US Academic League fights for top spot in league

The Upper School Academic League is heading into its fifth week of competition in the National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) regular season. The varsity team holds a 4-0 record and continues to battle for the number one spot in the San Diego league.

In the last match against University City High School on Feb. 15, all three teams -- varsity, junior varsity, and novice -- emerged victorious. The varsity team, captained by Jeremy McCulloch, Class of 2018, pulled in a comprehensive win after securing victories on the final questions in previous weeks. Faculty advisor Ari Gass said their latest victory allowed fans and coaches to “relax and revel in the team’s brilliance.”

Junior varsity came back from behind to win their match against University City, who took the lead early after answering the first three toss-ups. Parker’s team, captained by Ryan Horne, Class of 2019, grew in confidence as the match progressed and came out on top for their first win of the season.

The novice team also pulled out ahead of their challenger in the bonus round, after seesawing back and forth in the toss-ups. Captain Oliver Pai, Class of 2021, led the team to a 2-2 overall standing with three matches to go in the regular season.

Academic League advisors Ari Gass and Rachel Krause are proud of the teams' accomplishments so far this season. 

"Often, students start the season telling me, 'I won't help the team. I'm not smart enough.' Academic League shows students that everyone has the expertise to contribute, that 'smart' isn't a uniform identity. When a student sees that her own knowledge is valued, a confidence develops that, I believe, can impact every part of that student's life at Parker," said Krause.

That confidence translates into exciting and intense matches against some of San Diego's toughest teams.

"Coaching the Academic League team is like any other competitive endeavor. We feel tension in close matches, excitement at each correct answer, frustration at each miss, and elation when we win. The most appealing aspect is that our students win or lose based on their own merits. They compete on equal footing with their opponents and succeed based on their hard work and knowledge," said Gass. 

The Academic League travels to Mira Mesa High School for their next match on Thursday, Feb. 22. The novice competition begins at 7 pm.

Members of the US Academic League include:

Carly Berglas, Class of 2021
Jack Dorsey, Class of 2021
Rohin Buch, Class of 2020
Hannah Riordan, Class of 2021
Luca Bonanno, Class of 2021
Pallavi Murthy, Class of 2020
Oliver Pai, Class of 2021
Liam Brownlie, Class of 2021
Isabel Gonzalez, Class of 2021
Jeremiah Lin, Class of 2021
Elan Ilfeld, Class of 2021
Tess Karras, Class of 2021
Neeve Esfahani, Class of 2021
Annabelle Fowler, Class of 2020
Emily Park, Class of 2019
Ryan Horne, Class of 2019
Ben Sheres, Class of 2020
Jordan Finley, Class of 2019
Ryan Sanborn, Class of 2019
Troy Appel, Class of 2018
Garrett Hoff, Class of 2018
Liam Fay, Class of 2018
Jeremy McCulloch, Class of 2018
Ian Lillie, Class of 2021
Will Murray, Class of 2020
Jordan Ryan, Class of 2019
Jacob Brittain, Class of 2019
Nithya Palakodety, Class of 2020
Jeffery Zhou, Class of 2021
Caitlin Rowlings, Class of 2020
Larry Mei, Class of 2021
Francis Parker School is a private, independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12 from across San Diego County. Founded in 1912, the Lower School is located on the Mission Hills Campus with the Upper and Middle Schools on the Linda Vista Campus. Parker's mission is to inspire a diverse community of independent thinkers whose academic excellence, global perspective and strength of character prepare them to make a meaningful difference in the world.

Mission Hills Campus Lower School

4201 Randolph Street
San Diego, CA 92103

Linda Vista Campus Middle/Upper School

6501 Linda Vista Road
San Diego, CA 92111
858 / 569-7900