Mayor signs proclamation for Middlesboro Academic Team

Published 2:09 pm Friday, May 10, 2019

Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson signed a proclamation Friday honoring the Middlesboro High School academic team following their success in the 2019 National Academic Small Schools and Very Small Schools Tournament.

The Middlesboro High School academic team accomplished something that no other school in the 13th region has bringing home the title of national champions in the Small School National Championship Tournament (SSNCT) run by National Academic Quiz Tournaments.

“This team was very competitive and excelled in their efforts and brought home honors to their school winning first place in Very Small Schools and second place in Small Schools categories,” Nelson said.

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The team just returned from Chicago, Ill., where they competed in the 2019 Small School National Championship Tournament. Earlier this spring, the team made it all the way to the KAAC state competition, where they brought home the title of runner-up.

“You don’t get to see these kids on basketball courts or out there on the football field, but I just want people to understand that academics is what it’s all about,” academics head coach Richie Rogers said. “These kids have worked really hard to do this, and it’s a special accomplishment.”

Middlesboro plays in a league called the Southeast Kentucky Academic League, and it includes teams from all around the 13th Region. Teams qualify for the SSNCT by their performance at regular-season tournaments using questions supplied by NAQT.

Rogers has coached the academic team for six years and is also the guidance counselor at Middlesboro High School. This is his and Middlesboro’s first full year competing in NAQT competitions. He explained that when they competed in state they were up against magnet schools from Lexington and Louisville.

He said that anytime the team can win in their league and not lose a game, it’s special. “That’s kind of the ultimate goal,” he said. “That’s basically our fall season, and that is the league play that gets us ready for Governor’s Cup which then gets us ready for regional and state championships and who knew, but the National Championship.”

Middlesboro went into the second day of competition with a record of 7-3, then proceeded to win all their first six playoff games to meet the defending two-time champion, Glasgow in the finals. At this point, Middlesboro had already clinched the Very Small School (VSS) title, but lost 315-505 and 265-450 to Glasgow to place second overall.

“Now, therefore, I, Rick Nelson and members of city council do hereby recognize the hard work and accomplishments of the MHS Academic Team,” Nelson read. “I do hereby proclaim Friday, May 10 as 2019 Middlesboro High School Academic Team Day.”

In addition to winning the Very Small Schools title and second place overall, team member Andrew Kelley took home an All-Star award for placing seventh individually amongst the 432 players in his division.

The SSNCT is held every spring and features the top quiz bowl teams from small schools across the United States.

If you have any questions about the SSNCT or any other NAQT events, you can contact NAQT at