The Urbana High School Academic Team started off their season with a bang last month when captains Ady Weng and Jude Abijah along with MVP Trevor Weakly led their team to victory on “It’s Academic.” They won their first-round competition and placed in front of Calvert and North Harford High Schools, enabling Urbana High to proceed to the quarter-final round next year.
In the meantime, the team, which consists of 32 members, has been making preparations for the upcoming county regular season competition through practices held Tuesdays and Thursdays. The group trains by running through academic quiz and trivia books with coaches Barbara Tarrant-Coleman, Craig Coleman and John Hayes, answering questions dealing with a variety of subjects.
Coleman describes the academic team as “a group of kids who enjoy flaunting their knowledge and … (having) a lot of fun … together.”
Team members agree. Abijah said, “The community I’ve been a part of because of Academic Team is priceless.” He noted how “in addition to team members, they have become some of (his) closest friends throughout high school.”
Echoing his thoughts, Weng said she loves “how well we mesh together even though we’re all from different grades and different backgrounds.”
The official county regular season takes place Friday nights beginning in January, so the team has a lot more rigorous training ahead of them. Coaches are doing everything in their power to get their students ready for competition.
“Our coaches are great,” said Weng. “(It) wouldn’t be the same without Mr. Hayes’ inspirational speeches and the Colemans’ good or bad puns, depending on who you ask!”
Abijah called the coaches “wonderful” and said they “always have valuable competition and life advice to share.”
Coleman recognizes the challenges that come with any team sport. He said one of his biggest challenges is “teaching the kids how to work together on stage” rather than being brain-savvy. “All the teams have smart kids. They have to be able to confer and take … chances while being fast on the buzzer.”
Be sure to catch the Urbana High School Academic Team as they compete on “It’s Academic.” The competition airs on Dec. 7 on local TV cable station WJZ-13. Although they haven’t won the weekly quiz show yet, Coleman said the team advances “far into the tournament each year” and will continue to do so.