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Lightridge Academic Team Wins State Championship for the Second Year in a Row

For the second year in a row, the Lightridge High School Academic Team has earned the VHSL State Scholastic Bowl Class 4 Champion title. High school academic teams compete during the winter sports season. Teams participate in four matches during the regular season, with two competitions occurring during each game. Winning teams progress to districts, a regional competition and a state competition.

Academic competitions are composed of two rounds. Round one features toss-up questions and round two has directed questions. During the toss-up round, a panel of competitors equipped with buzzers races the other team to provide the correct answer. In the directed question round, the competitors can discuss with teammates before answering. The questions connect to history, literature, science, fine arts, current events, popular culture and sports. 

Coach Matthew Crisp, a math teacher at Lightridge, recalled that the team's first season was a bit rocky with the team winning three matches and losing three. Crisp said that the team “got beat pretty well at the season's final event.” However, they won their final match of the day, strengthening their resolve to practice over the summer and come back improved for the following year. The team’s plan worked, and last year they advanced through the regular season to districts and regionals and ultimately won the state competition.

Last year’s winning team stayed together this year, continued to work hard and, Crisp said, glided to victory in the state championship. "There was no match this year that another team was within 60 points, or six questions, of them. There was never a time this year where they felt worried about losing a match"  

The Lightridge students who competed in the state championship teams were sophomore Ishan Ramesh, seniors Tristan Holland, Kristy Lau, Keerthi Selvam and Monet Shum. Lau and Selvam were co-captains for this year's team. In addition to those who competed in the state championship, an additional 25 students are on the team and competed in other tournaments during the year. 

Crisp says his number one concern in coaching the team is ensuring an inclusive environment. "This type of competition is mentally draining. But it's also important that the students feel their teammates support them. As long as we keep building up that positive environment from top to bottom, that's what's important to me. When the students talk about this team, the first thing they mention is not the wins in state championships, it's the team's support for each other, and that feels very good to me.”

Published March 8, 2023