Harlan High academic team win 6th straight district title

Published 4:02 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2024

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The Harlan Independent School District’s high school academic team took home their sixth straight Governor’s Cup District Title, advancing the team to the regional competition in February.

Harlan Independent Schools Superintendent C.D. Morton expressed his pleasure with the team’s accomplishment.

“Harlan High School has done it again!” Morton said. “They won their sixth consecutive District Academic Team title!”

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According to a news release, the Green Dragons won the title under new leadership, as head coach Shawn Doss retired in 2023 leaving the team under the direction of assistant coach Tyler Saylor. Saylor steered the team to their 24th District Title in 27 years. The team also received the Hume Sportsmanship award, voted on by participating schools, and went undefeated in the day’s Quick Recall competition. Harlan garnered a total of 43 points overall, outdistancing the second-place finish of Harlan County Schools with 33.5 points and the third-place finish of Leslie County at 24.

Harlan is coached by Saylor, Heather Galloway, and Pat Bryson. The Governor’s Cup competition website at https://kaac.com/governors-cup states “Governor’s Cup encourages depth and breadth of academic knowledge, cultural literacy, teamwork, leadership, creativity, risk assessment, and critical thinking, and provides the fun that comes with being part of a team. Established in 1985, KAAC now serves over 20,000 students and nearly 1200 schools at over 400 competitions each year.”

Harlan Independent and Harlan County moved from Region 13 to Region 14 due to realignment from the Kentucky Association Academic Competition and join Hazard Independent, Breathitt County, Jackson Independent, Knott County, Perry County, Cordia, Owsley County, June Buchanan, Wolfe, Clay, Lee, and Leslie counties in regional competition. The top five finishers in each subject area assessment will advance to the regional competition, states the release.

District Governor’s Cup Results


1st Sayed Damaa (Harlan High); 2nd Plez Dean (Harlan County); 3rd Chloe Smith (Clay County); 4th Lucas Gibson (Leslie County); 5th Landon McCreary (Harlan County)


1st Sayed Damaa (Harlan High); 2nd Lucas Gibson (Leslie County); 3rd Brayden Warren (Clay County); 4th Chris Taylor (Harlan High); 5th Waylon Roberts (Leslie County)

Social Studies

1st Emma Hardy (Owsley County); 2nd Caden Craig (Harlan County); 3rd Audrey Goss (Harlan High); 4th Jimmy Shepherd (Harlan County); 5th Haley Maggard (Leslie County)

Language Arts

1st Bryson Eldridge (Harlan County); 2nd Dani Smith (Clay County); 3rd Audrey Goss (Harlan High); 4th Brice Madden (Clay County); 5th Salena Amro (Harlan High)

Arts and Humanities

1st Chloe McCreary (Harlan County); 2nd Chris Taylor (Harlan High); 3rd Bryson Eldridge (Harlan County); 3rd Isaac Owens (Leslie County); 5th Brice Madden (Clay County)


1st Aiden Carroll (Harlan High); 2nd Kevin Thomas Less (Harlan High); 3rd Madilyn Coleman (Leslie County); 4th Mason Asher (Leslie County); 4th Dani Smith (Clay County High)

Quick Recall

1st Harlan High; 2nd Harlan County; 3rd Clay County

Future Problem Solving

1st Leslie County; 2nd Harlan County; 3rd Harlan High