Mohawk strong at nat’l quiz bowl tourney

PHOTO SUBMITTED The Mohawk Academic Team includes (from left) Hannah Walters, Hayley Luhring, Bailey Morgan, Alex Lersch and Marcus Terry.

SYCAMORE — Coming off of a strong finish at the Eastwood Invitational, the Mohawk High School Quiz Bowl team took its knowledge and skills to the national stage.

The team, coached by Crystal Bartley, traveled to two competitions at the national level over the weekend, testing its knowledge of history, science, literature, fine arts, geography, the social sciences, current events and more during the National Academic Quiz Bowl Tournaments Small School National Championship Tournament.

This was Mohawk’s first time at the Small School National Championship Tournament, which is the only quiz bowl national championship pitting small schools against each other.

“I actually came into this season expecting it to be a rebuilding year,” Bartley said. “We lost a lot of seniors from last year, so we are very young this year.”

Bartley said it was a surprise they won their division in the 18-team league. In March, they were invited to the NAQT tournament at Eastwood. The format was different from the league they typically compete in, Bartley said.

“The kids loved this format,” she said. “We ended up second in the small school division.”

That win qualified them for the NAQT Small School Championship that took place over the past weekend.

Bartley said Principal Brett Graham, Superintendent Ken Ratliff and the board of education made the trip possible. The team also was able to use a van from Baumann Automotive, donated for the trip.

The team, which was in the Traditional Public division, included Alex Lersch, its captain, along with Haley Luhring, Bailey Morgan, Marcus Terry and Hanna Watson.

Luhring, a freshman, said she was surprised, proud and excited to go to nationals.

“I joined MAT (Mohawk Academic Team) because I have always loved trivia,” Luhring said.

“I was very excited and proud of our team for getting to nationals,” Watson, sophomore, said. “It is an amazing opportunity. I was on the junior high school quiz bowl team and loved it. It gives me a way to be competitive without athletics.”

Watson said they work well as a team because they all get along with one another and all have their own specialties that help to cover a larger area of topics.

Alexander Lersch, a sophomore, also received the Rising Star award given to the best freshman and sophomores during the competition.

“I was honestly surprised that we were accepted,” Lersch said. “My siblings were in quiz bowl, so its a family tradition.”

“I am so proud of these students on the Mohawk Academic Team,” Bartley said. “They practiced before school twice a week since August because all of them have sports, music or dance after school. They truly work as a team and to be one of the 92 teams invited to the national championship is an honor. We are so grateful for the support shown by the school and community.”

Now, the team is sitting at 51 out of 96 teams.

“We are out of main playoffs, but still in running for very small school awards,” Bartley said.

The team also qualified to compete in the Ohio OAC Regional Championship Saturday in Van Wert.

Team members moving on to the OAC Regional competitions are seniors Bill Dunlap and Nate Kimmet, and juniors Jacob Amlin, Ryan Lacey and Lersch, Terry, Watson and Luhring.