There were times this season when the Demons may have been overmatched in the athletic arena, but they never took a backseat to anyone in academics.

Duncan won eight academic state championships this season to lead the state when it comes to brainpower. The season started on a high note as the football team took top honors and never let up as volleyball, cross country, girls’ swimming, boys’ basketball, baseball, boys’ track and girls’ tennis all brought home championship honors. The number would have been nine but the Lady Demon golf team was forced to play with four at the regional tournament after an injury, negating their chance to add to the total.

“We’ve had 18 academic championships in the last two years which speaks highly of the teachers,” Duncan Athletic Director Burl White said. “The kids may not be the biggest in the state or the fastest, but we have done very well because of the intelligence of the kids.

“We’re making some progress and getting some better athletes. Things go in cycles. You don’t have a Quinn Grovey every year, but you have kids that are more athletic as a class. We’re hopefully going to match some athletic state championships with academic state championships. That is why we are here.”

Duncan Superintendent Sherrie Labyer went one step further in handing out praise for the athlete’s run of success in the classroom at the state level.

She pointed out that the foundation for that success starts at home and carries over into school.

“I think that the thing that makes me so pleased is it is a strong indication that the students are well-rounded and that their parents put an emphasis on academics,” Labyer said. “We want to educate the whole child and extracurricular activities is part of that.”

While Duncan won eight state titles in academics, it only won one in athletics. The girls’ golf team was the standard-bearer for Demon athletics, something that White would like to improve on.

A renewed focus on development at the middle school level has White hopeful that Duncan will become more competitive in the future.

“A lot of the emphasis the last four to five years has been to focus on what we have here, to win now,” White said. “But that’s not working. We are in a position where we can’t recruit. We have to develop what we’ve got. Where we have missed the boat is to attract the younger kids and keep them interested. Coaches are going to have to sell their programs.”

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