The History of Titan Academic League
The Eastern Indiana Academic League was established in 1986. It was formed in reaction to an attempt by the Indiana Academic Competition for Excellence to develop more competitions to meet the needs and desires of Indiana secondary schools. Directed by Paul Schuyler, IACE, thought that the same competitive desire that was important in the development of our athletic, forensic, music, and other student programs could also be used in the area of academics to help elevate the perception of academic achievement in the minds of our students.
IACE started the Hoosier Spell Bowl in 1985, and then Indiana got involved in the United States Academic Decathlon in February of 1986. IACE announced that Academic Competition would begin in 1987. They asked schools throughout the state to form academic leagues to help prepare for the first Hoosier Academic Super Bowl in April and May of 1987.
Nine local schools met at Centerville in the spring of 1986. There, several principals and teachers set up rules for a new academic conference. Among them were Steve Dickerson and Terry W. Irwin from Tri, Alan Tasson and Linda Morris from Union, Jack Walser and Harold McGrath from Hagerstown, and Jim Howell and Lynn O’Neal from Centerville. The original nine schools were Centerville, Hagerstown, Lincoln, Monroe Central, Tri, Union, Union City, Union County and, Winchester. A schedule was set up for 3 three-way meets leading up to the Hoosier Academic Super Bowl in April and May of 1987. Tri’s first Academic Meet took place on October 28, 1986 at Centerville. We competed against Centerville and Monroe Central. During that first year the theme was “Romance and Revolution”. It included the years from 1750 to 1870. From the very beginning competition involved six teams: Social Studies, Mathematics, English, Science, Fine Arts, and All-Around. During that first year Terry W. Irwin coached all six Titan teams. In the State Area Competition and the State Finals there were 25 questions in each category. In our conference we originally had seventeen questions.
During that first year our only first place finish was by Jeff Fleming, who won a blue ribbon as the top individual in a Social Studies competition. In the area competition our science and fine arts teams each finished just one point away from first in our class. Our first area competition roster included: Beth Bimber, Scott Brown, Heather Dishman, Kelli Dudley, Kaye Duncan, Jeff Fleming, Brooke Miller, Regina Setser and Jean True.
The second year of our league (1987-88) brought many changes. Blue River Valley, Connersville, and Randolph Southern joined the league. We now had 4-way meets with just fourteen questions. The biggest change was the addition of the final conference meet. That year we had a 12-team conference meet on March 24, 1988 at Centerville. It originally only had fourteen questions in each category. Since then we have changed it to twenty-five questions and we now follow the state guidelines at the Conference Meet. That year we also hired Lora K. Baldwin of I.U. East to help organize the meets and the questions.
During 1987-88 our Titans had a great deal of success. Our English team had an 8-0 record during the regular season. Two other teams, the Social Studies and All-Around, finished 7-1. In the Conference meet our All-Around team of Kelli Dudley, Jeff Fleming, and Todd Wolfe defeated 11 other schools to take first place. It was very special to win the All-Around in the very first Eastern Indiana Academic League Conference Meet!
1987 was also the first year Tri had different coaches for each team. Our coaches were Rob Lawson in English, Nancy Branyan in Science, Austin Custer in Fine Arts, Liz Metroka in Mathematics, and Terry W. Irwin in Social Studies. We’ve had several coaching changes since then. In English, Rob was followed by Ruth Brookshire, Carolyn Colvin, Rebecca Cain, Terry Yoakum, Carolyn Colvin, Kathy Irwin, and in the 2008-2009 year, Tom Woodward. In Science, Nancy was followed by Mary Ann Creech, Shanna Cameron, Terry W. Irwin, Shanna Cameron, and Michael Robinson. Austin was followed by Lucy Robie and Natalie Franks. As of 2008-2009, Austin Custer was, once again, the Fine Arts coach. As of 2008-2009, Terry W. Irwin had coached the Social Studies team for 23 years and Liz Metroka had coached the Mathematics team for 22 years. Terry had also been the coordinator for the first 22 years.
There have been other Titans with very important contributions. We would not be where we are today without the support of Mick Newport. Mick became our principal during the second year of the EIAL and provided us with much emotional, physical, and financial support. Teresa Janney and Kathy Gibson have also been very helpful throughout the years. One other staff member has been extremely important once each year! That would be Dan Webb, who has been our moderator for home meets during most of those years. He is the best in the conference! In the more recent years Tri has had an Academic Booster Club that has provided much needed physical and financial help. They have provided many additions to our academic competitions. We should also thank Phyllis and Todd for all their help in our first twenty-three years!
Each year we have three major meets in which we hope to do well. In March we have our Conference Meet. That usually involves 15 to 16 teams. In April we have the Area Competition and if we do well enough in it we participate in the State Super Bowl in May! In the Area Competition if your score is one of the five highest in your class of fifty-six schools you will be invited to the State Finals. Over the years our Titans have been very successful at these competitions.
During the first twenty-two years of Academic Competition Tri won 9 Conference Championships, 19 Area Championships, and competed in the State Finals 21 times. The greatest moments in Academic Competition occurred when our Titans won State Championships in 1996, 1997, and 2002.
In 1996 the Interdisciplinary team won our first State Championship! The topic that year was “Women.” We had worked very hard that year and won the competition on the last question! The students were excited and the few fans that followed us to Warren Central made it very enjoyable. Along with state medals, plaques, and banners, we also won $300.00 for the school library. The team was composed of John Lewman, Katie Yanos, Patrick Irwin, Alyssa Webb, Darrin Jacobs, and Amanda Thompson.
One year later, our Social Studies team won the State Championship. In 1997, the topic was “Asia,” and in the Social Studies competition they emphasized the Japanese culture. That year we could relax a little more because we had it won with two questions left! The second championship was even more exciting because we had more fans there to enjoy it. Our team was made up of Patrick Irwin, Autumn Hayes, Darrin Jacobs, Jay Marlow, and Holly Sparks.
In 2002, our Social Studies team once again won the State Championship. We won it by answering the 25th question correctly and winning a tie-breaker. Our 21 correct answers was one of the highest scores ever in the State Finals of Class 4 Social Studies. The topic in 2002 was “The Years Between the Wars: November 11, 1918 – December 7, 1941.” We had more fans at the competition than ever before, and they were very active. It made the last few questions especially exciting. The team was composed of Tyler Carnahan, Wes Jones, Jon Marlow, Heather Marshall, and Kevin Carnahan.
Tri has had five teams finish as State Runner-Up. In 1990, the Titan Social Studies team finished one correct answer out of first. The topic that year was “Greece.” Our team was made up of Aaron Snavely, Clay Miller, Jeff Weidner, and Scott Wooten.
The other Titan Academic teams to finish as State Runner-Up were the 2001 and 2007 Social Studies teams and the 2006 and 2007 Interdisciplinary teams. The 2001 team finished just one correct answer from the State Championship. It, certainly, was one of the best Titan Academic teams ever. In the Conference Championship that year they set a conference record in Social Studies by getting 23 answers correct. Then, they won the Area Competition with a score that was 3 points higher than any other school in Class 4. That team was composed of Tyler Carnahan, Jeffrey Irwin, Wes Jones, and Jon Marlow.
In 2006, the Titan Interdisciplinary team of Adam Bales, Abbie Howell, Amy Wenning, Jeff Woolston, Samantha Wright, Joey Mays, and Mark Wenning. In 2007, the Titans had one of their best days ever! Two teams finished State Runner-Up. The Social Studies team was made up of Mark Wenning, Tyler Thompson, and David Wenning. The Interdisciplinary team also finished second and it was composed of Adam Bales, Abbie Howell, Mark Wenning, Molly Ellis, Josh Bales, and Tyler Thompson.
Titan teams that finished thirst in the State Finals were our 2000 English team and our 2002 Interdisciplinary team. Our 2000 English team was made up of Elizabeth Cummings, Whitney Jones, Allison Yanos, Amanda Stevens, and Jennifer York. It was coached by Carolyn Colvin. Our 2002 Interdisciplinary team was composed of Wes Jones, Tyler Carnahan, Dustin Chew, Amber Parish, Paul Phillips, Elizabeth Cummings, and Jessi Stewart.
Our thirteen other State Finalist teams finished in fourth, fifth, or sixth place.
As of 2008, Tri had nineteen teams that had won our Area Competition at Richmond. There are normally six or seven teams in Class 4 at Richmond. That makes the competition very difficult and makes us very proud of our success. Included in the nineteen Titan Area Champion teams, there were three that did not have a high enough score to qualify for the state finals. They were the 1989 Interdisciplinary team and the 2007 and 2008 Mathematics teams. The 1989 Interdisciplinary was composed of Clay Miller, Jeremey Wolfe, and Stephen Wooten. The 2007 Mathematics team was made up of Adam Bales, Chris Wilkey, Gabe Clark, Mark Wenning, and Josh Bales. The 2008 Mathematics team was composed of Mark Wenning, Emily Paul, Gabe Clark, Josh Bales, Chris Wilkey, and David Wenning. (The other sixteen Area Champions are indicated with an asterisk next to the teams in the State Finalists list.)