Last Saturday the Alton Academic Team did something that it hasn’t done in almost ten years, they walked away from the Region Tournament carrying hardware. With their recent success on the District level, achieving back-to-back championships, it was only a matter of time before that success translated into trophies on the regional level.
Head Coach, Brandon Durbin, who is in his 2nd year at the helm of the Academic Team, was very humble about his team’s recent success. “I honestly can't take credit for the hard work these kids have put in, with many juggling other activities while still representing our school academically; they're the ones who have earned the accolades.” Durbin went on to say, “I have nothing but respect for the amount of time and dedication they have given to represent JTA. I shouldn't be the only one proud of them; they have to have pride in themselves, and this team does.”
This year’s District Championship marks the second year in a row that the Trojans have controlled the district level of competition. The last time the Trojans had back-to-back District Championships was in 2010/2011. Their 4th Place finish marks the first time in almost ten years that the team has walked away from Region with a trophy.
8th Grader Kelsey Adkins, who placed 2nd in Written Composition at Region, said that the team’s success is derivative of their competitive nature. “Our team pushes each other and we’re competitive with each other. We share ideas and we help each other out. Basically, this group, we work well together as a team.”
The Alton Academic Team has a long history of being successful on the local and state levels, winning a State Championship in 1989. Since the millennium mark, they have collected five district titles. The team has amassed twelve district championships, six region championships, and one state title in their thirty-three-year history.
8th Grader Eric Castro, who placed 5th at Region in Science, said that it feels really great to do as well as they have. “We’re more inclined to win and succeed because of how competitive we are, and because of how much we push each other. We want to win, and that makes a huge difference.”
Adkins added that Coach Durbin’s flexibility in terms of working around the team's individual schedules has been a key to their success as well. “We have a lot of people that do other things for the school, and outside of it, and Coach Durbin makes sure that practice doesn’t interfere with that, and that we still get the prep work and practice time.”
Durbin concluded by saying that “I have to bring attention to our district placement. How spoiled I must be to be a little sad that we didn't get 1st place in science? We literally got 1st in every other category, and again, these kids earned it. It's simply proof that practice and study matter, that recognition goes to those who excel, and that determination is the key to success.”
Four of the Academic Team members will be headed to the State Governor’s Cup next month. 8th Graders Gracie Ashlock, Kelsey Adkins, Kennedy White, and Eric Castro are all bound for the State Competition, as a result of their placing individually at the Regional Competition.
Complete Individual Results can be found below:
Gracie Ashlock, 1st Place in Written Composition
Kelsey Adkins, 2nd Place in Written Composition
Kennedy White, 1st Place in Language Arts
Eric Castro, 5th Place in Science