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Murray Journal

Murray High Academic Olympiad team snags third place in quiz bowl

Apr 30, 2022 11:57AM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Murray High’s top students have earned their moment to shine.

In a recent competition going head-to-head against the brightest teams from 22 other high schools in northern Utah, Murray High won third place in the Battle of Olympus quiz bowl.

“We haven’t ever finished in the top three,” team’s adviser Brady Smith said. “It was pretty exciting to be in the top group.”

Northern Utah Curriculum Consortium has hosted the Academic Olympiad for 35 years.

“These are students who take their academics seriously,” he said. “There are questions in geography, world history, U.S. history, U.S. government, physics, chemistry, biology, literature, trigonometry, differential calculus, statistics—about everything. The questions are from a combination of the highest level classes we offer in high school as well as some college-level questions with a whole bunch of different kinds of story problems. There are some difficult questions for sure.”

In front of spectators and the other students competing, Murray High’s team of nine students rotated to the microphone to answer the questions posed to them. Some of the questions were meant for individuals while others were for the team.

“It can be a little overwhelming to have about 220 kids who are all getting high 30s on their ACTs and you’re going up against them to compete. It’s a whole different realm,” Smith said.

In addition to the quiz bowl, each student took individual tests in core subjects. Brady said that questions are submitted from several school districts along with Utah State University.

“During the day, there was camaraderie and competition, much like the same interaction that you’d find at a sporting event,” he said. “My favorite thing is some of those conversations that those kids have on different subjects. They really have high-level conversations. Then, after the tests, these kids who have close to perfect scores on the ACT are saying how difficult these tests are; they’re like national caliber tests.”

Murray students formed their team in December.

“We looked to our brightest students based on test scores as well as academic rigor to classes,” Smith said. “Then, we gave them a study guide and they studied on their own before we got them together a couple times after school to review as a team.”

Their studying and practice were awarded with individual medals and a wooden plaque that will be displayed in a school trophy case.

Afterward, Smith said the team—Zachary Burnham, Sophie Child, Mason Marchant, Relena Pattison, Clayton Stoddard, Cameron Stout, Jameson Thackeray, Sage Williams and Benjamin Woodbury—began to text their families, including siblings of four team members who had competed in previous years, to virtually join in the celebration.