Twenty Yantis students advance to UIL regionals

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

April 3, 2008 - Twenty students from Yantis High School scored high enough at the Conference 1A District 20 Academic University Interscholastic League Spring Meet, held March 25-26 at North Hopkins High School, to advance to the regional contest on April 12.

North Hopkins once again earned the district sweepstakes title with 433 points, with Yantis second at 318 points. Avery High was third with 181 points, McLeod fourth with 123, Bowie fifth with 80 and Cumby High sixth with 63. Detroit also earned 58 points and Union Hill 53.

"I'm very proud of the performance of participants at this year's UIL Academic district meet," said Chip Mathews, YHS UIL coordinator. "Our spelling team won its seventh district championship in the past nine years, while our literary criticism team won its seventh district championship in the past 10 years. I was especially pleased that several of our journalism writers advanced to regionals. As always, North Hopkins did an excellent job as hosts for the district meet. We're thankful for their hospitality."

Another first place finisher was the top-ranked literary criticism team included Rachel Spurgeon, Connie Golightly, Sarah Leos and Lisa Phillips. Spurgeon placed second and Golightly third in literary criticism. Spurgeon also placed sixth in ready writing.

The first place spelling and vocabulary team included Holly Madden, Ervin Sanchez, Jordan Kenney and Teresa Garcia. These students also locked the competition out of any chance of advancing to the regional contest; only the top three finishers advance, and Yantis students took all three places. Madden took first, Sanchez second, Kenney third, and Garcia sixth in spelling and vocabulary, for a whopping 41 points in the category.

Madden, who was the 2007 state headline writing champ, hopes to expand her record by going to state in spelling and vocabulary this year, according to Mathews. She still has a chance at repeating as a state champion, however. At district this year, Madden came in second behind Rebekah Spurgeon in headline writing with Amanda McKinney finishing fifth.

McKinney was also a standout in other district contests, advancing to regionals by taking second place in both computer applications and feature writing. Shelby Allen will also advance to regionals with a third place finish in feature writing, while Stephanie B. Hogg and Tracie L. Glenn advance to regionals after taking first and second, respectively, in news writing.

Cory Ward also was lauded for his stellar performances at district. Ward, only a junior, took top honors in four contests and placed in several others.

"Cory Ward received first in overall science, first in chemistry, first in physics and first in mathematics. Cory is an exceptional student, and the results of his hard work shined through at the district contest," said Michael Alphin, Yantis science teacher and UIL science coach.

In addition to the first three individuals in each category, first-place teams also advance to regionals, but Alphin said the science team, which took second, could possibly receive the wild card slot to go the regional competition in Nacogcoches.

"I am very proud of the extra time and hard work that all of the students invested in order to compete at the contest," he said.

In addition to the science team, Ward's scores also has helped place several of the teams he's on in contention for wild card slot to go to regionals.

Ward leads the second-ranked mathematics team, which included junior Zachary Thrashe, and sophomores Andrew Moore and Kevan Mullins. Ward was also on the third-ranked calculator team, which was led by freshman Victor Reyna and included freshman Leo Hernandez and senior Jordan Davis. Reyna placed sixth in the event.

Mullins led the first place number sense team, which also included sophomore Wade Phillips, Chandler Apel and Tiler Walker. Individually, Mullins took top honors in numbers sense, with Phillips coming in just behind with second place in the category. Apel placed sixth in number sense.

"I am so proud of all my math teams," said Becky Barnes, math coach. "This is going to be the first year in a long time that the number sense team has gone to regionals. My mathematics team has come on like a storm, working very hard every day. They placed second as a team and we are hoping for a wild card spot. Finally, my calculator team, lead by a freshman, came in third place as a team. Next year will be their year."

Also advancing to the regional meet will be James Brooks, after placing third in current issues and second in social studies. Corey Collins advances with a third place finish in informative speaking.

Others recognized for placing at the district meet included Courtney M. Lacy, fourth in prose interpretation, and Bailey E. Hunt, fifth in poetry interpretation.

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