Tigers reign as academic champions
March 18, 2015
There was some drama March 11 when the Douglas High School wrapped up its third consecutive Nevada Academic League championship at Stateline.
Douglas edged rival Churchill County during the league championship tournament that literally came down to the final question at Harveys Resort & Casino. C.J. Hill-Holeman successfully answered a question on conversion to put the Tigers' six-student team over the top.
"Oh yeah, it was exciting; right down to the wire," said Austin Croxall, the team's senior captain. "And it was definitely a team effort."
This culminates a season in which Douglas won the tournament and regular season championships of a league that has been in existence since 1992.
"We have a really talented group this year," said Karen Heine, who co-coaches the team along with Christine Ensign. "It has been a good season and we are proud of the students' knowledge and performance."
This is a well-rounded team of students who are involved in various activities. Croxall, who runs track and cross country, said his post-high school plans include spending two years on a LDS Church mission and then resuming his studies at the University of Nevada. Ross Hatley is involved with the Douglas debate team, serves as senior class vice-president and was a Winter Homecoming king candidate. Grant Spurgeon is involved with drama and improv team captain plus he serves as president of the high school's chemistry club. Dalaney Jacobson plays volleyball, Koby Hinnant plays soccer and runs track, Ben Penwell plays baseball, Alex Tessmann plays basketball, Hill-Holeman races on the alpine ski team, while Kaleb Morris along with twin sisters Taylor and Tianna Fruth are competitive runners.
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Spurgeon, Penwell, Hatley, Croxall (all seniors) and Morris (a junior) also competed at the end of January in Las Vegas at the 24th annual Nevada Science Bowl, which featured 32 teams from Nevada, California and Utah. The Douglas students finished in the upper half of their division as they answered mathematical, chemistry and biology questions during an event hosted by the National Nuclear Security Administration's Nevada Field Office.
The championship team earned $5,000 for the math and science programs at its school.
These students take their competition seriously, but at the same time, know how to show a lighter side. Just look at the uniforms the Douglas academic team wore during its league season — those consisted of Hawaiian-style shirts.
"The kids are all supportive of each other," Heine said. "Win or lose, they are always complimentary of each other. It's the same with the other teams, and I like the league for that reason."