The Scholastic Games radio quiz, a weekly program featuring academic teams from Lorain County high schools, ended its season with a tight competition between two exceptional teams, ending with a 420 to 290 victory for Avon High School over rival Avon Lake.
The teams were close in score with Avon Lake starting with a lead in the opening rounds of questions, but an explosive fourth round nearly assured Avon of victory.
Representing Avon were Jacob Boesger, Connor Smith, and team captain Alex Stamatis, who won his third “Standout Scholar Award” of the year, a $50 prize given to the student judged to have contributed the most to his or her team. In his three years on the academic team, this was the eighth such award for Stamatis, matching the program’s all-time record which was achieved only twice before in the program’s twenty-nine years.
Competing for the Avon Lake academic team were Natalie Miller, Irwin Deng, and team captain Connor McNeill, also a three-time “Standout” winner this year. Avon Lake ended the first round with a perfect 50 point score to Avon’s 40 and increased its lead to 20 points at the end of the Current Events Round. Things changed in the first of the “buzzer rounds,” which give an advantage to the quicker team. With rapid-fire answers to questions on the U.S. Constitution, Avon led after that third round by a score of 160 to 100.
The fourth round 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, Stamatis Avon scored for Avon on the 50-point clue, naming Charles DeGaulle after hearing only his birth date and that he had a “military and religious upbringing.” The second item was about Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin. Stamatis buzzed on an early clue naming Lister, an incorrect answer which directed all subsequent clues to the other team. That led to McNeill scoring 20 points for Avon Lake.
Avon Lake scored again when Miller identified the historic motion picture Birth of a Nation for 30 points after she heard a clue about its controversy, but the round was a scoring bonanza for Avon when the team scored an unprecedented two additional 50-point answers. Stamatis identified John Brown’s Raid after hearing only the date, and Smith identified Albert Einstein from a clue with only his place of birth and the fact that he did not speak until he was four years old.
Avon Lake entered the final round with over a 100 point deficit, not insurmountable considering that 220 points were scored in that round, a long succession of toss-up and bonus questions. In an unusual ending to the competition, these two teams were so well matched that each scored an identical 110 points, leaving Avon’s score advantage unchanged, giving that team the victory. So the season has ended with a contest between two teams, each of which was exceptional. A fair amount of credit is due to dedicated faculty advisors at both schools, Mr. Todd Sayers for the Avon team and Mr. Ryan Smylie for Avon Lake.
A 29-year tradition, each school that participated in Scholastic Games this year has been awarded at least one $1000 tuition credit to be given to a deserving student that will attend an Ohio college or university next year. Additional credits are awarded as teams compete and win in playoffs. Avon Lake was designated four such awards and Avon, as the championship winner, has been named to receive five. 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. Recording venues were supplied by the Elyria Public Library System and the Elyria Hampton Inn and Suites. Following broadcast, weol.com and standoutscholars.com offer all programs in the series 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. The final program featured interviews with the winning team.
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.