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Hoover High Scholars Bowl Team Makes History

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05-03-2012 (HHS) – Joshua Rutsky claims to have been chasing the “Holy Grail” of Scholars Bowl for some ten years. Now, the Hoover High School teacher and scholars bowl coach has found it – after sweeping all quiz bowl titles in all high school divisions (junior varsity and varsity) with two major tournaments this semester.

“Sweeping the titles is historic in the state of Alabama. Only one team has managed to win both Varsity titles—Indian Springs did it about five years ago—and that was a major achievement. The style of play is different in each format, which makes it challenging to create a team that can win in both tournaments against the very best of the state. I’d compare it to winning the Triple Crown in horse racing. Even if you have a great team, and you play consistently, beating other top teams over and over is very, very difficult,” Rutsky said.

Preparing 36 players to beat other top teams at both tournaments - ASCA (Alabama Scholastic Competition Association) and NAQT (National Academic Quiz Tournaments) – was no small feat. Rutsky credits dedicated, well-rounded and obviously intelligent team members - and diligent practice. Many team members practiced daily; the team as a whole met for more than an hour each Wednesday. Various team members created extra study materials – and even attended extra practices on weekends.

“The biggest element in this year’s success has been attitude. This year, our players, led particularly by our captains Logan Tarbox, Sean Moran and CG Kendrick, have all made a serious commitment to study and prepare. It really paid off at the end of the year (with our wins),” Rutsky said.

It’s worth noting all three of the aforementioned Hoover Scholars Bowl team captains placed in the top six for scoring for the tournament, making them members of the All-State Team.

As for this team of 9-12 graders, there’s no time to rest. The High School National Championship Tournament in Atlanta, Memorial Day weekend, is fast-approaching.

“I think we are still trying to take all of it in without getting cocky or losing our focus. Unifying the titles was a goal that has been out there for us for years, but in the past, when we’ve won a state title, it hasn’t always been a good thing for our next event,” Rutsky said. “We have to avoid getting complacent and remember that Nationals are only a month away, and those teams are all state championship caliber squads.”

See more at www.dbtech.net/asca and www.naqt.com

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