Booker T. Washington Brings Home Top Honors In Academic Competition

Monday, June 5th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa's Booker T Washington High School brought home the trophy from a national academic bowl competition in New Orleans Sunday.

Washington's team is one of three advancing to the final Academic Bowl Championship in Malibu in two weeks.

Booker T's winning academic bowl team is a bit tired after winning eight matches over four days.

They defeated 48 other teams, including the defending national champions.

Coaches and teachers Rebecca Simcoe and Krista Baxter say the students are exceptionally bright and hard working, but something else makes them a winning team.

"Their chemistry. They trust each other. They prepare for hours together, they play tennis together, get dirty together, and develop a great comraderie," says , academic team coach Krista Baxter.

Booker T's team members drill four hours daily together and another two on their own to prepare.

Co-captains Marshall Gray and Angelo Malabanan say they love academic competition.

"It's a good way to get out aggression but not have to sweat. And I also get to show off how much knowledge I have in certain areas," says Malabanan.

Besides expanding their knowledge in countless ways, team members say academic competition has created strong friendships.

"It's kind of surprising when you look at a lot of the other teams and see them arguing among themselves and getting kind of upset with each other after they lose. But we're all just a bunch of freinds. I think that helps us a lot," says team member David Young.

These boys say it's not enough to be the smartest. Players also also have to be the fastest.

And there are days when even the smartest and fastest aren't "on."

Booker T didn't have one bad match in New Orleans. But after the sustained tension of competition, victory was sweet.

"Even though we're having a lot of fun doing it - we're probably one of the more relaxed teams, you know, we're still, like, tense -- pushing to win this thing, and it was just kind of like, 'Ah...," says team member Marshall White.

After a celebration Monday night, it's back to the books, magazines, museums, CD's and other sources team members use to prepare for the final championship in Malibu June 16th through 19th.