1993 Nationals - Jason Sorens' Memories

The following recollections were written by Jason Sorens of the third place team from Braeswood, TX.

Nationals 1993 Jason Sorens I was a junior in high school when the 1992-93 Bible Quiz season, on Luke, rolled around. Nationals that year was in Minneapolis, and we looked forward to it like never before (it would be our fourth consecutive trip to Nationals). Two of our players, Thalia Shortridge and Dionne Jobe (our captain), were seniors, so it would be our last, best chance at a national championship. Our coach, Jerome Tang, got a job that summer as basketball coach at a high school in Cleveland, TX, a good hour from Houston, so it would be his last year taking a truly active role in the team. (He’s now assistant coach at Baylor.) The question writer that year, Sean Davis, was known for writing clear questions that were easy to interrupt. Finally, the three best teams that year - Bartlesville, OK, Lakewood, CA, and us - were the three best teams I’d ever seen in my five years of quizzing.

Dan Smith has already talked about some of the concordance preparation that he and his team did prior to Nationals. Our regimen was similar. We practiced daily over the summer, and I recall that my standard studying-alone time was six hours a day, a mix of concordance flash card practice and a straight quote of the entire book. Dionne and Thalia did the same. Dionne was our best quizzer and lightning-quick on the buzzer.

Part of the fun of going to Minneapolis was that Jerome had spent a couple of years there, attending college at North Central. When we got there, we visited the Kruegers in Farmington (Jerome had coached two of the Krueger sisters, and we had often quizzed against the third, Jo Ellyn), and I also remember visiting the Mall of America, which had only recently opened.

I have to say that I don’t remember a whole lot of the quizzing. I don’t remember our match with Bartlesville at all. I do remember two matches fairly distinctly: our match against Lakewood and my one-on-one quiz against Thalia.

Against Lakewood, we took a quick early lead of at least 100 points. Then Lakewood started coming right back. Jerome called a timeout to try to stop the momentum. We knew we needed to get quicker on the buzzer. I know I interrupted a 20-point question too early and missed it. Lakewood came storming back and took the victory. We also lost to Bartlesville and the final quiz of the tournament, Atlanta. With three losses, we tied with Santa Ana and then beat them in a playoff to take third.

In the one-on-one tournament Thalia and I eventually came up against each other. We spontaneously decided right there and then not to hit the buzzer. We let all 10 questions go, and the judges, a bit peeved, conferred. It went to a sudden-death question, which Thalia took. I can’t remember where the three of us finished up in the one-on-one, or who eliminated me (I think it might have been Lisa Wootton from Bartlesville but am really not sure).

Despite the disappointment of not winning a national championship, it was an exhilarating year and an experience (the broad outlines of which!) I will never forget. After that year, we all drifted apart, and it has now been well over a decade since I’ve seen my old teammates or coach. We never really reminisced about that year or any of our other quiz experiences, and that’s probably the reason I’ve forgotten so much!