Fall sports teams are nearing the end of their seasons, the leaves are turning, temperatures are getting cooler, Halloween decorations are being hung, and pumpkin spice lattes are being sold at Starbucks. This all means that McNicholas’ Academic Team is getting ready to start their new and highly anticipated season. Academic Team starts their season with a fall tournament at Cincinnati State on Oct. 18 and participates in their first match on Oct. 21. Last year, the varsity team finished in seventh place and the junior varsity team finished in third in the Greater Cincinnati Academic League. This year, s looking to qualify for regionals for the first time in about seven years. In order to do this, the team must win the Greater Cincinnati Academic League or win one ofthe three major tournaments the team participates in. The Academic Team practices on Mondays after school for about an hour. Each practice focuses on a certain “topic of the day,” and members take part in a practice match. “It’s fun going to practices and being with people that are like-minded and smart but still like to have fun,” said senior and varsity member Lauren Fisher. Senior Andrew Parra, also on the varsity team, has been a member of Academic Team for four years and was involved with his brother’s academic team at Moeller. “My brother was part of the graduating class of 2001 at Moeller so I’ve really been involved with A-Team for about seven years now. So I’m really used to the format,” There are two divisions in the GCAL; McNicholas is a member of “Division B” which includes the academic teams from Mt. Notre Dame, Moeller, La Salle, Chaminade Julienne, McAuley, Seton, and Oldenburg. “Our toughest opponents are Chaminade Julienne and Moeller. Those two schools have very strong traditions and they do selective recruiting for their members,” Parra said. A GCAL match begins with a 20 question quiz called the “Timed Alphabet” round. Members are given a letter that the answer starts with and they are given 20 questions on various topics. After that, there is the “theme round” where members are given three questions for each theme that ranges from a variety of school topics that include science, math, social studies, and history. “My area of expertise would have to be literature, history, and I’m really good at Norse Mythology,” Fisher said. The match concludes with a “lightning round” where both teams are given 30 questions on a variety of topics. This round is a free-for-all where any team may buzz in to answer the question. “As a former member of the Academic Team, I like how it’s still around at McNick. My favorite part about Academic Team is all the laughs we have at practice, and I like to see the members learn something new. Of course, winning is always nice too,” said Academic Team Moderator Julie Muething. “I really like how the practices are laid back and the best part about Academic is the inside jokes between the members of the team,” Parra said. The Academic Team has a preseason practice at Buffalo Wild Wings in Anderson after school on Tuesday, Oct. 14 where anyone can come and challenge the Academic Team. Academic Team is always willing to accept new members for the Varsity, Reserve, and Reserve 2 teams. Students can join Academic Team by contacting moderators Julie Muething at email@example.com or Michelle Semancik at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow the Academic Team on Twitter at @McNATeam for info and updates on McNick’s A-Team.