Student and Faculty Accomplishments Winter 2018


Girls Cross Country 2018 State Title

A State Title and Runner-Up Trophy for Cross-Country

The DA varsity girls cross-country team earned the squad’s first state championship in 22 years on Oct. 26, with seventh-grader Allison Hall crossing the finish line first to claim the individual title. Her 20:14 was 16 seconds ahead of ninth-grader Stella Stringer, who placed second. Sophomore Anna Catherine Wilson made it a 1–2–3 DA sweep, with a third-place finish of 20:52.

“The girls were just amazing,” head coach Costen Irons said. “We knew they had a really good chance of winning going in, but had no idea they were going to do it in the fashion they did.”

Junior Claire Middleton joined Hall, Stringer and Wilson on the All-State team by finishing eighth with a time 21:40. Sophomore Quinn Shanahan was the fifth DA runner to cross the finish line, as her 22:57 placed her 22nd. The Cavs finished with 36 points to hold off second-place Cary Academy by 25 and third-place Charlotte Latin School by 33.

The DA boys team earned the runner-up trophy in the state meet, losing by just one point to heavily favored Providence Day, with four DA boys making the All-State squad. Senior Neil Mosca (4th — 17:43), sophomore Jay Shanahan (5th — 17:48), as well as juniors Mac Hays (10th — 18:09) and Mark Alkins (11th — 18:14) paced the Cavs. Senior Jack Anderson was the fifth DA runner, finishing in 20th place with a time of 18:45. DA’s team score of 50 trailed state champ Providence Day School’s 49 points, with the Chargers’ finishers coming in at 1, 9, 12, 13 and 14.

Read more about Hall’s individual title and her family’s DA cross-country legacy.


Arya Kumar

Chess on the World Stage

Only the best chess players around the globe qualify to compete in the World Youth Chess Championships each year, andamong them in 2018 was Durham Academy eighth-grader Arya Kumar. Despite being relatively new to the game, Kumar placed 28th in a field of 107 female players under the age of 14 at the tournament in Porto Carras, Halkidiki, Greece.

Kumar — who holds DA’s all-time ratings record of 1985 — was the only North Carolinian who qualified for the 2018 World Youth Chess Championships, an 11-round tournament. As of November 2018, she was the top-ranked middle schooler, boy or girl, in all of North Carolina; No. 9 in the state in the overall kindergarten-to-grade 12 division; and No. 5 in the nation among all 13-year-old girls.

Kumar went into the world championships — comprising 11 rounds — with no prior international exposure. She won six games and drew one, resulting in her placing 28th overall and tying for the second-highest number of points among the 14-member U.S. delegation of players under 14.

Prior to competing in Greece, Kumar represented North Carolina in the U.S. National Girls Tournament of Champions in Madison, Wisconsin, where she tied for third place.


William Hand

William Hand ’23

When his family headed to the West African nation of The Gambia over the summer, eighth-grader William Hand brought along a bit of extra luggage — 37 pairs of shoes to distribute to children in need.

After talking with seventh-grade history teacher Betsy Brown about what he might do to help Gambian children during his trip, he decided to organize a shoe collection.

Hand distributed the shoes to children in Keneba, an inland village. In this photo, Hand is riding in a boat from one end of the country to the other on the Gambian and Bintang Bolong rivers.


Betsy Brown

Betsy Brown

Seventh-grade history teacher and Middle School field hockey coach Betsy Brown was inducted into the Earlham College Athletics Hall of Fame in September.

Earlham describes her as “one of the premier women athletes of her era at Earlham College, excelling in lacrosse, field hockey and soccer during her time in Maroon and White.” In addition to her prowess on the field, Betsy and other female student-athletes lobbied the Earlham administration for more support for women's athletics, which led to her earning an appointment on Earlham’s Athletic Committee.


Tennis 2018 State Champions

Girls Tennis: Back-to-Back State Champs

Ending the season on a 19-match win streak, the DA varsity girls tennis team captured the program’s second consecutive state championship with a 5–2 victory over Charlotte Latin School on Oct. 27.

“Our girls dedicated themselves to defending our title, and it was great to see their grit and determination all year long,” head coach Andy Pogach said. “This team brought it every match. We didn’t have any ‘bad days.’ All 13 of our girls performed admirably and were great teammates whether they were in the lineup or not.”

Juniors Madeline Towning and Alexis Galloway started things off with an 8–1 win at first doubles. The duo is now 31–4 together as a doubles team. Senior co-captain Julia King teamed with junior Sarah Clark for an 8–3 win at third doubles. King leaves DA with a final individual record of 52–3.

Latin captured the final doubles point as senior co-captain Joy Callwood and junior Renee George fell 8–6 at second doubles. Callwood and George rallied from 1–5 down to cut the Hawks’ lead to 6–7 before eventually falling. In singles play, Galloway was first off with a 6–0, 6–0 win on court 3. She ended the year 34–1 to set the school record for most wins in a season.

Sarah Clark rallied from a tough first set to defeat her opponent 1–6, 6–1, 10–2 to put the Cavs one win away. Clark defeated the same Latin player in three sets earlier in the year. Junior Renee George clinched the championship, taking a 6–1, 6–1 win on court four to set off the celebration.


2018 National Merit Semifinalists

14 Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation has recognized 14 Durham Academy seniors as semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

The DA seniors selected as semifinalists represent 13 percent of the senior class: Spencer Adler, Jack Anderson, Nathan Dalva-Baird, Alexander Hoffman, Matthew Holleran Meyer, Tigey Jewell-Alibhai, Sarah Kim, Julia King, Emily Kohn, Lydia Rockart, Nathan Salley, Kiran Sundar, Jasper Wolf and Kay Youngstrom.

Semifinalists were chosen by virtue of their performance on the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Of the 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools who took the qualifying test, approximately 16,000 students were recognized as semifinalists. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than 1 percent of all U.S. high school seniors, and includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

About 90 percent of students from the semifinalist pool are expected to advance to the finalist level and will be notified of that designation in February. About half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, with notifications beginning in April and concluding in July. An estimated 7,500 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $31 million, will be offered in spring 2019.

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