Lenia Lange

Maverick McKown works out science problems during a UIL practice.

Unstoppable Force

McKown shooting for state title in UIL science

March 6, 2023

Anyone can study and flourish in classes. Many students are adamant about their grades and keep up with their GPA and class ranking.

However, there are few students who can thrive in their everyday academic environment while also competing at a higher level of achievement. 

Maverick McKown is one of the few students who is impressively studious and competitive with his academics.

UIL is not just about sports and athletics. It also provides opportunities for talented students to showcase their knowledge and academic drive. 

McKown goes above and beyond by leading the UIL science team, answering dozens of questions over biology, chemistry and physics in preparation for testing. 

Much like athletic teams, the science team goes to meets and tournaments. They also meet at least twice a week to practice and finetune their skills. 

After several meets, many students have a chance to move to the regional and state levels. Last year, McKown finished second in the state among all Class 5A competitors and was one question away from being a state champion. 

UIL science coach Trevor Wildman said having a student like McKown is rare. The students he coaches are almost on the same level if not the exact same level as college students he has worked with in the past.

“He is very competitive. He was doing this before he even had a coach. He was studying on his own,” Wildman said. “In 16 years at the high school level, I think I’ve had a total of 12 students who have his capability and his motivation.”

McKown is unique because of his drive and motivation. WFISD does not have a designated class period for academic UIL teams so McKown has taken on a leader role by helping coordinate times for the team to meet and practice.

“Our time is really limited to like an hour after school on Monday and Wednesday, which really is not giving us much time to be as prepared as we would like,” Wildman said. “A lot of it has to be independent stuff that they do on their own time, so that our time together can be answering questions.”

Although McKown scores well in each category, his favorite is physics. 

“It ties together math and how the world works,” McKown said. “I like learning about how to build different things.”

Although McKown does not know what college he wants to attend, McKown said he wants to major in physics. Eventually, he wants to use his degree to become an engineer.

“It explains a lot about how the world works and has a lot of math,” he said.

McKown and the science team also have earned many achievements. No matter the college or university, McKown is eligible for scholarships just for qualifying to participate in the state UIL meet in 2022.

Qualifying for state, at any point in a student’s four years of high school, they are automatically qualified for college scholarships. Winning state opens the door for even more scholarship opportunities.

After four years of high school, McKown has grown into a leader. He has worked for higher test scores and found what he wants to do as a career.

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Kylie Davenport, Editor in Chief

Kylie Davenport is a senior at Rider High School and is the Chronicle's editor-in-chief. Going into her second year on staff, she is nervous but excited...

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