The McCracken County High School academic team placed second at the Governor’s Cup state competition held March 17-20 at Galt House in Louisville.
This is the highest ranking for any team from Region 1 (far western Kentucky), besting Lone Oak High School’s third-place finish in 1987.
Region 1 schools have placed among the top 10 at state 10 times since Governor’s Cup began in 1986, with Lone Oak (four times) and McCracken County (five times) claiming nine of those.
MCHS placed 10th three times (2016, 2017 and 2021) and finished eighth in last year’s state competition.
Governor’s Cup is a unique statewide academic competition involving schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels at the district, regional and state levels of competition.
It is an “octathlon” of sorts, where students compete in eight separate events. The scores they get in those events are added up for a school team total score.
A Governor’s Cup competition consists of two team events — quick recall, where teams try to buzz in first to answer questions on a variety of subjects, and future problem solving, where teams are given a hypothetical problem in the future and are asked to provide a solution.
The competition also consists of six individual events, including a composition or free-writing event and assessment tests in the subjects of arts and humanities, language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.
McCracken County finished the state competition with 36 points, second only to state champion DuPont Manual, which had 77 points. Scoring was tight among the second- through sixth-place teams, with Paul Lawrence Dunbar placing third with 35 points, Johnson Central in fourth at 34 points, Paul G. Blazer fifth with 32.75 points and South Warren in sixth with 31.25 points.
The only other Region 1 team to score at the state competition, Calloway County, tied for 24th with five points.
The Mustangs got 13 points from the quick recall team competition alone, placing second to DuPont Manual in that event. They picked up 11 more points in the arts and humanities event, with junior Owen Cody placing third and freshman Josie Green placing eighth.
MCHS had six points in the language arts event, with sophomore Eden Bridge-Hayes placing fifth, and had five points in the social studies event, with Cody placing seventh and junior Ethan C. Brown taking 10th. Sophomore Pratha Patel placed 10th in the mathematics competition, bringing in one point for MCHS.
DuPont Manual had three students place among the top 10 in two events — math and science — which is the most students that a school can have in any single event. The school scored 21 points in each of those events at the state competition.
MCHS academic coach Tammy Bohannon said her quick recall team’s goal was to make the final four and then go one match at a time, one question at a time. The team won its pool, beating out Central Hardin to advance to the round of 16.
“The best we had ever done before (in the quick recall event) was in the quarterfinals,” she said of her team’s runner-up finish. “Our final score (in the championship match-up against DuPont Manual) was 47-41, so we hung with them. We went back and forth, and we had a combined total of 88 points. That’s 88 questions answered correctly out of 100 total.”
Bohannon said finishing in second place at state has changed the way that other schools see the Mustangs.
“In the years past, we had gone to other quick recall matches and watched the bigger schools play — Henderson County and DuPont and Dunbar and Russell and Glasgow,” she said. “All those ‘big dog’ schools, those heavy hitter schools. On Sunday, with each progressive match, every time I would get up and turn around, I would notice that the room was fuller and fuller of those schools, and they were watching us.”
McCracken County graduates three seniors from this year’s squad: Caroline Wright, who specializes in language arts, and future problem solving team members Karsyn Allard and Hannah Bryan.
Cody and Bridge-Hayes were named to the Paducah Sun All-State Team, with Cody earning 12 points for the Mustangs and Bridge-Hayes bringing in six points. Students must earn five or more points at the state competition to qualify for the all-state team.
Calloway County placed ninth in the state future problem solving team event, and senior Drake Calhoon took eighth in the composition event.
Region 1 students named to the 2023 Paducah Sun all-subject teams were:
• Arts and humanities: Cody and Green of McCracken County and Ellie Whisman of Calloway County.
• Composition: Calhoon of Calloway County.
• Language arts: Bridge-Hayes and Ella Chuppe of McCracken County and Whisman of Calloway County.
• Mathematics: Patel and Garret Greenwell of McCracken County and Amber Wu of Calloway County.
• Science: Lucy Baldwin of Graves County and Cole Cannon and Manav Shah of McCracken County.
• Social studies: Brown and Cody of McCracken County and Cesar Villeda of Calloway County.
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