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South Forsyth Middle team earns 2nd in state academic bowl
South Forsyth Middle School’s academic bowl team finished second at the Page Academic Bowl Middle Grades State Championship over the weekend. Bottom, from left: Aadi Karthik, Ruhi Iyer, Sydney Morrissey and Tom Kunampuram. Top, from left: Ashley Calloway, Andy Zhang, Mithun Subhash and Sam Davidson.

A South Forsyth Middle School club was recently selected as the second best in the state, and the decision came down to the wire.

On Saturday, the school’s academic bowl team reached the finals and narrowly lost in overtime to The Paideia School in the 2018 Page Academic Bowl Middle Grades State Championship at Georgia College and State University Arts and Sciences Auditorium in Milledgeville. 

“We were undefeated going into the final, including we had beaten the eventual winner earlier in the day,” said teacher and team sponsor Ashley Calloway.  “We were tied at the end of the regular competition, so at that point, they went into a sudden-death tie-break question, and unfortunately the other team chimed in first and got it first, so they won the competition. It doesn’t really get any closer than that.”

Twenty-four teams made it to the competition, and eighth-grader Tom Kunampuram said it was intense facing some of the state’s best.

“It was really, really nerve-wracking,” he said. “On the final round, we had to compete on the stage in front of all the other eight teams that qualified into the semifinals, so it was really nerve-wracking.” 

Kunampuram said the competition came down to speed rather than knowledge.

“We all knew the answers, but it was all who was faster at buzzing, and that’s eventually how they won,” he said. “But, I’m happy that we got second place, and it was a really fun experience for everyone.”

Calloway, who sponsors the team along with Liz Rushton, said there were still a few more competitions for the team but the year had been a success.

“Pretty much everything that we’ve done this year we’ve gotten either first or second,” she said. “They’ve had a great year, and we’ve got some really extraordinary kids.”

Kunampuram said the competition typically meant one student would shine in a certain subject, and Calloway said he was the team’s go-to for sports and pop culture.

“I like how there are a lot of different subjects, so if you’re not good at one subject, then you can be good at another subject,” he said. “If you don’t know it, there’s always going to be someone on your team who knows it, and it’s a really fun competition.”