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RHS Scholars Bowl wins first at district

It’s roughly the equivalent of being Area champs.

The Russellville High School Scholars Bowl Team is headed to regionals this weekend after a first-place finish at the district competition, where team members beat out Florence, East Lawrence and Brooks high schools for the top spot – other top four finishers who also continue to regionals in an attempt to qualify for state.

Team sponsor Susan DeArman said she’s proud of her winning students. This is the first time this group of students has made first at district, although the team did qualify and advance as far as state last year.

The winning team of Bernie Moussad, Niles Butts, Josh and Jake Williams, Daniel Jenkins and Caleb Mayfield will change slightly for the regional competition. Moussad will be unable to attend regionals but will rejoin the team when – he is confident – they head to the state competition.

For the first time, twins Josh and Jake Williams will compete on the team at the same time; typically, one serves as an alternate and subs into the four-person team during a match. The sixth spot will likely be filled by Josh Andrews.

The team played five matches to win district, with a win over Florence by a narrow margin sealing their fate. When the team saw their slate of competitors for the day, they had one thought, Mayfield said: “We got this.” To a man, team members said they felt confident they could win the competition, and stress levels were low throughout the day. That might not be the case at regionals, where competition will be tougher and stakes will be higher. Nevertheless, team members have an optimistic outlook for their chances.

“They’re more confident than I am; I’m always nervous,” DeArman said with a laugh. “Their comfort level makes me more nervous.”

Competition falls under the auspices of the Alabama Scholastic Competition Association, which will – for the first time this year – recognize the top school in each classification, in addition to the overall winners. RHS hopes to at least win 5A, if not the whole regional tournament.

From music and literature to science, mythology and more obscure subjects, RHS team members are ready to stretch their academic muscles and make a good showing at regionals.