The Pettisville High School quiz team known as “The Nerd Herd” has qualified for the state academic quiz team tournament, after already qualifying for a national event.
Rebecca Dorosz, a PHS teacher and Nerd Herd coach, said her students won the NBAL, or Northern Buckeye Academic League season and tournament, which qualified them for the regional competition.
The NBAL tournament was held Friday, March 15.
The NBAL operates under the auspices of OAC, or Ohio Academic Competition.
The OAC regional event was held Saturday, April 6, at Van Wert.
The Nerd Herd finished as runners-up, second to Sidney. Only two teams from regionals qualified for state.
“There are 16 teams that qualified for state, and we are only one of two that are small schools, so there’s (teams from) big schools there,” Dorosz said.
The other small-school qualifier? Wyoming High School, in the southwest corner of Ohio with an enrollment of about 655 students (based on Ohio Department of Education headcount figures taken in October 2018).
PHS has an enrollment of about 238 (including seventh and eighth grades).
Kind Of A Shock
Dorosz said placing second at OAC regionals “was kind of a shock. It was not really on our goal horizon. It was something we really weren’t striving for.”
“To put it bluntly, we’re going to face some really good teams at the state tournament,” she said.
Pettisville is involved in National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) national competition, “and our kids prefer that. So we’re focused on that,” she said.
“We didn’t really have any expectations for regionals, and we wanted to go. We wanted to compete. We knew we could emerge from it, but it wasn’t something we really talked about.”
One of her favorite aspects of regionals was a lot of Nerd Herd members had conflicts and couldn’t attend.
“So we ended up having in our team of four a freshman, a sophomore, a junior, and a senior, which I thought was really cool,” she said, especially considering the teams they faced were usually upperclassmen.
The Nerd Herd members keep surprising themselves be overachieving,” she said.
A large part of the team’s success can be traced back to simple hard work.
Dorosz said team members are in her classroom every day over the lunch hour studying for quiz competition. Most days, they’re in her room studying before and after school.
NAQT nationals are Saturday, May 4, in Rosemont, Ill. Two PHS teams of four members each qualified, she said.
The state tournament is Saturday, May 11, at St. Charles Preparatory School, Columbus.