Two former Grayson County High School graduates will be competing in the National Academic Quiz Tournaments Intercollegiate Championship Tournament as members of Western Kentucky University’s Academic Competition Club.
Nick Conder, a WKU senior from Leitchfield, and Cole Phelps, a WKU junior, also from Leitchfield, are part of the five-student team that will compete in Chicago on April 13.
Conder is not only the team’s captain, but also the founder of the group, which began at the school four years ago. This is the team’s first national championship.
According to the university’s newspaper, the WKU Herald, the team was awarded an at-large bid to enter the competition, which is “a placement and invitation given out to teams based on their performance that season.”
Conder told the WKU Herald in a recent interview, “I think it represents a lot of hard work that we’ve put in in the last four years. We’ve achieved our starting goal, and now our new goal is to win nationals.”
Sharon Sloan, Head Coach of Grayson County High School’s Quick Recall team, and Phelps’ former coach, said that both young men were members of the GCHS team during their time there. “Both competed at the state level, Cole as a team member when GCHS placed fifth in the state, and Nick in written assessment,” she said.
Since graduating from GCHS, Nick also served as a volunteer assistant coach with the GCHS academic team until this past year.
She explained that on the high school level, competitions are “similar to a four-person team playing Jeopardy against another four-person team.” On the college level, she explained, competition will be somewhat similar, with differences in respect to the question formatting and scoring.
When asked how it feels to see such drive and success in former GCHS students, Sloan said, “I’ve always said you can get as good an education at Grayson County as you can anywhere. It is there if you want it.”
She went on to say of Conder and Phelps, “I think they were able to develop strong skills as students [at GCHS], learned how to develop their knowledge and confidence so they are able to be competitive and successful.”