On Saturday, January 28, Fort Worth Country Day hosted its inaugural certamen competiton: Falcon Friendly Certamen. While the School’s Latin Club has been participating in Latin contests for the past five years and has won the novice-level competition in the Dallas-Fort Worth area three times, this was FWCD’s first effort to host a contest on campus.
Two of the top competitors in the area accepted the invitation – St. Mark’s School of Texas and Highland Park. At 9 a.m., 15 FWCD Latin competitors and 17 volunteers were ready to go. After training and set-up, FWCD welcomed the teams from Highland Park and St. Mark’s. Each level (novice, intermediate and advanced) competed in three rounds of 20 toss-ups for a possible total of 180 tough questions posed to each team over the course of the morning.
FWCD’s advanced team was missing a couple of its veteran players, but rookies Alyssa Cole '19, Grant Zoota ’19 and Josey Reed ’19 did a great job supporting Aidan Vogelson ’18, the lone veteran player. They fought into second place behind a charging St. Mark’s squad in the first round, but were unable to match that result in the two subsequent rounds. St Mark’s dominated the first two rounds, but a late surge from Highland Park’s team gave them a big win in the final round. St. Mark’s overall lead was too great, however, and they took home the gold for the advanced level.
FWCD’s intermediate squad comprised some veteran players from last year’s area champion novice squad, and they were not about to give up a home tournament loss without a fight. Though St. Mark’s team was able to outscore them in the first two rounds, the FWCD team, which consisted of Austin Holcomb ’20, Ian Lee ’20 and Stephanie Morgan ’20, put on a brilliant effort in the last round to not only win the round, but to erase St. Mark’s lead. Tied for the gold, the win went to St. Mark’s since they had won two of the three rounds. Now the team has seen what it is up against and will be ready for them at area championships next month.
FWCD’s two novice teams came in ready for a challenge. If nothing else eighth-graders Ethan Hickman, Kelly Pham, Kat Steele and Krishna Vallabh had something to prove against the incredibly strong seventh-grade team of Henry Brookman Joaquin Castro-Balbi, Kelly Pham and Gavin Zoota. This time desire was not enough. The seventh-graders dominated for three rounds, and there was little that the eighth-graders or the teams from St. Mark’s or Highland Park could do to stop them. FWCD’s eighth-grade team and St. Mark’s both surged in the final round, but were unable to derail FWCD’s young and focused squad. Victory in that round guaranteed them gold and bragging rights for at least one month. Hopefully they can continue their winning ways at championships and earn a spot in the state contest against the heavy-hitting teams from Austin and San Antonio that the team faced earlier in the fall at The Crusader Classic in Austin.
Middle School Latin Teacher Clint Hagen and Upper School Latin Teacher Bryan Carlson serve as Latin Club advisers. Story courtesy of Bryan Carlson.