WCHS wins quick recall, finishes second overall in Region 11, Eight students advance to state Cup fi
Woodford County High School’s quick-recall team advanced to the Governor’s Cup state finals after its defeat of perennial powerhouse Dunbar High School to finish first in Region 11 on Feb. 15. The Brain Jackets will also have eight students competing in written assessment at the state finals, including Logan Craig and Keaton Martin, who both advanced in two subject areas. “I’ve never made it to state in a written assessment and now I get to go in two, so that’s pretty good,” said Logan, a senior who advanced to state with top-five finishes in science (tied for third) and social studies (fourth) in Region 11. Keaton has been consistently strong in arts and humanities (first in Region 11), but recently focused more on language arts (second in Region 11) – allowing him to advance to state in both subject areas. Keaton finished runner-up to teammate Claire Pinkston, who placed first in language arts to also advance to the state finals. Both are juniors. WCHS senior Derek Forte scored a near-perfect 49 points in mathematics, but lost in tie-breaker questions to Dunbar’s Ayush Tibrewal. Finishing second to the state’s highest-scoring math student was surprising to Derek, but his teammate Trevor Wells said, “He is amazing. … We always knew that he had it in him to pull this off. And we hope that he’s going to make a deep run at state.” WCHS junior Alfie Painter said he was surprised to hear his name after teammates Logan and Wells, who placed fourth and fifth in social studies, respectively. Finishing second in Region 11 in social studies meant Alfie also advanced to the state Governor’s Cup finals. WCHS senior Cayce Jones returns to the state with a fifth-place finish in arts and humanities. “I kind of squeezed in there,” he said with a smile. WCHS sophomore Bryant Craig finished fifth in science at region – just behind his older brother. “I wouldn’t say I’m getting used to it,” said Logan of beating his sibling. “I guess we’re going to find out on the state test, right? “I’ve got two more years on him and I only beat him by three questions so I think his ceiling’s a lot higher.” WCHS Coach Ken Tonks said no one on this team wants to let his or her teammates down, which creates a strong work ethic. “They’re better,” he explained, “because all of them are getting better.” Quick recall success After Dunbar’s loss to WCHS in the second round of the Region 11 quick-recall tournament, Ayush Tibrewal led the Bulldogs to a victory over WCHS. “He was just getting all the questions. It was crazy how good he was doing at math,” said junior Trevor Wells. And that’s when Derek Forte stepped up his game – after Trevor stepped aside so his team’s best math player could stay in the game – to help the Brain Jackets beat Dunbar in the finals. “I did not want to bother that combination of players that were in at the time because I could tell they were on a roll,” said Trevor. Logan Craig said beating Dunbar – a magnet school — meant a lot to him and his teammates. “At the start of this year,” he said, “we knew we were capable of” defeating Dunbar. It was a matter of overcoming psychological barriers and “embracing … we are one of the best teams in Kentucky, and we’re going show that we are,” said Logan. He cited several contributing factors and momentum for allowing WCHS to win the quick recall tournament and defeat longtime rival Dunbar at home. “They’re the most dedicated kids that I’ve ever worked with,” said Hope Brown, who coached elsewhere before becoming Ken Tonks’ assistant at WCHS this season. “In a way I kind of hate to say that, because I’ve worked with some really good kids before, but I’ve never had kids who take it this seriously and work this hard at it. It’s amazing – their competitive nature and just how much time and effort they put into it.” WCHS received the Hume Sportsmanship Award (voted on by the teams) at Region 11 in large measure because former Coach April York “always wanted to stress: winning and losing with dignity is one of the most important things you can be as an academic team because … we, in some ways, symbolize the academics of Woodford County,” said Trevor. “… We respect other teams, and we want to play well, but at the end of the day, we want to be good people whenever we play.” WCHS earned 38.5 points to finish second overall in Region 11. Dunbar totaled 53.5 points to win region, while Western Hills High School finished third with 10.5 points. The Brain Jackets next compete in the state Governor’s Cup finals on March 14, 15 and 16 at the Galt House in Louisville.