I’m back in Austin after a week-long trip to Gallaudet University. It was a great trip to do several projects and to cover the 2017 National Academic Bowl tournament.
Congratulations to the Indiana School for the Deaf for winning this year’s national championship. It was a close match with the runner-up Maryland School for the Deaf — the match had several lead-changes, players and coaches challenging the officers’ decisions, and it was close until the third round, in which ISD was able to pull away and claim the school’s fourth national title, the second-most just behind Maryland with five.
Indiana has two seniors who will graduate — including Isabella Paulone, who is the third person in her family to win a national championship — joining her older sister Pia Marie (2003) and brother Gabriel (2008).
But Indiana should be a strong contender for next year’s nationals because the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player — Franco Bippus — is only a sophomore.
Maryland was the “dark horse” of this year’s tournament, as they came in second at the South regionals to Texas School, but they played very strong in this year’s tournament. They will bring back three players including Esteban Kovacs (will be a senior) — and the team should be back next year with national title hopes.
Last year’s defending national champions Rockville High School, which had all its players return this year, lost in the semifinals to Maryland and entered the 3/4 match against Texas School for the Deaf. TXSD, who was 2nd in the nation last year, lost in the semifinals to Indiana — so the 3/4 match was a re-match of last year’s nationals.
Texas came away with a solid win, gaining a early lead and maintaining it to come away with a strong win for 3rd in the nation. All four players on that team are seniors, so it’ll be a new Texas team next year.
For Rockville, they finished fourth in a tournament where many expected them to return to the championship match and defend their title. They will lose two players to graduation, including experienced and leading scorer Bryan Yun — but will bring back regional MOP (most outstanding player) Jonathan Summers so they should be a strong contender next year.
Two teams won this year’s sportsmanship award — Mountain Lakes High School and Washington School for the Deaf.
Congratulations to the top four teams, the sportsmanship teams, and to all the other 16 teams who made the nationals.
It was a true pleasure to meet and interact with all the kids, coaches, parents, and staff involved with the competition.
Everybody will have just less than a year to study and get prepared for next year’s regionals season, which usually starts at the end of February and March.
Thank you, Gallaudet University for inviting me over to cover this tournament.