KMS academic teams place at state
By Jon Dohrer
Kingston Public Schools
NORMAN — Both Kingston Middle School academic teams qualified for their respective state tournaments, and both excelled once they got there.
The sixth- and seventh-grade squad took third place overall in the Oklahoma Junior Academic quiz Bowl Association State Championship in Norman.
The seventh- and eighth-grade team also qualified for state, finishing fourth. Sponsor Kelly Shipley said she was pleased with the effort of both squads.
"They performed great," Shipley said."They did their very best, and that's all you can ask for. I tell them all the time, 'As long as you do your best, you're winners and I'm proud of you.'"
Members of the 6-7 team are Brady Fox, Nick Mizell, Kiefer Stewart, Channing Turk and Jacob Whipkey. The 7-8 group consists of those students plus Samantha Fraize and Tanner Strecker.
The younger squad reached the state meet by taking first place in the district tournament in Madill and also winning the regional meet in Kingston. Among big wins along the way were victories over Rock Creek and Jones.
Shipley said the youngsters did a good job of managing their anxiety at the state meet.
"I think they were a little nervous in the first game, but they overcame it. After that, they got their mindset right and did a great job.
Shipley said the Quiz Bowl competition at the state level was much tougher. While the difficulty level of the questions wasn't particularly greater, competing against the best teams in the state leaves little margin for error. She said the sixth- and seventh- graders handled that factor well.
"They needed to step it up and they did."
The 7-8 team entered the competition as the number 2 seed in the state, thanks to an outstanding regular season. The Redskins won the district tournament at Madill, and took the regional championship at Dale.
Shipley said the squad fell a little short of the championship match, but given the stiffer competition at state, she was proud of them nonetheless.
The coach added that all the students put in hours of preparation for each tournament, and that it is all done on their free time. She also said she is also extremely appreciative of the parents, whose support and help make competing possible.
She also thanked timekeeper Jamon Shipley, who performed at every tournament in what she described as a thankless role.
Shipley said the fact that all but two from the seventh- and eighth-grade squad will be back next year makes her optimistic about the team's prospects.
"The experience will just make us better," Shipley said. "I'm excited, because I know we can keep improving and do even better next year."