RHS It’s Academic Team Places 6 out of 24 Teams in Regular Season

William Gangnath

Sarah D'Souza, Editor-In-Chief

Finishing in sixth place out of 24 teams in the Montgomery Academic Beltway League (MALB), and going to the championship round in the TV season, the RHS It’s Academic team persevered despite the absence of their captain and prominent member of the MALB team.

“It’s been kind of difficult because once [Jet] left we took a decent hit. However, over time we’ve managed to improve, and I think where we are today– we got pretty far against some big league teams,” senior acting captain Sivan Shafrir said.

Shafrir stepped up as the acting captain after senior and captain Jet Lee fell ill and could no longer perform on the team. Lee specialized in literature, monarchs around the world, inventors and other subjects, but after no longer being able to compete, Shafrir said the team had to work together and specialize new subjects.

It’s Academic has been running since 1961 and is currently in its 55th season on air.

The It’s Academic team at RHS competes in two separate leagues, both MALB and the TV competitions. Last year’s regular season record was 24-2 and this year the team ended with a score of 32-13.

“We missed Jet a lot while he was out. But the team came together very nicely in our stretch run in Montgomery Academic Beltway League,” head coach Dr. David Goodrich said. “Overall, the team went 32-13 on the season, which isn’t bad.”

The team persevered through the loss of their captain and in the MALB league ended in sixth place out of 24 teams even though they did not have a consistent fourth member on the A team. The team adapted to their captain’s absence by rotating in members during each competition.

Junior Jack Sobel also stepped up during Lee’s absence and said that the team had to adjust after having their captain out of school for over a month. This is Sobel’s second year on the TV team and he plans to continue next year.

Sobel joined the It’s Academic team because he was excited by the prospects of competing on TV, but after joining, grew to enjoy all aspects of being on the team, including making new friends and the competitive environment.

In over 15 years as head coach, David Goodrich said Sobel was the first sophomore on the TV team. Sobel attributes his achievement to his specialized knowledge which includes American politics, geography and American sports.

“There are actually a surprising number of sports questions that come up, and you’d think for an academic-type competition, they wouldn’t be there, but they’re there and I tend to get those pretty solidly,” Sobel said.

In the end, the team made it to the championships but lost, scoring 385 to first place Thomas Sprigg Wootton HS’s 545 and second place Robinson HS’s 490.

In order to improve for next year, Sobel said it is important to “get good at everything,” including buzzing in quickly to answer the question, building their overall knowledge and earning more points.

“We were a good team, but we didn’t break into the top teams in the county or the DC area,” Goodrich said. “But we have a ton of talent coming back next year.”