Avon High Defeats Lake Ridge Academy in Scholastic Games Semifinal

The Scholastic Games radio quiz, a weekly program featuring academic teams from Lorain County high schools, has only two remaining competitions following its Monday broadcast. The quiz team from Avon High School scored a 360 to 270 victory over Lake Ridge Academy to become the first school to place in the annual championship, to be broadcast on May 20. The teams were close in score through most of the contest, and Lake Ridge had the lead at the midpoint in the quiz.

Representing Avon were Jacob Boesger, Connor Smith, and team captain Alex Stamatis, who won for a second time this season the program’s “Standout Scholar Award,” a $50 prize given to the student judged to have contributed the most to his or her team. In the three years Stamatis has been part of his school’s academic team, this was the seventh time he has won “Standout” honors, one short of the program’s all-time record which has been achieved by only two students in the program’s twenty-eight years.

Representing Lake Ridge Academy were Sparsh Balabadrapatruni, John Harrington, and team captain Ryan Rosu, a two-time “Standout” winner. Avon started stongly in the first round of questions with a perfect score of 60, including the random-placed “plus points” question to Lake Ridge’s 30. Lake Ridge outscored Avon in a challenging Current Events round, narrowing Avon’s lead to only ten points, but Avon bounced back in the first of the “buzzer rounds,” which give an advantage to the quicker team. After that third round Avon led by a score of 160 to 90.

The fourth round was Lake Ridge Academy’s turn to bounce back. It is a multi-clue series in which a correct answer to a first clue yields fifty points, with diminishing point values for additional clues, ending with a final clue worth ten points. On the very first item, Avon buzzed in on the 50-point clue with an incorrect answer. Lake Ridge eventually scored on the 20-point clue. Then on the second item Lake Ridge’s Rosu buzzed in on the first clue and scored 50 points, naming Martin Luther after hearing only the city and date of his birth.

At this point Lake Ridge tied the score for the first time, but Avon’s Stamatis bounced back with a 40-point score, naming Franklin Roosevelt after description of his early career up to when he was President Wilson’s Secretary of the Navy. Stamatis buzzed in for 40 points on the next item when he knew an almanac was being described. He answered the Farmers’ Almanac, which was incorrect, at which point Rosu jumped in for 40 points by naming Poor Richard’s Almanac, which was the correct answer. That tied the score again, but Stamatis identified Thailand for 20 points on the last item, so the teams entered the final round with Avon maintaining a slim 20-point lead.

Unfortunately for Lake Ridge, the team was significantly outscored by Avon in the lightning-fast final round, giving Avon the nod for advancement. Both teams were exceptional performers, however, ably guided by faculty advisors, Mr. Todd Sayers for the Avon team and Mr. Justin Schaefer for Lake Ridge Academy.

Next week will be the second semifinal in which Avon Lake will face Elyria High School. Interestingly, both teams faced the 2018 championship winning school, Olmsted Falls High, earlier this season. Avon Lake lost to Falls, but with the highest losing score of the year, which made it a wildcard team with a second chance at the playoffs, which it followed with two high-scoring victories. Elyria, which shares with Olmsted Falls the distinction of having won a record five Scholastic Games championships, defeated the team in the quarterfinals, and has high hopes of having a chance at another championship. Next week’s program will be broadcast Monday, May 13, at 6:06 p.m. and the championship will be the following Monday at 5 p.m.

Continuing a 28-year tradition, each participating school has been assigned a $1000 tuition credit to be given to a deserving student that will attend an Ohio college or university. Many additional credits continue to be awarded to schools as they compete and win in playoffs. Contributing institutions include Lorain County Community College, Baldwin Wallace University, Oberlin College, Ursuline College, Ashland University, Case Western Reserve, Heidelberg, John Carroll, Lake Erie College, Notre Dame College of Ohio, the University of Findlay, and Tiffin University, 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 charter sponsor, the Nordson Corporation, the Nord Family Foundation, the Community West Foundation, and the following funds administered by the Community Foundation of Lorain County: the William J. and Flora Hearn Durling Fund, the Dorothy and Elizabeth King Memorial Charitable Fund, the Ridge Tool Company Fund, and the Bowers Family Fund. The Elyria Hampton Inn and Suites provided the recording venue for Monday’s program and following broadcast, weol.com and standoutscholars.com will offer the programs as “podcasts.” In addition, most Scholastic Games programs are followed by a talk feature, “Dialogues in Education,” which presents education success stories with its host, award-winning journalist Bob Tayek.

A member of the Broadcasters Hall of Fame of Akron and Cleveland, the program’s producer, Jim Mehrling, is a veteran northeast Ohio broadcaster. After seven years as Chief Announcer at WEOL, he was Production Manager at Cleveland’s WERE-AM for over a decade, and has for over twenty years been with Cleveland’s WCLV-FM, a part of the Ideastream public broadcasting organization. He was recently honored with a 2019 Presidents’ Award from the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters.

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