McCracken County High School's quick recall team continued its tear through the West Kentucky Academic Association, winning the District 2 championship Thursday at St. Mary High School.
With the win, the Mustangs join Carlisle County, Mayfield and Murray in the West Kentucky Academic Bowl, the quick recall championship for western Kentucky. Carlisle County, Mayfield and Murray each took part in last year's Academic Bowl.
McCracken (12-0-1) has won 11 straight matches since tying Paducah Tilghman (10-4-1) in the first week of competition. The Mustangs beat the Blue Tornado 24-13 in the district championship match on Thursday. Paducah Tilghman defeated host St. Mary (0-3-0) 21-8 in the semifinal round.
The teams' positions in the district were similar going into the 2018-19 district championship, with the Mustangs ahead of PTHS, but Tilghman won that championship and went on to win the Academic Bowl.
"Last year, we had a young team in that they had never played together at the quick recall table," Mustangs coach Tammy Bohannon said. "So, they had to come together very quickly and develop trust and chemistry among the four of them, and they did that very well.
"This year just shows their continued growth and development. They played differently -- their trust with each other has matured -- but we continue to work hard. We work four days a week, and we practice with the end goal in mind. We do not practice daily with the next week in mind; we practice with the end goal in mind, and it's paid off."
Carlisle County (2-9-0) is perhaps the most unlikely district champion this year. The Comets hadn't won a match all year going into the District 1 championship, but beat district leader Fulton City (7-3-0) 15-9 in the semifinals and Hickman County (3-3-1) 12-3 in the championship. Carlisle County -- which hosted the district championship -- also won the district championship last year despite finishing in third place in the four-team district.
Hickman County beat Fulton County (1-6-1) 7-1 in the semifinal, and Fulton City beat Fulton County 9-3 in the consolation match.
In District 3, Mayfield (7-1-0) beat Ballard Memorial (6-5-0) 12-9 in the championship match to retain its district title. Ballard topped host Graves County (6-9-0) 17-10 in the semifinal match.
In District 4, Murray (6-4-0) also defended its district title by beating Marshall County (3-8-0) 17-10 in the championship match. The Marshals beat host Calloway County (7-8-0) 14-11 in the semifinal round.
The Academic Bowl will take place in January at the television facility at West Kentucky Community and Technical College. The date has not yet been set. The semifinal and final rounds will be videotaped and shown on local television and YouTube.