The Challenge: From Captain to Coach

Graduate Kara Combs Coaches Middle School Academic Challenge Team


The 2016-2017 Middle School Academic Challenge Team competes at Nationals in Dallas, Texas. Pictured from left to right: High School Assistant Coach Emily Bingham, current freshmen Amara Nwanoro, Allie Stormer, Rachel Peffley, Sean Scranton, Zach Weeks, Samantha Street, Coach Kara Combs, and High School Coach David Jones.

Samantha Street, Staff Writer

This time last year, senior Kara Combs was preparing to start a new team. Combs had noticed dwindling numbers on the High School Academic Challenge Team. With her impending graduation, she decided to do something about it: she started the Middle School Academic Challenge Team.

Academic Challenge, also known as quiz bowl, is a competition in which two teams answer questions in many subject areas using a buzzer system.

“I wanted to have others [to] also have the chance to play and continue Northmont’s legacy in the activity,” said Combs.

The high school team has a long history of doing well in these competitions. Last year, the middle school team qualified to Nationals in Dallas, Texas. Combs hopes this year’s team will achieve the same feat. However this can only be accomplished through hard work.

“I will offer them help with studying and different clues, but sometimes, that’s all I can do,” said Combs. “It’s up to the students to do the rest.”

Even though Combs admits that coaching the team is not always easy, she enjoys it.

“I really like working with the kids who share the same passion I had for the activity. After four years, it would have been very difficult for me to give up quiz bowl all together, so I am glad I am able to come back as a coach,” said Combs.

She played quiz bowl for a total of five years, one in middle school and four in high school. This is Combs’ second year of coaching.

“I enjoyed aspects of both playing and coaching, but overall I liked playing more. I’m pretty competitive, so being personally engaged in the game was more fun for me,” said Combs.

Combs hopes to continue coaching in the future since she is attending Wright State University.

If any high school students have younger siblings or friends at the middle school who might be interested, they can attend practice on Thursdays from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in Mr. David Jones’ room 3108 at the high school.