Eagles Five-Peat as GCAL Champs

CJ's varsity Quiz Bowl team finished atop the Greater Cincinnati Academic League (GCAL) for the fifth consecutive year in 2011 and will compete in the Ohio Academic Competition Regional Tournament Saturday, April 30.

After winning the fall league tournament, the Eagles (10-1) completed the regular season in early February with two close victories over Moeller and Ursuline to secure a share of the GCAL championship with Fenwick, who handed CJ its only loss. This spring, the team will make its sixth appearance at the state regional tournament since the program’s inception in 2005.

Under the supervision of Jim Sparrow, moderator and CJ social studies teacher, the school fielded three teams for the 2010-11 season.  The varsity, first reserve and second reserve squads completed the season a combined 20-3 overall in the GCAL, a league consisting of 16 mostly Catholic high schools in southwest Ohio. 

“We have good students,” Sparrow said of what makes all three of CJ's teams—comprised of seven seniors, seven juniors and one sophomore—so successful.  “We have good students and we practice a lot.

“We started practicing in September meeting two mornings a week, so we’ve been practicing now for five months, and we’ll practice for two more months until the state tournament.”

The Ohio Academic Competition state tournament hosts up to 96 teams hailing from six regions. Regional winners and runners-up advance to the state championship held this year on Saturday, May 7 at Columbus State Community College. The Eagles will begin their quest for the school’s first academic state title during the last weekend in April in the double-elimination regional tournament at Cincinnati State Community College.

“We’ve finished fourth one year and third one year at regionals, but we’ve never been to the state finals,” Sparrow said. “That is our goal this year.”

In his second year on the varsity team, senior captain Giles Hinders said what he most enjoys about Quiz Bowl is having the opportunity to compete while simultaneously being able to use the knowledge he’s attained both inside and outside of the classroom—a passion he realizes may not apply to everyone. 

“It’s sort of an outlet for our nerdiness,” he jokingly relented, but his team is just like any other at CJ. The group holds try-outs in the fall, practices on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and makes sure to sit down for a meal together before the start of the season to build camaraderie and friendships.

“This is a really selfless group of guys,” Hinders added. He encourages anyone interested in joining for the 2011-12 season to contact Mr. Sparrow.


  • Two teams compete head-to-head during a match.  Matches are trivia-based competitions consisting of three rounds: a category round in which questions come from 10 categories including American Literature, Mathematics, World History, Fine Arts, Life Science, English/World Literature, U.S. Government, Physical Science, World Geography, and U.S. History; an alphabet round in which all answers begin with the same letter; and a lighting round of 20 quick questions.
  • Teams may consist of anywhere from a minimum of 4 to a maximum of 8 students in grades 9-12. Four players compete at one time and coaches can make substitutions.
  • Points are awarded during each round for correct answers. The team that finishes with the most points at the conclusion of all rounds is the winner.
  • To qualify for the state tournament, a team must win its league or a tournament consisting of a minimum of eight different participating high schools.
  • The Ohio Academic Competition began the state tournament in 1985 and has since crowned 26 champions.