The Daviess County High School Academic Team comprised of members Evan Clark, Mason Clark, Eli Cooper, Jasmyne Post, Karli Sanders, and Stephen Ward recently competed in the Chicago phase of the National Academic Championship hosted by Questions Unlimited.
Six preliminary matches were played on Sunday, June 12. Starting off a bit slowly, the Panthers squeaked by Zionsville HS (IN) by the barest of margins with a final score of 295-290. After that, however, they found their rhythm and ended the day undefeated beating Shaker Heights (OH) 285-185, Fort Morgan (CO) 375-80, Powers Catholic (MI) 405-95, St. Vincent/St. Mary (OH) 350-185, and Athens Christian (TX) 225-155. The 6-0 record combined with their points total earned Daviess County the #1 seed in Monday’s tournament.
Monday morning began with the team pitted against #16 seeded St. Mark (DE) in a game that was close until the fourth round when DC broke away, ending with a 440-220 win. This led to a rematch against #9 Zionsville. A 335-290 win meant Daviess County would meet regional rival Henderson County in the semi-finals. The teams had faced each other multiple times during the 2015-16 school year with both teams earning victories, and both teams had excelled at the Kentucky Governor’s Cup competition in March with Henderson coming in 3rd in the state and DC winning the state title. Daviess County earned the win with a score of 345-300. The final match was against Palatine High School (IL) and while the score was tied 210-210 after the third round, DC cruised during the fourth earning almost all of the points to win 370-240 and become the Chicago phase champion.
At this point, the winning team from Chicago had to compete against the winners from the other two phases, New Orleans, and Washington D.C., for the Grand Champion title. This portion of the competition is aptly named the Circle of Death, especially for Daviess County, who had already played ten games in 29 hours. The three teams proceeded to compete in a double elimination playoff. The New Orleans champion, Harrison High School (IN), played the Washington D.C champion, Briarcliff (NY), with Briarcliff winning a close match. Next, Daviess County challenged Harrison and won handily with a score of 365-240. In game three of the Circle of Death, Daviess County defeated Briarcliff 440-230. Because this portion is double elimination and Briarcliff had only lost once, the two teams had to play each other again. Daviess County finished off with a decisive 455-185 win to capture the title of 2016 National Academic Champion and a prize of $3,000. Senior Evan Clark was named the Most Valuable Player of the National Academic Championships for all three venues.
“Congratulations on being national champions and thank you for representing Daviess County High School!” – Principal Matt Mason
Charles Beall, President of Questions Unlimited, stated that this was the first team from Kentucky to ever capture the championship title.
This is the same group of students who won the JV National Championship last year and earned high praise from Mr. Beall, who said they were the best JV team that his staff had ever seen.
The DCHS Academic team is coached by head coach Ann Koshy and assistant coaches Steve Easley, Chuck Hayden, and Amy Chifici.
“As coaches, we are blessed to have an incredible group of talented and competitive varsity players,” said Coach Amy Chifici. “They work very hard in their own subject areas individually and then work together to blend them into cohesive team play. They love and support each other and have so much fun playing and being together that it is a joy to be around them. We could not be more proud of our team for accomplishing this milestone. Additionally, they play with grace and composure whether winning or losing making them outstanding representatives of Daviess County Public Schools.”
DCHS Principal, Matt Mason, said of the team, “We are very proud of our Academic Team students and coaches. Their hard work and dedication have paid off in an immense way at the national level. They are truly phenomenal! Congratulations on being national champions and thank you for representing Daviess County High School!”