Friday, May 4, 2012

KCKCC in near miss in academic excellence challenge


Just like any successful team, Linda Sutton put a solid lineup together for Kansas City Kansas Community College’s entry into the annual Kansas Academic Excellence Challenge and it paid big dividends.

“We came the closest we’ve ever come to playing for the championship,” said Sutton, the Director of Student Activities and Academic Excellence Challenge team coach.

Compiling an 8-2-1 record, KCKCC finished third in the 11-team competition and prevented first place Garden City Community College from an unbeaten record by getting a tie.

“Overall, we had a good strong team and were just one win away from making the finals,” said Sutton, whose team took home two medals and earned a cash award of $750.

Robert McQuillen had the second highest individual points per round with Jennifer Anderson third in most points per round.

They were joined on the team by Michele Baker and Malcom Jefferson, who captained the team.

“Robert was very strong in history and world news, Malcolm in sports and trivia, Jennifer in math, science and literature and Michele in math and science,” said Sutton. “We did real well in the bonus questions which is something we haven’t done well in the past. Surprisingly, there were several sports questions than came up and no one could answer them with the exception of Malcolm.”

KCKCC’s best previous finish was also a third in 2007 but the team did not come as close to reaching the finals.

The challenge consists of games of 24 questions with 10 points for answering the original toss-up question and 30 points for answering the bonus question. Teams have five seconds to buzz in and only that person can answer the toss-up question.

“The bonus question teams can communicate but they only have 10 seconds to answer,” said Sutton. “It took all four working together to answer most of those questions.”

McQuillen is an Air Force veteran who almost didn’t try out for the team.

“He told me he wanted to join the team last year but thought he was too old,” said Sutton. “This year, Jennifer Anderson had a class with him and told him he would be good on the team. I think he surprised himself. He’d say, ‘Gosh, I remember this from high school. I can’t believe it.’ Obviously we were happy Jennifer encouraged him to join the team.”


PHOTO: The Kansas City Kansas Community College team of (from left) Michele Baker, Robert McQuillen, Malcolm Jefferson and Jennifer Anderson came closer to winning the Kansas Academic Excellence Challenge than any KCKCC team in history in 2012, finishing third with an 8-2-1 record and earning a cash prize of $750. (KCKCC Photo)