by Jessie Beddow
Months of preparation and hard work led up to Saturday, February 27, when seven eager students headed to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg to attend the annual Scholastic Bowl State Tournament. The Mustangs’ Scholastic Bowl team came in third place in the state for group 2A.
In the first round, they lost to 2A West Region champions, and eventual state champions, Central-Wise 245-165. This set up a rematch from the Region final against East Region champions Maggie Walker.
The rematch was a much closer game, as the Mustangs led after the first tossup round, fell behind in the team round, and had a comeback in the tossup round that fell just short as Maggie Walker prevailed 205-185.
This loss set the Mustangs up against West Region runner-up Tazewell to decide who would take third place, and Mason jumped out to a big lead in the opening tossup round and then coasted to a 230-155 win.
“We didn’t win all of the games we played but the ones we lost were still really competitive and we managed to get a really close game going against Maggie Walker, which is our biggest rival,” said junior Scholastic Bowl team member Annie Parnell.
The Mustangs had very balanced scoring with all four starters taking multiple tossups, led by junior Jimmy Ferguson, followed closely by fellow juniors Annie Parnell and Joseph Snitzer and senior Cole Casteel.
The season started out with apprehension due to losing five seniors who helped lead the team in the past.
“Throughout this year we have really been focusing on rebuilding the team and getting more people interested in carrying it out,” said Parnell.
The State Tournament demonstrated the team’s perseverance and success after having to rebuild the team.
“Third place in the state was a great result for a team that graduated five seniors last year, and so started this year with very little experience,” said Jamie Sharff, a social studies teacher at Mason and the Scholastic Bowl team head coach.
The team had a successful 19-4 record this season and collected the Bull Run District title, the Conference 35 title and came in second in 2A East Region competition.