RUSSELL — Russell High School’s academic team won the regional Governor’s Cup competition Saturday solidifying their spot in the state competition.

Paul G. Blazer High School came in second overall, with Raceland High School following in third.

“These kids have put a lot of work and time into this,” said Bob Templeton, Russell academic stand-in coach. “Some of the kids were a little nervous after hearing about Coach Barnett, but they pulled it together and did great.”

Russell academic coach Kirk Barnett was not present at the regional Governors Cup due to emergency surgery.

“ I know he was with us in spirit, and I’m sure he will be ecstatic with the outcome of today,” Templeton said.

Russell High school claimed first place in every category, with the exception of first place going to Blazer’s Dawson Coovert for Arts and Humanities and Shelby Conley for Composition.

While Russell did take first-place in quick recall, a tense match of who would compete against Russell took place between Raceland and Blazer high schools, ending with a tie of 30 between the schools, which sent them into an overtime match ultimelty ending with Raceland defeating Blazer.

“This is one of the most difficult regions in the state. There are some real good teams in the area,” Blazer, Lawrence County and Raceland-Worthington among them, Templeton said.

Once Raceland High School secured their spot in the final two, another intense match took place between Russell and Raceland, with Russell winning by one point.

“I wasn’t even sure we really won when it first happened,” said Russell academic team member Jensen Smith. “The pressure was definitely on, and all the teams today really brought out their best game.”

Qualifying teams and members will advance to state and compete in March.

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