Scholars Bowl Team: Back-to-Back State Champions as Rutsky Bows Out

26 April 2019

Hoover High School Scholars Bowl Team (HHS) -The Hoover High School Scholars Bowl Team won the State Scholars Bowl Championship once again this year, making Hoover back-to-back State Champions.  This is the team’s 5th state title in the past 10 years – a crowning achievement for outgoing Coach Joshua Rutsky.

Hoover went undefeated in the State Tournament, going a perfect 5-0 at Districts, then 9-0 at State to capture the championship.  Players swept the Vestavia Hills High School Scholars Bowl Team 2-0 in the championship match.  This makes Hoover 28-0 in state tournament play over the last two years.

“This championship is a testimony to the hard work the students put in this year.  We lost three of the best players Hoover High School has ever had, and we had two freshmen, two sophomores, and a junior step up to the plate and work all season to get themselves prepared to take on the best in the state,” Rutsky said.  “These students decided they were not going to let their captain, Anna Muthalaly, graduate with anything less than a championship, and they delivered for Anna on her 18th birthday--one heck of a present.”

Muthalaly was joined by classmates Hudson Keller, Luke Clark, Claire Jun, Kapil Nathan, and Kenneth Curlings.  Coaches Tim Caine, Anthony Hamley, and Maggie Gilliland joined Rutsky in leading the team.  Caine will take over for Rutsky as he prepares to bow out of his coaching spot after nearly a decade at the helm.

“I am proud to be leaving the team on a high note like this, and equally happy to hand the reins to a man who is going to coach with the same dedication and values that I have tried to uphold over the years.  It has been an honor to coach such outstanding players, and I look forward to seeing Hoover remain the best program in this state, and the model that other teams look to imitate,” Rutsky said.  

Rutsky says he’s “…watched some amazing kids” during his time as Scholars Bowl coach.  Students which have returned championship after championship to Hoover and represented their school, school system, and city in spectacular ways.

“After last year’s perfect 52-0 record in state and a state title, I felt like it was a good time to step away, but we didn’t have anyone who was willing to step in (and coach). This year, one of my former players (Caine) was hired as a History teacher and he was excited at the thought of coaching our program and carrying on the traditions he helped build,” Rutsky said.

Rutsky has been two-term president of ASCA – the Alabama Scholastic Competition Association – and has been honored with a national award for his contributions to the game.  He feels “lucky” that he gets to leave at the peak of his game.

“My players worked very hard to send me out on a winning note. This was not an expected title; they just outworked everyone else and made it happen. I think part of being a truly good coach is knowing when to pass the reins so the program isn’t about you. I have been blessed at HHS with great talents to coach, and with the support of our administration, I have been able to help shape Alabama’s academic competition programs into national competitors. I will miss coaching, but I am eager to spend more time with my own children, now 7 and 9, and with my wonderful wife.”

Jason Gaston
HCS Public Relations