October 9, 2014 by Serena Egan
After two rounds of tryouts, the Saratoga Academic Team has picked its 2014-2015 A and B teams. Led by captain Jonah Cohen, the A team is rounded out by Ben Jacob, Adam Willman, Tom Glozman, Davawn Hartz, Aaron Sterngass, Hunter Johns, and Christian Beitzel. The B team includes Emily Maizner, Pasqual Smith, Myles Parslow, Ian Starnes, Kyle Newton, Caleb Cohen, Mike Young, Luke Wurl, and Ben Palmateer. Both teams are coached by Damian Ubriaco through a six-match season followed by playoffs and hopefully Nationals, for which the team traveled to New Orleans last spring.
The selection process for the Academic Team is as extensive as one might expect. After taking a written test, those who score highly enough are called back for a buzzer tryout to see how they can perform in high pressure environments. After this, team captain Jonah Cohen and Mr. Ubriaco discuss the merits of each aspiring member and fill both the A and B teams with 9 members each. The A team is the equivalent of a varsity sports team, playing other A teams, while the B team serves as the JV team. This ensures fair competition between teams. New this year is the farm team, a sort of exhibition group offered to those who aren’t quite ready to compete. The Farm team participates during practice, sometimes serving as moderators, and is welcome to attend competitions as well. The farm team is a great way for those who aren’t quite yet “ready to attack” to hone their buzzer skills and become competitive candidates for next year.
At quick glance, it’s disappointing to see such an uneven ratio between males and females on the team. Mr. Ubriaco notes that while there were competitive female applicants, they tended to be better on paper than they were during the buzzer tryout. He encourages them to attend practices as members of the farm team so that they can increase their chances of making the team next year.