In a tour de force display of programming skill and teamwork, the Melissa Cardinals UIL Computer Science team dominated the UIL Regionals competition.

The Cardinals swept the field, finishing 1-2-3 in the individual programming contest.

In the team event that followed, the Cards extended their lead over the rest of Class 3A, Region 2. As a team, Melissa finished more than 300 points ahead of its nearest competitor.

"The problems they solve — both individually and as a team — are very challenging," said MHS Computer Science teacher and UIL coach Glenn Whitten. "The time limits increase the pressure. They’ve focused on going to State from the first day of school and they took no prisoners… Their hard work has really paid off."

This is the first UIL Academic team from Melissa in any category to win a regional championship. In addition to the Cardinals’ team qualifying for the state hands-on programming competition, Christian Leithner (1s place), Brandon Sides (2nd) and Clay Brayley (3rd) qualified individually for the State UIL Computer Science contest in Austin. Ben Spicer rounds out the four-person team that will compete to become state champions.

The state event will be held on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin on May 21.

In addition to bragging rights and a trip to Austin, there other benefits. By virtue of qualifying for the state contest, senior members of the team are eligible to apply for a $3,750 scholarship from the Louise P. and Joe B. Cook Memorial Scholarship Fund through the Texas Interscholastic League Foundation.