Atkins Academic and Technology High School missed winning a state championship title by a single point in the state final of the North Carolina Association for Scholastic Activities Twelve competition, hosted at Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham on Saturday, Dec. 14.
The Twelve is the first in a series of academic contests that lead to the awarding of the NCASA Scholastic Cup at the end of the school year. The third-place finish nets Atkins HS 45 points in the Cup Race.
“I am really proud of the Atkins team,” said Atkins Principal Joe Childers. “When you consider that the top two schools were five or six times our size, I think our team did an outstanding job.”
The Atkins Twelve team was made up of Meredith Hemphill, John Henry Jackson, Hunter Chen, Lazar Trifunovic, Jack Bloomfled, Nik Bramblett, Chase Miller, Sterling Davis, Jonathan Grubbs, Vinish Kumar, AJ Goren and Devika Ghosh. Alternates who attended to cheer their team on were Abi Udaiyar, Blakely Mitchell and Emory Soper.
At the end of 12 close rounds of 12 questions each, the Atkins team was one point out of the lead with 110 correct, behind a first-place tie between two Charlotte Mecklenburg schools, Ardrey Kell and Myers Park, both with 111. Both Charlotte schools tying for first have student enrollments in excess of 2,000.
Also with 110 points was Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy. An overtime round was held to try to determine a tie-breaker between Ardrey Kell and Myers Park, but both teams scored eight points and the contest was left a tie. The third-place tie was left unbroken.
NCASA Executive Director Leon Pfeiffer said, “The 2013 Twelve Competition was one of the most exciting competitions in NCASA history. It was easily the most competitive competition in our history with four schools finishing within one point of each other after the final round. Six different schools also won rounds, another record indicating parity among the competing schools. This parity made every single question and answer count in every round. Going into the final round, Ardrey Kell led Myers Park and Thomas Jefferson by two, and Atkins by three. However, the final round brought these teams together, with just one point separating the four schools. Even the overtime round could not differentiate the co-champions, as each team earned 8 points in overtime.”
For Atkins HS, coming this close to winning a state title was not without mixed feelings.
“It feels good to know that we have the talent and the desire to compete with any team in the state, but it does feel a little hollow coming so tantalizingly close to winning, but still ending up in third place. Any two questions we would have gotten right would have given us a victory,” said Atkins teacher and Twelve Team Coach Kevin Hamilton.
Of the twelve rounds, Atkins won the Current Events round and tied for the lead in Word Problems and Geography rounds.