Wooster High School's Academic Challenge Team Wins OCC Championship

(Nov. 10, 2018) – The Wooster High School (WHS) Academic Challenge team recently placed first out of seven local area high school teams at the Ohio Cardinal Conference (OCC) Academic Challenge tournament. 

To secure their victory, Wooster’s team tested their knowledge against high school teams from Ashland, Lexington, Madison, Mansfield Senior, Mount Vernon and West Holmes. 

During the competition, students answered questions ranging from math and social studies to science and literature. Students on each team work together, utilizing individual strengths to determine who will answer specific questions. 

Coach Dylan Ruff, who is a science and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teacher at WHS, said the Academic Challenge team is currently made up of 12 students, comprising three teams of four students. The students on the team include John Gorman, Alexis Greene, Tyler Keating, Zachary Keating, Hayden Michel, Michael Nguyen, Evan Opatz, Seth Opatz, Molly Snyder, Christopher Vann, Olivia VanSickle and Sophia VanSickle.

“On the team, there’s a group of students who started with Academic Challenge in high school, and then there are seven freshmen who were part of the amazingly successful Wooster Middle School Academic Challenge team, as well,” said Ruff. “When I took over the team this year, I made an announcement to invite any student who was interested, and we’ve been practicing together with our full team ever since.”

At the OCC Academic Challenge tournament, Wooster’s team were tested in seven rounds with total scores accumulating over the course of the competition.

“Going into this tournament, I told the team that I wanted them to do their best but more importantly, I wanted them to be the most respectful and sportsman-like team there,” said Ruff. “I wanted all the schools to leave the tournament thinking that Wooster High School has some awesome kids that acted as great examples of what it means to be a General.” 

Later this school year, Wooster’s team will compete at the Tri-County ESC tournament in January, along with the regional tournament—which will hopefully result in the team qualifying for state finals. 

“Congratulations to the students on the Academic Challenge team for testing their knowledge and coming away from the tournament victorious,” said Principal Tyler Keener. “Academic Challenge is a unique way to test the brain while simultaneously working on teamwork and sportsmanship. We look forward to following the team this season and seeing how far their knowledge can take them!”