22 Sep 'Team genius' named National MVP
by Molly Bowman
It doesn’t take long to realize that Wesley Oliver is not your average high school sophomore. Referred to by many of his teammates as “the team genius,” the Conway Christian student was recently named the National MVP for Junior High Quiz Bowl.
Though an avid reader and a naturally curious student, Wesley did not fully recognize his potential to accomplish such an honor when he began participating in the academic competition in the seventh grade.
“My parents suggested it (quiz bowl), and I tried it,” Wesley said. “I really like geography and history, so it was a natural fit for me.”
From that moment on, Wesley found himself competing for Conway Christian Junior High in quiz bowl meets all around the state.
During the Memorial Day weekend, Conway Christian took all three of its teams to New Orleans for the 2012 National Quiz Bowl Tournament. On Saturday and Sunday, the teams played in six preliminary rounds. Of the six, the junior high team won four, propelling them into the single elimination finals tournament on Monday. Upon beating Altamont, a team from Birmingham, Ala., in the final match, Wesley was awarded the honor of Most Valuable Player.
“I was still so shocked and amazed that we had actually won,” he said. “The MVP thing didn’t sink in until we got in the car to go home. I couldn’t believe that that had actually just happened.”
Wesley’s involvement in Quiz Bowl has not only stretched him intellectually, but his role as team captain has also allowed him an opportunity to exercise his leadership abilities. “I have matured a lot since I first became captain,” said Wesley. “I have learned that other people’s thoughts and feelings are more important than any personal victory that I could achieve.”
This team-building attitude has aided Wesley in the success he has seen in the Quiz Bowl program. He recognizes that he could not have reached that level without the help of people such as Laura Shelton, who serves as the quiz bowl coach, and the variety of teammates that have shared in his quiz bowl experience.
“Quiz bowl has taught me teamwork and patience,” said Wesley. “It has also given me the ability to put things into proper perspective. For example, even if we had lost the national tournament, I still would have had a fun trip to New Orleans with my friends and family.”
The impact quiz bowl has had on his life has made Wesley eager to continue his participation on the team until he graduates. While the competition will prove to be harder as he moves into the senior high division this year, Wesley continues to maintain a positive outlook.
“Quiz bowl is all about putting yourself out there. If you are scared of getting embarrassed, you will never be able to live up to your potential.”