Brothers add to medal collection: State hoops champs advance to academic state meet

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, April 20, 2019
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Family Winnings

FAMILY WINNINGS – Slidell’s Brady, Karen and Easton Vanover will be headed to the state academic meet. Brady won the region title in persuasive speaking. Karen is the accounting team coach. Easton won the gold medal at regionals in the event. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

For a short time last weekend, Easton Vanover enjoyed bragging rights between brothers, claiming a gold medal in accounting at the Class A Region III UIL academics meet.

His older brother Brady didn’t take long to join him as a regional champion, earning a matching gold medal in persuasive speaking.

“With him being my little brother, once he got one, I had to get one,” Brady said.

The Vanover brothers will now try to accomplish the rare feat of winning academic state titles in the same spring after earning a crown on the basketball court together with the Slidell Greyhounds.

“It’s been awesome to share the experience together,” Brady said.

Easton added: “This looks good on a college resume and shows how well-rounded we are.”

Success on the state stage is nothing new for the Vanover family. Their older brother Shelby won state titles in computer science and ready writing at Slidell.

During a crazy spring that included a run to the title in basketball, the Vanover brothers have stayed busy. Along with basketball, track and competing in persuasive speaking, Brady is the lead actor in the school’s statebound one-act play production, “Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play.” Brady was named Best Actor at the regional performance, playing Jekyll and Hyde.

“You leave early in the morning and if we had basketball practice, a lot of times I didn’t get home until 7 that night,” Brady said.

Once the extended basketball season was over, Easton said it was time to cram for accounting tests.

“It was difficult to focus on anything else during basketball season,” Easton said.

Early in the school year, he had to recruit a new coach for the accounting team after the previous sponsor retired. His mother and Slidell math and STEM teacher Karen Vanover took on the role. The accounting team won the District 22-A title and followed it up with a regional crown to earn a trip to Austin and the state meet. Along with Easton taking first, Dusty Davis finished fifth.

“It’s been fun. [Easton] knows more than I do. Sometimes, he’s been the one coaching me,” Karen said.

The entire year has been a joy for Karen and her husband, Cody, a former Slidell coach and teacher, to witness.

“It makes us very proud and happy that they have had this opportunity,” Karen said. “They have great coaches and teachers that prepare them for success.”

The brothers’ competitive nature drives them, but they are also each other’s biggest fan.

“They can be competitive but they are also very supportive of each other,” Karen said.

Easton and Brady want to add their medal collections. Easton will compete in the UIL state academics meet at the University of Texas in Austin May 3-4. Brady will be in Austin May 28-30 for the speech tournament.

Along with getting individual gold medals, the Vanovers really want to bring another state championship trophy to Slidell, as the state academic champions.

“UIL is always a big deal at Slidell,” Brady said. “While the individual medals are nice, we want to bring a title back to the school.”

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