Undefeated season falls short of state championship glory



Fayette County Board of Education recognized the varsity academic team at their meeting on Feb. 22 for their first-place award at the Griffin RESA tournament. The team went to the state RESA tournament Feb. 6 after an undefeated season but were eliminated in the first of the afternoon rounds.

Erin Schilling, Editor-in-chief

Academic team members gathered at the back entrance of the school at 6:20 a.m. on Feb. 6, greeted by a pep band to cheer them on to the State RESA Academic Bowl tournament.

“It was really amazing to have that kind of support for our program,” academic team sponsor Nancy Close said. “The idea that kids and [band director Scott] King would get up that early on a Saturday when they personally weren’t competing to come and wish us well and encourage us in competition was awesome.”

The academic team was also honored Feb. 22 at the Fayette County Board of Education meeting for their first-place standing in the county at the regional Griffin RESA tournament. “I think it’s nice of the Board to mark all the noteworthy achievements of students in the school system,” Close said. “It’s particularly fun for me that we’re being recognized with the Starr’s Mill math team.

I think it’s nice of the Board to mark all the noteworthy achievements of students in the school system.

— Academic team sponsor Nancy Close

Despite their first-place trophy at the regional Griffin RESA, neither the junior varsity nor varsity team placed at the state RESA tournament this year.

The academic team went to state with an undefeated season, confident they had a chance at defending the varsity’s third-place state award from last year, but Lakeview earned first place for varsity and Newnan for junior varsity.

“We did alright, but we could have definitely done better,” senior varsity member Gunita Rahman said. “We were undefeated for so long, and then we lost by one question in one of the rounds. And then I feel like we got a little discouraged [after that.]”

The varsity team, consisting of Rahman, seniors Ricky Macke, Maddie Beatty, Pamela Jew, Faith Terry, Dominique Dawson, and juniors Josh Tysor and Maddison Laney, played four rounds total at the tournament and ended the meet at the first elimination round.

“They were really, really fast on our elimination round,” Beatty said. “I think that’s what it was. It wasn’t our best that we’ve ever done, which kind of sucks because it’s state.”

The tournament is split into morning and afternoon sessions, with all teams playing three rounds morning and eliminations beginning in the afternoon. Starr’s Mill varsity won two rounds and lost one in the morning session.

This record, as well as the regular season’s standing, is factored into which teams they play in the afternoon. As soon as a team loses in the afternoon rounds, they are eliminated from the tournament.

The JV I team, consisting of sophomores Devin Lohman, Quynn Phan, Natalie Thomas, Chau Luu, freshmen Ally Marshall and Laura Anderson, went one round farther before being eliminated. “We have high hopes for them in the coming years,” Rahman said.

Rahman described the meet as “bittersweet.” “It was good to see everyone we’ve always competed with because we’ve all grown up together in a way, competing together,” Rahman said.

The academic team will go on to compete at the Georgia Academic Team Association tournament on March 19 at Flowery Branch for varsity and March 5 at Ola for JV. This tournament wraps up their season.