Bate’s academic team is headed to the state finals after dominant region victory

Published 7:12 pm Thursday, March 14, 2019

The John W. Bate Middle School Academic Team is heading to the state finals competition this weekend.

The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders who make up the team are also the 2019 Region 16 champions, a title the team has defended for nearly 15 years, according to head academic coach Tony Carney.

The Bate Academic Team encompasses testing, quick recall and future problem solving teams. Individual students are scored and awarded points that are combined for the team as a whole.

Kira Pusateri discusses an answer with team captain Ramona Pierce during Wednesday’s practice session. Photo by Robin Hart

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In Region 16 competition, Bate earned first place with a total of 36 points — 16 points higher than second-place Rockcastle County Middle School’s score of 20 points.

Other local teams included: Boyle Middle School, third place with 19.5 points; and Garrard Middle School, fourth place with 16.5 points.

Other middle-school teams that competed were Model Laboratory, Farristown, B. Michael Caudill; West Jessamine, King, Berea Community, Burgin Independent, Clark Moore, Danville Christian Academy; East Jessamine, Foley, Lincoln County and Madison.

During a practice session Wednesday afternoon, parents and teachers competed against team members. “Today is a fun send off because state finals are this weekend,” Carney said.

The competition will be held in Louisville at the Galt House.

The team has worked hard and studied many hours this season. “Even on snow days, they were meeting together. They were sending me pictures of study groups. They work hard,” Carney said.

Bate’s quick recall team has placed first in the state before, and the academic team has placed third and fourth in its division. “But we’ve never got the number 1 and number 2 and we’re really hoping we’ll get all the points” and win this year, Carney said, holding up his crossed fingers.

Being successful on the academic team is just as important to the students as it is for athletes to be on winning sports teams, Carney said. Plus, it’s impressive when a high school senior can add to their college resume that they were a part of a winning academic team in middle school, he added.

Team captain and eighth-grader Ramona Pierce said she was nervous about the upcoming state tournament. “It’s our big chance. We’ve been working for this all season, all our (middle school) career. Eighth-grade state is the epitome of competition. We really want to do the best we can. It’s one of our last competitions in the middle-school level.”

Carney said for students who like academics and the “Jeopardy” game show, “this is your sport. You can be this small or this big and you can still beat anybody. So size doesn’t matter — it’s your brain.”