Challenge Accepted

Combs Awarded NAQT Player of the Week


The Northmont Academic Challenge Team members junior Ryan Laing, junior Caitlin Hoyng, senior Kara Combs, and middle school student Samantha Street celebrate their win at the Van Wert Invitational (photo courtesy of Mr. David Jones).

Autumn Jenkins, Editor-in-Chief

Senior Kara Combs’ efforts at the Van Wert Invitational earlier this month earned her the title of National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) Player of the Week for the week of February 4, 2017.

Combs has participated with the Academic Challenge Team since her freshman year. Despite the success of the team, Combs was shocked to be selected for the award.

“It was surprising because there are really, really good players,” said Combs. “It was a real honor.”

Northmont defeated all 7 teams at the Van Wert Invitational, with Combs personally averaging 125 points per game.

“During, it was a bit stressful, as usual… but I knew we had a chance to win based on what my teammates and I are capable of,” said Combs.

Combs was excited to celebrate the win at the iconic Made-rite restaurant after the competition, noting that team meals following tournaments are what helps to bring the team closer together.

“[Academic Challenge] has a lot of social values as well as educational. I’ve met a lot of friends from other schools as well as grown closer to my teammates. We’re basically together every weekend,” said Combs.

Combs would like to finish in the top ten at NAQT state, continue the team’s 100+ winning streak at GWOC, and make the playoffs at Nationals. Northmont has won 5 tournaments this season and is currently undefeated in GWOC. The team has qualified for three national championship competitions.

“In college, I plan to continue playing for Wright State’s team, as well as continue to help JV and middle school teams,” said Combs, who is serving as the captain of the Academic Challenge Team this year.

Academic Challenge competitions involve teams of 4 and cover numerous topics. Combs refers to Academic Challenge as a “team-based jeopardy” game.

“It’s definitely taught me a lot of material that I’d have had to learn otherwise, and it really helps in AP classes,” said Combs.

Academic Challenge Team advisor and social studies teacher Mr. David Jones has been coaching Combs on the Academic Challenge Team since her freshman year.

“Kara is hands down the hardest working student that I have ever had on the team. In addition to her excellence as a player, she has taken it upon herself to recruit players for our middle school team, and has been coaching that team since October. This isn’t something that I asked her to do, she took it upon herself to do it because she cares about the future of the team long after she has graduated. I really appreciate that a student cares so much about an activity to be willing to give their time to do that,” according to Jones. “Kara’s recognition by NAQT as Player of the Week is a tremendous honor.”

NAQT organizes the premier middle school, high school, and college quiz bowl championships in North America. NAQT was founded in 1996 by former players and coaches from across the United States (