Harlan Students Place Top 10 in State Governor’s Cup Competition

Published 4:34 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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Harlan Middle and High School students traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to compete for a state championship in the Kentucky Governor’s Academic Team Competition recently. Each year, qualifying teams from regional competitions advance to compete among Kentucky’s brightest students. Following up on years of past success, the Green Dragons once again left with championship hardware commemorating their high levels of academic achievement.

Harlan Middle School Eighth grader, Harlan Marietta, paced the Green Dragons cracking the top 5 with a fourth-place overall finish in composition. It was the highest individual placement of an HMS Green Dragon since 2022. The Green Dragons finished in 20th place out of more than 340 representative middle schools continuing a four-year run of students or teams placing in the top 10.

Coach Chris Day was extremely proud of his team and their sustained success.

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“This team is extremely talented and have been a lot of fun to work with this year,” said Day. “Over the last four years, we have finished as high as 8th in the state and have had individuals place as high as 2nd among all Kentucky students. I think our students make each other stronger and more competitive when it comes to competing academically. It is what sets Harlan Middle School apart. I am very proud of Harlan Marietta and the rest of the team for building on the legacy of academic excellence at Harlan.”

Competing against more than 250 representative High Schools, Harlan High finished the 2024 season in 20th place overall. Senior Aiden Carroll took 9th place overall in composition while Sophomore Sayed Damaa finished in 7th place in Mathematics. Both Carroll and Damaa have made consecutive trips to the Governor’s Cup State Competition over the last several years helping lead the Dragons to their sixth consecutive District Championship and a Regional title in 2023 and a Regional Runner-up finish in 2024.

Tyler Saylor, HHS Head Coach, was pleased with the improvement over the season and particularly the strong finish during the state finals.

“This is a wonderful experience for our students to achieve at such a high level, academically, Saylor said. “We strive to be the best in the state, not just in our county or region, and year in and year out our students rise to the occasion. We have high standards and a long history of academic excellence at Harlan High and I am proud of this team and the way they have represented Harlan and honored that legacy.”

Superintendent C.D. Morton noted that the Kentucky Governor’s Cup competition serves as a source of inspiration and determination for students while helping raise the bar locally.

“Our district invests significantly in our students to be competitive academically,” Morton noted. “We know that schools are dynamic places, but it is the classroom that should drive everything we do. By supporting our kids to be among the best in the state we believe we are preparing them for a successful future. We have a shared determination to continue the academic excellence that Harlan is known for across the commonwealth. I am extremely proud of our students and academic programs.”

Both Harlan Middle and High School have won the last five consecutive District Governor’s Cup Academic Team competitions. The teams finished as Runner-Up in the 2024 Regional competition after winning the Region in 2023.