Sierra Lutheran finishes fourth at Academic Olympics | RecordCourier.com

Sierra Lutheran finishes fourth at Academic Olympics

by Scott Neuffer
sneuffer@recordcourier.com

They’re called the Academic Olympics for a reason. The questions are not easy. Language, literature, math, geography, science, history, current events – 30 questions in 30 minutes for numerous rounds.

On Monday, eight qualifying teams from across Nevada met at Sierra Lutheran High School in north Douglas County for the 1A State Academic Olympics Championships.

“Sierra Lutheran High School is delighted to host this significant event and the amazingly talented young people that will compete in it,” said SLHS Executive Director Brian Underwood. “These students represent some of Nevada’s finest scholars, and we’re pleased to be able to host them for what promises to be a memorable day of competition.”

Sierra Lutheran was defending four of the past five state titles. Each team, consisting of six student competitors, fielded questions during four, 30-minute rounds throughout the morning.

“What is the number if the difference between 55 and four times the number is 15?” asked moderator Norm Brauer.

The answer was 10, which every school got correct. Another question, though, stumped the room.

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“What is the largest mountain system partially located in Bulgaria and Serbia?” Brauer asked.

Thirty seconds later, only Pahranagat Valley had the correct response: the Balkans.

Another question asked teams to name the tuft of elongated, erect feathers on the heads of belted kingfishers and blue jays.

Sierra Lutheran, Tonopah and Jackpot came up with the right name – crest. After a challenge, however, judges decided that crown was also acceptable.

By the end of round one, Sierra Lutheran was trailing five other schools in terms of points.

Round two saw its share of stumps as well. A question asking for the correct rhetorical term describing incongruity in such phrases as “Water under the dam” and “It isn’t rocket surgery” puzzled students.

The correct term was “mixed metaphor.”

But all teams showed their knowledge of current events by answering “don’t ask, don’t tell” on a question about policy changes in the military regarding openly gay men and women.

The five teams with the most points after the morning rounds advanced to the semifinals, which were held in the afternoon. Sierra Lutheran tied for fourth place with Smith Valley at the conclusion of the semifinal rounds.

Pahranagat Valley High School of Alamo won its second state title with an 18-16 win over Virginia City High School, which defeated Eureka High School in a sudden death playoff for second place.