In a matter of 24 hours, Blake’s It’s Academic team came out victorious in both the Washington finals and the Intercity games.
The team beat Richard Montgomery high school and St. Anselm’s Abbey school in the Washington area finals. With 45 seconds on the clock, they managed to set a new record by answering every question in the lightning round with six seconds to spare.
“We were down by 10 points flowing into the last round,” says teacher sponsor Joseph Caulfield. “It was Richard Montgomery’s turn. If they had [missed] one point we would have been tied and if they [missed] two, then we won. As it turns out, they missed two, so we won by a comfortable margin.”
In the afternoon they moved onto the Intercity Championship and defeated the Baltimore and Central Virginia teams in another outstanding performance. The team started that day hoping to win the finals, and the Intercity victory was the cherry on top of their perfect Sunday afternoon. “Our goal every year is to win the Washington championship. The Super Bowl is just sort of an exhibition game,” says Mr. Caulfield.
Everyone playing that day deserves a round of applause, but senior captain Olivia Gyapong is truly worthy of a standing ovation. She not only led the team to scoring a plurality of the points, but was the only female captain in the Intercity.
Gyapong joined the team in the middle of her freshman year, and studied hard to become a starting member by the time she was a sophomore. Unsurprisingly, the team reached the playoffs and Gyapong was captain by the time her junior year came around. During the pandemic she has been committed to keeping the team on track while balancing an intense schedule as the captain of multiple clubs.
Gyapong plans on majoring in journalism and political science at the University of Missouri with her tuition fully paid through the Stamps Scholarship program. She will be in amazing company at one of the best journalism schools in the nation. The scholar has left a lasting impression on the Blake community, and the team will be sad to see her go.
Readers can rest assured that she left the team in good hands as there is no shortage of talent on next year’s starting lineup. Junior players Theo Sodani and Peter Willis have a multitude of victories under their belt, and sophomore Zachary Musyami has worked diligently as the standing alternative. Though the official starting lineup for next year has to be determined, Musyami will likely join Willis and Sodani as the final member.
“Last year’s quarterfinal game was my favorite memory because that was our first game with Peter Willis playing. We won in a landslide and I knew at that point that the team we assembled was going to be good,” says Sodani.
Mr. Caulfield and assistant coach Charles Kalina have gone the extra mile to help prepare the team for victory. In only 21 years of coaching, Mr. Caulfield has led the team to a whopping five championships with a tried and tested method for success. While he plans on retiring as an English teacher next year, he will be coaching the team for the foreseeable future.
“I’m excited for future games,” says Mr. Caulfield. “It would be easy to slack off. It takes a lot of discipline, months ahead of time to put yourself in the mindset that every practice matters, every day matters, every fact matters.”