CARSON CITY — When he was just a young boy, Logan McClintic used to wait anxiously for his grandfather to buy him his next Lego set so he could put his imagination to work and build whatever flying devices popped into his mind.
Today, the Carson City-Crystal High School senior still has those visions of building things that can fly, but rather than playfully build on those ideas with a children’s toy, he will pursue his dreams to design and work on aircraft as an aerospace engineering student at the University of Michigan this autumn.
McClintic has best displayed his academic prowess and ability to retain knowledge as a member of the Carson City-Crystal High School varsity quiz bowl team, where he has reigned as team MVP for the past two seasons, helping to carry the team to two national competitions and winning the school its first Quiz Central championship. The team is headed to nationals June 8-11 in Chicago.
“For me, it just seems kind of natural,” McClintic said of answering so many questions correctly at competitions. “But I do a lot of reading whenever I can. I watch a lot of shows on the History Channel and have always seemed to be able to retain everything I read and see that is worth remembering.”
Those skills have helped place him toward the top 10 percent of competitors of national quiz bowl players, and have carried the student throughout high school with a perfect 4.0 grade point average, placing him at the top of his graduating class.
“I suppose you could say I’ve earned this success by sacrificing any kind of social life,” he said with a laugh. “But really, all of my friends are in quiz bowl, band or other activities with me, so it’s OK.”
McClintic also plays trombone in the high school band, has served as drum major of the marching band, is treasurer of Teens Against Drunk Driving and National Honors Society, and has participated in cross country and track for the past two years.
But McClintic’s love for airplanes was first instilled in him when his grandfather, Don Stoner, would bring him Lego sets to play with as gifts.
“He must have inherited all of my ability because I have absolutely none,” Stoner said with a chuckle. “That kid always has his nose in a book. It doesn’t matter where we are or what is going on, he’s always taking in something, learning about something in history.”
Logan’s passion for airplanes then continued to grow as he watched his father, Mark McClintic, earn his pilot’s license, something Logan still hopes to do by summer’s end.
“Since I was a little kid, my dad was working on his pilot’s license, that was kind of an inspiration,” McClintic said. “I plan to get mine by the end of this summer, it has kind of always been my dream to fly on my own.”
Logan hopes to one day work for Boeing in Washington state designing various aircraft or for NASA.
If he has to guess where his knowledge came from, Logan points no further than his mother, Wendy McClintic, who is always there driving the quiz bowl team to competitions and serving as interim coach of the team when coach Wendy Moncada is not available.
“It’s always seemed to come easy for him,” Wendy McClintic said of her son’s natural ability to retain knowledge. “I feel like he never has to study, which is something I always had to do as a student in high school. He just retains everything. He taught himself to read before preschool.”
However, Wendy McClintic said she has had to be there to push him into joining school activities, as Logan was originally unsure if quiz bowl was something he actually wanted to do.
“He needed a little push, some motivation, but I think he’s really glad he decided to do it now,” she said.
For Logan, it’s a decision he only wishes he could have made sooner.
“I’m just regretting I didn’t do quiz bowl and other activities like cross country my freshman year,” he said. “I’ve never really been a big factor on the cross country team, but I’ve really enjoyed my time spent running. If I had done quiz bowl my freshman year, I might have been on the varsity team for three years instead of just two.”
Wendy Moncada, who has been coach of the quiz bowl team for five years and serves as the high school’s librarian, says she’s never had a student like Logan before.
“Our motto has always been ‘it’s all about the food,’” she said jokingly. “The kids, regardless of how we did, always knew we’d stop and get food somewhere, but after Logan joined the team, the team has turned around and it’s more about winning championships. I’ve had many bright students do quiz bowl, but not quite at his caliber.”
Moncada said quiz bowl has always been an opportunity for students to learn more, but Logan’s involvement in the team put the team on another level.
“We started kicking some butt, blowing everybody away,” she said. “They only lost one game his junior year, and we lost winning our first state competition by only one question. With Logan, it’s just hard to believe the thing he remembers. He pulls random dates out of the blue, even the judges can’t believe it.”
Moncada said she will miss having Logan on the team after he graduates, but he has helped build a path for other students to continue the success of the quiz bowl team at the high school.
“You have to be able to try something different and be a little silly at times,” she said. “Logan has always been that kind of student.”