Academic Team District Tournament


Joshua Brooks


The Academic Team’s regular season has been going on since November and the cumulation of this was Wednesday night.  At the beginning of the season, the team did exceptionally well and won all of their matches.  At about the halfway point in the season, the team started to have some issues.  At two competitions in a row the Academic Team came in last place.

At this point, coach John Loftus decided to make some changes and shifted people on the team around.  This change proved fruitful and the team bounced back in their next few competitions and were able to place third in the regular season.  Now they had the district competition to take care of.

The district competition is set up so that the first three teams are in three separate rooms and the other 13 teams are placed in these rooms depending on where they placed in the regular season.  This means that the three best teams have a good chance of being one of the six teams in the second round of the competition.  The first round has all the teams where the second round has the six highest scoring teams, two from each of the three rooms.

The East Lake Academic Team went into round one with high hopes and they were met when a commanding victory was achieved.  Following them from this room was Dunedin High School.  Also moving onto the second round were Largo, St. Pete, Lakewood, and PHU.  This proved a bit more of a challenge because Largo was the undefeated first place team in the regular season and PHU was ranked second.

At the beginning of the second round all seemed even, the five-point round increased the hopes of St. Pete, Dunedin, and Lakewood, but as the game progressed these three teams soon figured out they were fighting for the last three places.  This left East Lake, PHU, and Largo.  East Lake fought hard in this but, as expected, didn’t place first and therefore isn’t moving onto the state rounds.

While this is demoralizing for the team, they are proud of how far they made in this and Mr. Loftus is happy with their performance.  There is hope for some of the more influential students.  The team that is brought to the state finals is chosen by the coach of the team who won.  This means that, because Largo won, their coach will decide which six students from the county are being brought to Orlando for the state competition.  So the better East Lake scholars have a good chance to be brought to Orlando, which is good for them.