Avon High School became the last designated quarterfinalist after emerging victorious with the second-highest winning score of the season this week, overcoming Keystone High School with a final score of 330 to 190. Playoffs begin with next week’s broadcast of the weekly local high school quiz show, Scholastic Games (Mondays 6-7 p.m. on WEOL AM930 and FM 100.3). The other quarterfinalists will be heard in programs over the next four weeks, with Avon returning in the first:
- April 6th – Avon vs. Clearview (delayed to Tuesday because of the Cleveland Indians opener);
- April 12th – Brookside vs. N. Ridgeville
- April 19th – Amherst Steele vs. Olmsted Falls
- April 26th – Lake Ridge Academy vs. Oberlin
This week’s broadcast saw Avon represented by team captain Sam Golik, Lindsay McKenna, and Liam McCarthy, who earned the program’s Standout Scholar Award, which is presented each week to the student who contributed the most to his or her team according to a vote of judges and scorekeepers. Each honor includes a $50 prize, which is presented at the end of the school year. The Keystone team consisted of Tristan Magel, NoahWeaver, and team captain Serena Owens.
After the first round of questions, with “A” answers ranging from alchemy to anhydrous, Keystone took an early lead, with a 40 to 20 score. Avon bounced back in the Current Events Round which ended with a slim 70 to 60 lead for the Avon team. This was followed by the theme round, the first in which the other team can answer a question that is unanswered or answered incorrectly by the team to which it is directed. The theme, “double O” with words and names ranging from coordinates to President Hoover and Doctor Doolittle, also ended in an edge for Avon, leaving that team with a 110 to 90 lead.
Avon scored its game-winning lead in the fourth round. In it, each of five answers can follow up to five clues. A correct answer to a first clue yields fifty points, with diminishing point values for additional clues. If still unanswered, each series ends with a final clue worth ten points. Clues about John Quincy Adams advanced to the final one which mentioned he was a president who was son of a president. At that point Avon responded first and won the ten points. Clues describing Lake Erie brought a Niagara Falls response from Avon and a later New York State response from Keystone, both incorrect, and clues about the Greek leader Pericles also stumped both teams. But Avon scored by identifying whales from a 50-point mention of ambergris, and another 50 points by naming Alberta as the Canadian prairie province described in the first clue, to claim a formidable 220 to 90 lead entering the final round.
The two teams turned in nearly identical performances in the final round with Keystone adding 100 points and Avon 110, retaining for Avon its solid win. Academic teams are all under the supervision of faculty advisors. Advisor for the Avon team is Todd Sayers, and the advisor for the Keystone High team is Tom Habenicht. Scholastic Games began in the fall of 1990 with the support of Nordson Corporation and has continued on radio station WEOL during every school year since. Operating under the auspices of the Community West Foundation, in addition to Nordson Corporation, the program has received support this year from the Alfred T. Askew Fund of the Community Foundation of Lorain County, and from the Nord Family Foundation. The Elyria Public Library System has been sponsoring the program on WEOL and providing venue space for program sessions for several years.
Following broadcast, weol.com and standoutscholars.com offer the programs as “podcasts,” which make the programs available on the World Wide Web. Through the years, all public and private high schools have been invited to compete. May’s academic championship will conclude the Scholastic Games’ 31st season. The programs will continue on Mondays through May 24th, with the exception of exceptions for live sports coverage by WEOL, such as Monday’s Indians opener.
Over the years, twelve different schools have won the championships, including Amherst Steele (1991, 2015), Elyria (1992, 93, 94, 97, 2000), Admiral King (1995, 1998), Oberlin (1996), North Ridgeville (1999, 2002), Avon Lake (2001, 05, 20), Midview (2003), Keystone (2004), Lake Ridge Acad. (2006, 10), Vermilion (2007, 08), Avon (2009, 16, 17,19), Olmsted Falls (2011, 12, 13, 14, 18).
Area colleges and universities participate by providing $1000 tuition credit awards for allocation by participating high schools. Participating for all or most of the program’s thirty-year history were Lorain County Community College, Oberlin College, Ursuline College, Ashland University, Baldwin Wallace University, Case Western Reserve, Heidelberg University, John Carroll University, with more recent additional awards from the University of Findlay, Lake Erie College, Tiffin University and Notre Dame College of Ohio.
A member of the Broadcasters Hall of Fame of Akron and Cleveland, the program’s host and 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 filled a similar role with Cleveland’s WCLV-FM for over 25 years. He is recipient of a 2019 President’s Award from the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters. Again this year, 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.