Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is pleased to announce Morgantown High School Team 1, Monongalia County, as the 2023 West Virginia Academic Showdown grand champion following the finale at the West Virginia Culture Center today. Morgantown High School Team 1 was among 10 teams representing five regional competition winners in the second year of the high school scholastic competition. George Washington High School, Kanawha County, earned runner-up.

Over the past three months, 71 teams from 40 high schools representing 26 counties competed in this academic head-to-head competition which tested students’ knowledge in subjects including math, history, sports, fine arts and more. Teams consisted of four students from grades 9 – 12, with a fifth member serving as an alternate.

“What an experience for our team to be named the 2023 Academic Grand Champion,” said Carter Herron, team captain. “We do regional quiz bowl tournaments, and those made us feel more prepared for this event. We have learned a lot of skills together as a team and have grown to be a great team, but even better friends as a result. It’s also nice to see academics supported to this degree.”

“This is an awesome feeling. The competition was tough, but we enjoyed it,” said Patrick Ward, team captain of George Washington High School. “I’m going to use this prize money to pay for college.”

The WVDE, West Virginia Legislature, American Electric Power and Microsoft®, provided prize money for teams that participated in this year’s championship:

  • Morgantown High School Team 1, Monongalia County: $10,000 with each team member receiving $2,500
  • George Washington High School, Kanawha County: $8,000 with each team member receiving $2,000
  • Morgantown High School Team 2, Monongalia County: $5,000 with each team member receiving $1,250
  • James Monroe High School, Monroe County: $4,000 with each team member receiving $1,000
  • Huntington High School, Cabell County: $3,000 with each team member receiving $750
  • Berkeley Springs High School, Morgan County and Wheeling Park High School, Ohio County: $2,500 with each team member receiving $625
  • Ripley High School, Jackson County: $2,000 with each team member receiving $500
  • Winfield High School, Putnam County and Spring Mills High Schools, Berkeley County: $1,000 with each team member receiving $250
  • Team Alternates: Alternates are awarded half of the amount according to their team’s final standing
  • Academic Showdown Most Valuable Player (MVP): $1,000
  • All-Tournament Team: $3,000 with each team member receiving $500

Carter Herron was also named the Academic Showdown MVP. Matthew Leasure, Berkeley Springs High School; Patrick Ward, George Washington High School; Cameron Mays, Huntington High School; Madisen McMillion, James Monroe High School; Steven Tian, Morgantown High School Team 1; and Sawyer Rudy, Morgantown High School Team 2 and were named to the All-Tournament Team.

“The Academic Showdown makes it plain that our students are academically prepared for great success thanks to their dedication and love of learning,” said State Superintendent of Schools David L. Roach. “We are witnessing the development of West Virginia’s future right before our eyes. I look forward to more scholarly competition in the next school year.”

“I applaud our state for celebrating the Academic Showdown with its enthusiastic support throughout each of the five regions,” said Senate President Craig Blair whose advocacy was behind the creation of the event. “I could not be more proud of the work our students, teachers and families have put into the competition and the support each community has shown our teams. I appreciate the support our sponsors, and I hope with this year’s success we will grow from 71 teams to more than 100 next year.”

Universities around the state hosted regional competitions, bringing scholars and family members to campuses, allowing them to explore college offerings and student life more closely. The culminating event at the Culture Center provided a festive celebration to honor the commitment of the students, educators and families.

“This is an opportunity for students to be celebrated for their academic prowess and be introduced to options of higher education here in West Virginia,” said West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education Sarah Armstrong Tucker. “These universities welcomed students and their families into their hallowed halls and provided important information about academic offerings, financial aid and college preparation.

The 2023 Academic Showdown schedule included:

Date Event Location
Jan. 14 Region 1 Marshall University, Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts
Jan. 21 Region 5 Shepherd University, Center for Contemporary Arts
Feb. 11 Region 4 West Virginia University, Mountainlair Student Center
Feb. 18 Region 3 Concord University, Beasely Ball Room, Beasely Student Center
Feb. 25 Region 2 West Virginia State University, Fannin S. Belcher Theatre, Davis Fine Arts Center
March 31 Championship West Virginia Culture Center

The Academic Showdown is a partnership between the WVDE, the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

For event highlights, pictures and the championship bracket, visit the WVDE website.

For media inquiries, contact Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications, 304-558-2699 or; or Jessica Tice, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, 304-545-9412 or

Photo Captions

  1. Morgantown High School Team 1 is the 2023 Academic Showdown Grand Champion.
  2. George Washington High School is the 2023 Academic Showdown Runner-up.

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