel quiz bowl.”

Quiz bowl is very competitive, Conder said. It’s a lot like playing physical sports, but instead of using the body, people use their minds.

Riddle agreed with Conder and added that playing quiz bowl is not as large of a time commitment as being on a sports team. People have enough time to do other things as well, he said.

The team practices Wednesday nights and plays up to 30 games a semester, Conder said.

During a season, the team travels to a lot of different places, including Washington D.C., St. Louis, Mo., Tuscaloosa, Ala., among others.

“The best reason to participate is we go to a lot of places,” Riddle said. “And we have fun.”

Besides traveling and competing, Conder said academic competition is a good way to expand knowledge on various academic subjects and meet a lot of people.

For example, Jordan met his wife in one of those tournaments at the time he played.

“It is a good way to go places and meet people,” Conder said. “I know people from all around the country.”

Trips and housing are always paid, Conder said. The only thing players have to pay for is food and sightseeing tours.

Jordan encouraged students to participate in the Academic Competition Team.

“It is a pretty laid back atmosphere,” Jordan said.