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St. Ed Students Help Bring U.S. Latin Title Back to Ohio

Thursday, August 16, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: KC McKenna
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For the first time in fourteen years, Ohio’s novice team in Latin’s most prestigious sport has won a national championship.

Competing on the five-man team that brought home the Novice Division Certamen trophy on July 31 were St. Edward sophomores Will Beatrez of North Olmsted and Maxwell Mehlman of Parma. Also on the team were Lee Burneson Middle School’s Alex Lathem and two Cincinnati students.

Certamen, a kind of Latin "Academic Challenge,” and other competitive events in Latin were sponsored by the National Junior Classical League and took place at the organization’s fifty-ninth annual convention July 26-31 at North Carolina’s Wake Forest University. More than sixteen hundred students from thirty-eight states participated in the week-long festivities, which included contests in sports, graphic arts, vocabulary, oratory, history, and a variety of other subjects related to Latin.

Beatrez and Mehlman were chosen as the team’s language experts after tying for the top score in the state in Latin grammar at tryouts in June, according to Larry Dean, Chair of the Ohio Junior Classical League and head Certamen coach. Lathem was the team’s Greek myth and Roman civilization expert.

"Just making the team was a huge honor for Will and Maxwell and a feather in the cap of Latin in northeast Ohio,” says St. Edward instructor Daniel Cavoli, who taught the boys. "But for their team to win it all surpassed our wildest expectations. It was electrifying. The fans mobbed the stage.”

Alex Lathem’s teacher, Westlake High School Latin instructor Lisa Patton, sees the Lee Burneson eighth-grader’s "academic drive and competitive spirit” as keys to his success. "Alex’s love of learning was clear from the moment I first spoke with him,” she said.

St. Edward’s Connor Tomshack, Michael Shullick, and Matt Martis played in the finals in Open Certamen, a version of the sport in which mixed teams of players from different states compete. Shullick and Tomshack placed first. This was Tomshack’s second straight national title in the event. In addition, Tomshack took Best in Show in two other events and is a two-year perfect scorer on the National Latin Exam, also sponsored by the National Junior Classical League. Beatrez, Mehlman, Martis, and Jonathan Poilpre earned perfect scores on the 2012 National Latin Exam, a distinction shared by less than one percent of all contestants in the eleven countries whose students competed. Along with Greg Pataky and Jon Unger, these four students were first through third-place winners in additional events at Wake Forest.

Included in the northeast Ohio delegation to the convention were sixteen Shaker Heights students and ten from Westlake. Shaker’s NarayanSundararajan was a first-place finisher in ancient geography for the second year in a row, andBhavaniSrinivas teamed up with Hannah Barrett to win Best in Show in costume design. These three,along with fellow Shaker delegatesSameer Apte, Max Cassell, Joseph Espy, Brian Gao, Allison Kao, Matthew McMillan, Anav Sood, and Jimmy Zhu, took first through third in a number of events. Apte, Gao,Srinivas, Sood,Sundararajan,andBen Robertson earned perfect scores on the National Latin Exam. Robertson, like St. Edward’s Tomshack, is a two-year perfect scorer.

In addition to playing on the U.S. Champion Ohio Certamen team, Lee Burneson’s Lathemtook first and second places in other contests.Tom Carroll, a 2012 Westlake High graduate and another perfect scorer on the National Latin Exam, placed first, second, and third in other categories and won the national title and Best in Show for Latin literature. Additional first through third-place winners from Westlake were Michelle Adamczyk, Elizabeth Boor, and Eleni Packis. Westlake’s Sam Buck represented Ohio on the executive board as Parliamentarian, the lone Ohioan elected to serve on the 2012 National Committee.

The National Junior Classical League, an organization dedicated to the promotion of Latin,has more than 1,000 chapters in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom and more than 46,000 members worldwide.

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