Academic Bowl Graduates Huge 2016 Senior Class

By: Tanner Ballard

Academic Bowl Photo Gallery

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The Newnan High School Academic Bowl came away with fantastic results and even better memories at this year’s state tournament.

The Varsity and Junior Varsity squads of NHS’s Academic Bowl were up early on the morning of Saturday, February sixth to travel to Flowery Branch High School where they would both compete in the Georgia State Academic Bowl tournament.

The state tournament is set up in a bracket style with different teams from around the state. Mr. Chris Swanson, NHS Economics Teacher and Academic Bowl sponsor, explained the format.

“There’s 20 teams and they compete all morning for afternoon seeding,” he said. “When the single elimination rounds start after lunch, they’re down to 16 teams.”

Four teams were eliminated in the morning to set up 16 teams facing off in single elimination in the afternoon, all eventually working up the bracket to the two teams who haven’t yet lost to play each other for the state title.

In what was the final tournament for several seniors on the Varsity team, the team battled their way past the first round but eventually lost in the knockout stages. The Varsity team, composed of seniors Thomas Schulz, Brandon Collins, Dylan Bulfin, Hunter Holcomb, Alexis Smith and junior Caleb Perry, were put against tough opponents early on.

“The Varsity team was eliminated in the round of 16,” Mr. Troy Cornwell, NHS History Teacher and Academic Bowl Sponsor, said. “They lost to the eventual state champions.”

The JV squad put on a performance worthy of a trophy. They went all the way through the knockout stages and went on to defeat Northgate High School in the championship to win the JV Georgia State Academic Bowl title.

“The JV team got on a roll, and their momentum never stopped,” Mr. Cornwell said. “It was very exciting to watch their run to the JV state title.”

It was an incredible comeback performance for the JV team, led by Davis Adams and Ryan Potts. “They were up 40 [points], so it didn’t look good,” Mr. Swanson recalled. “Davis just went on a tear.”

The JV squad, composed of Ryan Potts, Davis Adams, Janie Edgar and Matthew Schulz, answered five straight questions, worth ten points each, as well as the bonus questions to beat out Northgate and win the title. “I was very proud of all of them” added Mr. Swanson.

It was a year of success for the Newnan High School Academic Bowl. When asked how the team performed overall this season, Mr. Cornwell stated that “the season was very successful. Both teams placed second in our region and the JV team beat Northgate in the state final.”

The state tournament was the last time the five seniors would be able to represent Newnan at an Academic Bowl tournament. Their intellect, presence and experience will surely be missed next year. “Thomas, Dylan, Brandon, Hunter and Alexis will be missed for sure,” Mr. Cornwell said. “They are excellent players and replacing [them] next year will not be easy.”

Meanwhile the members of the JV Team will look to provide their talents for the Varsity team in the coming year. Currently, however, they are still unsure if they will compete in the national tournament.

Meet the seniors!

Dylan Bulfin

As a member of the Academic Bowl since tenth grade, Dylan has always been a stronghold in math for the team and now serves as Co-Captain. “All of it has been pretty fun,” he said, referring to his time with the team.

Adding to his academic resume, Dylan serves as the Co-Captain of the Science Bowl and as a member of the History Bowl and Math Team.

Brandon Collins

Brandon has been a member of the Academic Bowl team since the eleventh grade. He is the Vice President of the Newnan High School History Club and quite the history buff. He was known as the team manager on the Academic Bowl floor.

He also serves as the Captain of the History Bowl and Captain of Science Olympiad as well as a member of Science Bowl, Math Team and National Honor Society.

Seth Holcomb

Seth, also known as Hunter, became a member of the Academic Bowl team in eleventh grade, when he joined with his friend Brandon Collins. Seth was also a member of Science Bowl, History Bowl and Math Team.

His favorite subject to answer was science, though sometimes, as with everyone, answering in the spotlight is tough. “You never know the answer until you’re not playing that round,” he said.

Thomas Shulz

Thomas serves as Co-Captain of Academic Bowl, Co-Captain of the Science Bowl and member of National Honor Society. He is the Valedictorian of Newnan High School’s Class of 2016.

He was recognized as both the NHS STAR Student as well as STAR Student for Coweta County School System for 2016.

Thomas plans to study science and pursue a career in either medicine or biochemistry.

Alexis Smith

This was Alexis’ first year on the Academic Bowl team, though she’s been friends with her teammates since sophomore year. Alexis was a versatile player, and her favorite subject to play was literature. It was a fantastic experience overall for her.

“We all had a great time hanging out with Swanson and Cornwell and just being nerds,” she stated. Alexis plans on attending Georgia State University after graduating from Newnan. Alexis is a member of the National Honor Society and History Club at NHS.