Academic Team Wins 5th Consecutive District and Region Championships, Prepares for State

Lilly Keith, Writer

One of Central Hardin’s most outstanding assets has consistently been our Academic Team. Our past teams have left a legacy that has made a lasting impact on their succeeders each year. The team is constantly making impressive strides during their competitions. 

Recently, they competed at their Regional Competition, finding huge success in their efforts. The Academic Team as a whole won their 5th straight District 17 Championship. They came in first in quick recall and overall.

Not only did the team make impressive achievements as a whole, but they achieved just as impressive titles individually. 

Their individual regional accomplishments are as follows: 

  • Junior Gatton attendee Cameron Miller placed first in the math competition and third in science. He tied for sixth in math in the state. 
  • Sophomore Lindy Barnes placed third in Arts and Humanities and had the highest score on the Language Arts test with a 40/50.  
  • Junior Brennen Adams placed second in Arts and Humanities.  
  • Junior Sophia Stover placed second at districts in written Language Arts and fourth at regions.
  • Junior Zach Townsend placed fourth in social studies. 
  • Junior Brianna Blankenship placed first in the written competition. She also participated in the FPS (Future Problem Solving) team, which achieved first place.
  • Senior Anna Hinkle placed first in the social studies written competition and second in mathematics. 
  • Sophomore Clair Nusbaumer placed seventh on the science test.

The Bruin Academic Team has earned respectable rankings and stats throughout the state, as well as throughout the nation.

“As a group, we accumulated the most points out of any team at regions and advanced to state in quick recall,” Townsend said.

“Our team has made it onto the Groger Rank list of national quizbowl rankings,” Hinkle shared. 

The Groger Rank list displays the midseason top 300 teams in the Nation and their scores. Central Hardin currently ranks at 230 with a score of 58.68.

“The team was once again Heartland League Champions (overall & quick recall), JV Challenge Champions, Scholastic Challenge Champions, District 17 Champions (5th year in a row) & Region 5 Champions (5th year in a row). We won FPS & Quick Recall both at District & Region, as well as winning overall, and had LOTS of students individually placed at both levels.

Anna, Cameron, Lindy are both going to state in 2 subjects, Brennen, Sophia, Zach, & Mea are all going to state in one. Brianna & Pepper are going to State in Comp,” Coach Ms. York said. 

Though the team’s hard work is already advancing them forward, members are always striving to improve as a team and as individuals.

“Overall, I’d say our standing in the state is pretty high, but there is still a decent amount of room to grow and to go to that next level,” Miller commented.

The standing of our team will also depend on the results of the State Governor’s Cup competition.

“In the State, Central Hardin is not a bad team and not a star team, but we are good competition for the majority of teams and look forward to beating out our competition at State Governor’s Cup,” Adams said. 

The majority of teams in Kentucky see our school’s capability, but the FPS team hasn’t always had that stance.

“Our FPS (Future Problem Solving) team has just started to be seen on the state level. I think that most FPS teams don’t really view us as competition, but between all of our members, we have the writing and problem-solving skills necessary to be a very strong team. It’s an oversight on other teams’ parts to count us out,” Blankenship said.

The oversight that other teams have on our team could be detrimental to their game. After all, our quick recall team won by exceptionally large margins. 

“Our quick recall team won Regionals, beating Marion County by over 20 points. We were also the team with 60 points overall (2nd place had 14),” Anna Hinkle shared.

The team’s accumulation of points also led to incredible advancements. 

“As a team, we advanced to state in every subject, and had first place in all but two,” Clair Nusbaumer said. 

Regarding individual rankings, the members achieved impressive standings, and some aim to climb the board even higher.

“I had the 10th-highest Social Studies test score in the state on my Region test,” Hinkle said.

Barnes has high expectations for herself this year when it comes to the state rankings. 

“Last year, I was 15th in the state for language arts. This year, I’d like to be in the top ten,” she said.

Other goals the team set as a whole are coming to light for the group itself. 

Members saw improvement in their ability to work together at their recent competition. 

“We worked as a team really well at regions! That was something we’d been working on, so it was nice to see that we were efficiently conferring with each other when rules permitted and trusted teammates to answer specific questions,” Clair Nusbaumer said. “We’re all friends, and we’re so glad to have a common ground where most people don’t.”

The Academic Team is more than just academics. Our team has a history of meaningful bonds that remain for years. This history of connections continues on to each unique group that forms every season.

“While I of course enjoy the competition itself, it really wouldn’t be the same without the people I do it with. I wish I could describe better how amazing they are, but no words are fully able to encompass their personalities and abilities,” Blankenship said. 

Barnes has a firsthand experience of these meaningful connections with all of her teammates, especially Hinkle. 

“Anna and I are like sisters. We love each other but she also has mentored me in a lot of ways that most other students don’t. Being an academic team kid, you’re often seen as ‘a nerd’ or ‘someone who doesn’t know how to have fun’ to the rest of your classmates,” Barnes said. “However, at practice, I fit in perfectly. I feel like my teammates understand me more than anyone else in the school. I am really glad I have them,”

The collaboration and understanding the team has for each other is part of what makes them such a strong team. 

“We all work very well together. Everyone understands others’ strengths and weaknesses and are able to accurately gauge our team’s abilities,” Adams commented.

Stover feels the connection between team members as well.

“I definitely feel like we have a really close bond. Some of the players and I hang out like all the time and we’re constantly checking in on each other. I think we’re so successful because we know each other so well. Like we know our strengths and weaknesses,” she said. 

Adams is heavily involved in his team while also assisting other area teams. 

“I serve as a leader and mentor to other students on the team and I strive to be a good role model for everyone around me. Not only that, but I also enjoy my leadership role at North Middle, East Hardin, and Lincoln Trail, where I serve as a volunteer and mentor for students looking to excel in Academic Team later in their school lives,” Adams said. 

The past members continue to show up and support their team members. 

“Our alumni and their families continue to show up and support us, and I feel like this year the one number one thing we have gotten right as a program is cinching that we have a culture that academic team isn’t just a thing you do, but a group of people that care about you and care about this program long term,” Ms. York said.

Each participant has their own favorite part of being on the team, from mentoring all the way to winning against a classic rival. 

“My favorite part of academic team is beating Etown. I also like meeting people from all over the state that are competing in the same things as me,” Stover said.

Though competing is a satisfying part of being on the team, being able to prove yourself is also a gratifying aspect of the team. 

“My favorite part about academic team is either being able to quantitatively be able to prove what I am capable of or seeing how I can improve / grow.” Miller said. 

The closeness of this team is also a favorite factor of the members. 

“My favorite part of the academic team is being with my team members. I’ve known each member for a long time and have become extremely close with them. I love going to practice each week and catching up with them. I love competing beside them and working together to complete our goals,” Blankenship said. 

The bonds with teachers and coaches are also sincere. 

“My favorite part of the academic team is the conversations about our favorite things. Just the other day, I geeked out with Mr. Pearsall about my favorite jazz musicians and talked with Sophia Stover about The Great Gatsby,” said Barnes. 

Regarding their future plans, team members have formidable ambitions. 

“After high school, I plan to go off to college to major in civil engineering with a possible minor in photojournalism,” Adams shared.

“I plan to attend UofL to major in pre-law,” Stover said.

“I plan on going to college and studying to become a meteorologist,” Townsend said. 

“After high school, I plan on either going into the medical field as a surgeon or working as a high school Biology teacher,” Blankenship said.

“After high school, I plan on going to university, although I haven’t thought too deeply about which one. However, I do currently plan on double majoring in Math and Science with a minor in Japanese language,” Miller said.

“I want to go to college and possibly pursue a degree in English, but that’s still undecided. I have many different interests and I’m not sure what I’ll major in. Whatever I do, I definitely see myself teaching at the postsecondary level, obtaining multiple degrees, or just staying in school forever. Being a lifelong learner is really important to me. As long as I can keep learning, I will be content,” Barnes said.

“After high school, I will go to college and major in physics,” Hinkle said.

“After high school, I plan to go to college and major in biology and a career in marine biology,” Nusbaumer said.

With the state competition coming up, team members are ready. 

“I would like to add that the Academic Team is excited to move on to State and use the skills we’ve worked so hard to build to show that our program is a strong one that will continue to build young adults in their knowledge and achievement,” Adams said.

With the end of the year approaching, members are ready to recruit for next year’s season. 

“If you know anyone interested, tell them about it! More players are always welcome,” Nusbaumer said. 

The team will compete in the KAAC State Finals Mar. 17 – Mar. 20 at the Galt House in Louisville.