West Point Scholars Bowl finishes record season strong in 3rd place at national tournament

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The West Point Scholars Bowl team celebrates its third-place finish at the National PACE Tournament. Left to right are Brady Laughlin, John Davis Yovino, Brodie Henry, Eli Taylor and Sean Harbison. (Photo courtesy of Lee Henry)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – West Point High School’s Scholars Bowl team, a perennial powerhouse, just capped off a one-for-the-history-books season with a third-place finish at the Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence (PACE) National Tournament in Washington, D.C.

Coach Lee Henry shared his team’s season highlights: 

  • Cullman County Champion for the 12th consecutive year
  • Undefeated in local league competitions
  • Fourth place at the Junior Varsity State Tournament
  • Alabama Scholastic Competition Association Division II State Champion
  • First place in the Jesse Brown Small School Showcase  in Glasgow, Kentucky
  • Second in the nation at National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC Small School National Championship Tournament 
  • Third (Small School) at PACE Nationals in Washington, D.C. 

Team captain, junior Brodie Henry, son of the coach, took several individual honors:

  • State Division II MVP
  • County MVP
  • Second highest individual scorer at the NAQT SSNCT 
  • MVP at the Jesse Brown Small School Showcase  

“This has undoubtedly been our most successful year,” said Lee Henry. “It will be hard to top it, but we are going to work hard and try. I think we have a really good shot at winning the NAQT SSNCT next year. But it will take a lot of work and dedication from the whole team to make that happen. 

“This coming year will be the senior year for a good number of players who have formed the core of this team for the past several years, including Brodie. I know they want to go out on top. I will do everything I can as their coach to help them reach that goal.” 

Getting ready for next year

Said Henry, “We are going into next year as the favorite to win a national title. That’s stressful. I’m implementing a coaching and practice regimen that will help us get there, and I think the kids will buy in. 

“Our biggest obstacle is money. This isn’t a revenue-creating activity. We are funded by hosting tournaments, by donations and by contributions from parents – myself included. Even though we are the two-time reigning state champions and the national runners-up, we will be starting next school year with basically zero in our account.”

Scholars Bowl competition, especially at this level, is not a cheap proposition.  The team and its families are responsible for gas, food, hotels and sometimes even airfare to attend tournaments across the nation.

Henry said, “Maintaining the level of play we have established requires new practice material and participating in a lot of tournaments – sometimes out-of-state. Realistically, we need around $20,000 to get by next year. And even that is with cutting as many costs as possible.” 

Henry commented, “We are also looking for any potential sponsorships or donations from local businesses or individuals. Traveling and competing at this level is very expensive. We really need the community to help us out if possible.”

If anyone is interested in learning how they can help out, contact Lee Henry at thenry@ccboe.org.

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