Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


February 14, 2010

Russell Middle wins regional academic meet

Russell — Russell Middle School’s academic team took first place overall and won the quick recall meet at the regional middle school Governor’s Cup competition Saturday.

West Carter Middle School battled past Verity Middle School to a second-place finish in quick recall and also came in second on total points.

The quick recall meet always comes to a showdown with either West Carter or Verity, said Russell coach John Vanhoose. “They’re both great teams and good competitors,” he said.

Russell, the perennial favorite in academic competition, keeps its edge at out-of-town competitions, Vanhoose said. “We try to go to out-of-town tournaments as often as possible,” he said.

They also maintain a grinding practice schedule: “We practice every single morning and until 5 o’clock Mondays and Thursdays,” said team co-captain Joe Van Deren.

High expectations also boost their performance, according to Van Deren. “You feel like you have to do well. It puts more pressure on you,” he said.

Under the competition rule that the top two finishers in quick recall qualify for the state competition, both Russell and West Carter teams will go to Louisville for the Governor’s Cup championships.

That, plus their come-from-behind win over Verity, is why West Carter teammates exchanged hugs and kept smiling even after their 43-19 loss in the last match to Russell.

“I knew it would be a fight with Verity. I don’t know where the kids pulled it out but they did,” said West Carter coach Jenny Knipp. “We know we’ll be going to state.”

The prospect of going to Louisville fueled their performance, according to eighth-grader and team captain Megan Burge. “We were just really motivated. We’ve been to state the past three years and we really wanted to go back,” she said.

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