Cullman Middle School students showed off their academic prowess recently, competing in the state Scholars Bowl tournament and geography bee.

Dean Green, coach of the Scholars Bowl team, said while the team didn't win, they performed well and showed good sportsmanship.

"I think they did an outstanding job," Green said.

Cullman's team, consisting of Jim Crowder, Jasef Wisener, Samantha Harris, Tyler Jones, Andrew Jones and Brandon Roberts, took on the top 27 other teams from around the state March 4 in a test of academic knowledge.

Teams were first divided into four pools of seven. Cullman went undefeated in its pool, beating six district-winning schools. However, Cullman lost a close quarterfinals match to Hartselle, who would go on to finish second behind Bumpus Middle School.

Crowder was Cullman's top scorer.

Principal Jayne Barnett said she's proud of her students' performance.

"Our students have consistently done well in scholars bowl competitions," Barnett said. "We're always thrilled when they participate at the state level, because that means they've won several competitions beforehand."

Barnett said Green, a veteran coach, deserves much of the credit.

Harris, an eighth grade student, also earned a place in the Alabama Geographic Bee, a competition held by the National Geographic Society. After winning the school geography bee, Harris took a written test to qualify as one of 100 finalists in the state.

"She's a very bright young lady," Barnett said of Harris. "She works very hard and stays dedicated to her studies."

At the finals, held at Samford University, Harris faced questions like, "Carson Sink, Black Rock Desert and Yucca Flats are physical features found in which arid state?" and "Zurich is a major banking center in which European country?"

(Answers: Nevada and Switzerland).

Barnett said she's looking for Cullman students to keep up the pace next year.

"They've made us accustomed to winning," she said. "Now it's just expected that our kids will do well."

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