The Murray State Academic Team competes at multiple events around the region, showcasing a broad array of knowledge concerning trivia and academia.
There are six members on Murray State’s team, each of whom comes from a different major.
The team travels all across the region and even southern Ohio to compete in various competitions. Caleb Hughes, sophomore from Big Spring, Ky., is an active member of the academic team. He said academic team matches consist of answering a variety of toss-up questions that may result in a bonus question if the toss-up is answered correctly.
“Giving an answer (to a toss-up question) locks your teammates out of answering that question, so there is a lot of pressure to have confidence in your answer before you buzz in,” Hughes said. “There are also bonuses, on which we may confer with each other.”
Hughes said he enjoys their competitions most when the matches are close, and while their opponents’ competitiveness is usually on par with his team, he said Murray State’s team tends to pull ahead due to its diverse set of team skills.
He also said the participation in competitions helps keep the team members’ minds sharp and up-to-date on current events, improving their academic performance in school as well as abroad.
“Our team is also really tight knit and we’re all friends, so even when we don’t do as well as we could, we all have a fun time with the travel and the competitions.”
Hughes said others should take notice of the academic team’s efforts because although they are a relatively unknown team, they consistently perform well.
Hughes said their next competition is Saturday in Pikeville, Ky., and it will be the team’s first competition with its newly installed coach, Sunayan Acharya.
“We all just want to practice what we came to college for: learning and using information,” Acharya said.
Acharya said he took on this role because he enjoys working with students and his interests are generally more academic.
He organizes practice sessions for the team, makes travel arrangements for competitions, and recruits new members.
He said any student interested in joining the academic team should contact him with any questions or concerns they may have.
“I like that this form of competition tests knowledge of stuff like history, literature, science, politics and other such subjects,” Acharya said. “Generally, the more well-read and aware you are, the better you do. It’s a lot of fun as well.”
He said the academic team gives a chance for the more academically inclined students who are not into sports to take part in competitions and compete for their school.
“It’s important to cultivate in students a desire to learn that extends beyond just getting good grades in their classes,” Acharya said. “These competitions, with their broad range of questions, are a great opportunity to see how much there is in this world that we don’t know.”
Story by Alex Mahrenholz, Staff writer