KINGSPORT — In a comeback that would have made last year’s Super Bowl Patriots proud, Farragut Middle School overcame an eight point halftime deficit to win the Volunteer State Regional Middle School Science Bowl on Saturday.
This was the second year that Kingsport City Schools hosted the Eastman-sponsored event, although it was moved from Dobyns-Bennett to Adams Elementary due to construction.
Teams traveled from as far away as Memphis, Martin and Chattanooga to vie for the regional title and an all-expense-paid trip to compete at the National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C. on April 26-30.
The majority of the 22 schools that competed Saturday, however, were from East Tennessee, with several local middle schools represented including John Sevier, Sullivan North, Church Hill Intermediate and Rogersville.
Round robin matches began at 8:30 a.m., leading up to afternoon elimination rounds and a final 12 bracket. The only local school to advance that far was John Sevier, which made the Elite Eight, but was eliminated by Jefferson, which then lost to Farragut in their Final Four matchup.
On the other side of the bracket, Maryville beat Cedar Springs in their Final Four contest, and then Jefferson beat Cedar Springs to place third overall.
In the championship match, Farragut trailed Maryville by eight points at halftime but got on a hot streak in the final eight minutes, beating Maryville to the buzzer on toss-up questions, and then correctly answering bonus questions to notch extra points.
The final score was 44-32, Farragut.
Farragut team captain Rena Liu said the key to the championship run Saturday was teamwork.
“You need to know that your team is with you, and don’t think about the past. Think about what’s happening now. One step at a time.”
Some schools brought more than one team, and Farragut actually eliminated its sister team in their Elite Eight matchup.
But the victors agreed that it was a group effort and that the overall school championship was built on the efforts of both teams.
“It was really sad. It was a bittersweet victory,” said winning team member Ridhima Singh. “We’re all really grateful to them because they helped us practice.”
Farragut coach Kathy Browning said she’s not surprised by her team’s success Saturday because they have been practicing for this since September.
“I am very very pleased. I knew they were awfully hard workers. They do it all themselves. They study on their own, they practice, I read the questions, but they’re the ones who do all the work.”