Academic UIL students advance to state


Hannah Gonzalez

High school students who advanced from district competed in UIL regionals this past weekend. The top the three students in each event advance to state, which takes place the first weekend of May.

After competing at the regional Academic UIL meet on Friday and Saturday, six students advanced to the state level in seven different events. Students who advanced placed in the top three of their individual events. 

“I feel like the school did fairly well overall,” junior Jenna Garcia said. “Most of the schools that win top places have entire classes dedicated to studying for UIL, whereas a lot of Lovejoy students study for the competition on their own time since they’re passionate about the subject. Considering this, I feel like we really held our own compared to the other schools”

Two students from computer science will continue competing. Senior Mark Wen took home first place with a total of 15 points, and junior Kevin Xu placed third, with a total of 10 points. Junior Nathan Fowler will be the alternate after coming in fourth place. 

Lovejoy’s Computer Science team is one of the best in the state for many years in a row,” Academic UIL coordinator Jason Taylor said. “The Speech & Debate team and Journalism team are also stalwarts annually.  Their success comes from their talent, but it really comes from the countless hours of practice and competitions that they attend throughout the year.

Though she did not advance to state, Garcia received the highest score in school history in the event Literary Criticism. 

“Literary Criticism has always been my strongest subject for UIL, and I got first in the district competition and fifth in the region which is the highest that any Lovejoy student has scored,” Garcia said. “I was extremely close to moving on for Literary Criticism, so this makes me excited to see what I can accomplish in the future.”

In journalism events, junior Lindsey Hughes will advance to state after winning first place in Editorial Writing and third in News Writing. Senior Andrew Mao will advance in Copy Editing after winning first place.

“We got first place as a team in districts [in Literary Criticism], and then we placed pretty well in regionals with fifth, 15th and 20th place,” Literary Criticism coach Jasen Eairheart said. “It’s a huge step up from last year. Last year we barely had a team, and couldn’t get the same kids to the two meets we had.”

After winning first place in the science category at the district meet, Wen placed second in the region. Jason Taylor is the school’s coordinator for academic UIL, as well as the science team coach.

In a year when getting together for practice was challenging, and there were no practice meets, I am happy with our performance,” Taylor said. “Senior Mark Wen is finishing up a career as one of the most decorated UIL participants in school history.