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Varsity Hi-Q sweeps district tourney

Varsity Hi-Q team with the district championship trophyBaker County High School’s varsity Hi-Q team swept the district tournament this week, topping teams from Columbia and Union counties on its way to another district trophy.

The academic competition pits two teams of four players each against one another in a quiz show-like game using buzzers to quickly answer questions for points on variety of topics from science and math to geography and literature.

The varsity line-up of Sarah Harrell, Reagan McKendree, Megan Anderson, Chase Brannan, Kailey Murphy, Kaitlyn Corder and Forrest Elledge secured the title in the final match against Union County, scoring 175 points to 130 for their opponents.

Winning by a wide margin is nothing new for the team, which has been on a roll since the season began in October. Varsity players entered the tournament undefeated at 6-0.

“We kick butt and take names,” Ms. Anderson said after her team was presented with the district trophy at Christian Fellowship Temple in Macclenny shortly after noon on November 27.

The varsity squad beat Columbia County by 75 points for an appearance in the final match.

“The first thing that comes to most peoples’ minds is the undefeated season, but what really comes to my mind is all the work and all the people and all the friends I’ve made here,” said Mr. Brannan, 18, when asked to reflect on the season.

“That’s what really matters to me,” he said. “It’s not a matter of winning, it’s a matter of making friends here and in the other counties and bettering our education.”

Next for the varsity players is the regional tournament with 16 teams from across north and central Florida. They’ll convene at First Baptist Church in Lake Butler on January 17 for an estimated six hours of play.

Coaches at this week’s tournament said they expect a high level of competition during regionals when BCHS and other rural schools will battle wits with some of the top schools academically in the state, including Vanguard in Ocala and Nease in St. Johns County, which is regularly ranked the top school district in Florida.

Baker’s junior varsity Hi-Q team entered the district tournament ranked second with a record of 6-2. The team of Caleb Griffin, Hunter Davis, Joshua Carter, Grayson Wagstaff, Larry Morris and Tommy Allbright narrowly lost to Columbia County by one question.

The team had beaten Columbia twice already this season.

“I’ve been coaching since 1985 and I’ve never had a match break my heart like that one,” said BCHS Hi-Q coach Cathy Hooper, who leads the program with Dylan Gerard, another teacher at the high school.

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