Playoffs officially begin next week on the weekly radio competition between area academic teams, the High School Scholastic Games of Lorain County. The program, which airs most Mondays from 6:05 to 7 p.m. on WEOL, AM 930, will begin quarterfinals with the April 6th broadcast. The program of Monday, March 16th was the near-tie in which Avon Lake High School defeated Lake Ridge Academy270 to 260, a difference equivalent to one answer in five rounds of questions. The program is one of two this season to send both teams to playoff competitions because the losing scores were the highest, qualifying the teams as wildcards. The other program was the recent 500 to 240 victory of Olmsted Falls over Elyria, a qualifying score for Elyria in spite of the extraordinarily high score from the defending champions.
In the near-tie, Avon Lake was represented by Sophie Shabab, Alex Loar, and team captain Zack Brady. The runner-up Lake Ridge team consisted of Julia Bouzaher, Josh Lacoste, and team captain Rowena Kobrak. Kobrak, despite the team’s second-place finish, won the program’s “Standout Scholar” award. The honor, which includes a $50 cash prize, is based on a poll of judges and scorekeepers to determine the student who contributed the most to his or her team. The broadcast, now in its 25th season, is sponsored by the Educational Service Center of Lorain County with foundation support.
Lake Ridge led through most of the competition, scoring a perfect 50 in the first round to Avon Lake’s 30 points. The team’s lead increased to 90-50 following the Current Events round. In the third round, the first in which “buzzing in” gives an advantage to the quicker team, again Lake Ridge increased its lead.
The fourth round is a series of items in which each answer is preceded by a succession of clues. If a correct answer is given after the first clue, 50 points are scored, whereas the final clue yields only ten points for a correct answer. Clues about Ronald Reagan proved to be surprisingly difficult, yielding only 10 points to Lake Ridge. Loar and Brady scored 40 and 30 points respectively, identifying the Soviet Union and the FBI for Avon Lake, while Kobrak did all of Lake Ridge’s scoring for a total of 50, with 30 for the Dalai Lama and 10 for naming the city of Toronto. It was the first round in which Avon Lake scored more points, but Lake Ridge was still leading.
The rapid-fire final round changed the picture, however, when Avon Lake outscored their opponents 140 to 60 to tally a decisive win. Lake Ridge ended the match with the second-highest runner-up score of the year, so both teams will return to the program in the next two weeks.
After next week’s wildcard match between Elyria and Lake Ridge (which will determine the last of the quarterfinalists), Avon Lake will face Amherst Marion L. Steele High School in the first quarterfinal to be heard on April 6th. Remaining quarterfinalist teams are Avon High School, Elyria Catholic, and Firelands High in Oberlin. Eliminations continue until the championship in mid-May. Most programs are presented Monday evenings (6:05 to 7p.m.) with two schools in competition each week. The schedule of broadcasts is below.
Continuing a 24-year tradition, each participating school will receive a tuition credit to be given to a deserving student from an area college or university. The value of these credits is doubled this year to $1000 for each student recipient. Additional credits are awarded to schools as they compete and win in playoffs. Contributing institutions include Ashland University, Baldwin-Wallace, Case Western Reserve, Heidelberg, John Carroll, Lorain County Community, Notre Dame College of Ohio, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan, Tiffin University, and Ursuline College, many of which have participated in this program for a number of years.
Scholastic Games, on WEOL radio since 1990, is presented on the station by the Elyria Public Library System. Production of the program is made possible by funding from the Nordson Corporation Foundation, the Nord Family Foundation, the Community West Foundation, and the following funds administered by the Community Foundation of Lorain County: the Del Lumber Fund, the Maria and Ruben Escuro Family Fund, the Dr. Howard A. and Pearl L. Keiser Living Memorial Fund, the Bill Starbuck Fund, the Florencio and Lily Yuzon Fund, and the Stocker Foundation Fund.
The Elyria Public Library System and the Elyria Ramada provide recording venues, and following broadcast, weol.com and standoutscholars.com offer the programs as “podcasts.” The producer, Jim Mehrling, has been a northeast Ohio broadcaster since the 1970s when he was Chief Announcer at WEOL. After that he spent 13 years at Cleveland’s WERE-AM and is now in his twentieth year as Production Manager at Cleveland’s WCLV-FM, now a part of Ideastream public broadcasting. He is also a member of the Broadcasters Hall of Fame of Akron and Cleveland. Again this year, most programs are being followed by a talk feature, “Dialogues in Education,” highlighting education success stories and hosted by award-winning journalist Bob Tayek.
UPCOMING PROGRAMS ON WEOL (AM 930):
Mondays, 6:06 p.m. (occasionally live sports may modify day and/or time)
3/30 Wildcard competition: Elyria vs. Lake Ridge Academy
4/6 First Quarterfinal: Amherst Steele vs. Avon Lake
4/13 Second Quarterfinal: Olmsted Falls vs. 3/16 winner