2014 Scholastic Games
The Lorain County Scholastic Games are a weekly quiz show featuring teams
from Lorain County high schools, produced and hosted by Jim Mehrling.
Mondays* from 6:05 to 7pm – January 28th through May 20th.
The Scholastic Games are presented by the Elyria Public Library System.
OLMSTED FALLS HIGH SCHOOL WINS FOURTH CONSECUTIVE ACADEMIC QUIZ CHAMPIONSHIP ON WEOL RADIO’S SCHOLASTIC GAMES
Congratulations Olmsted Falls!
Monday evening on the Scholastic Games of Lorain County radio broadcast Olmsted Falls High School achieved an unprecedented fourth consecutive academic championship, with a 470 to 310 defeat of Amherst’s Marion L. Steele High School. The weekly high school quiz program on WEOL radio (AM 930) completed its twenty-fourth season with a come-from-behind victory that capped the most challenging succession of competitions for a victorious Olmsted Falls team. The win breaks a consecutive-year record that was set by Elyria High School in the 1990s.
Exceptional students were on both teams. Olmsted Falls was represented by Zach Buchta, team captain Andy Nageotte, and Xavier Rivera on each of the school’s four visits to the broadcast this year. On this program, Nageotte was named the program’s “Standout Scholar,” an honor which includes a $50 prize for the student judged to have contributed the most to his or her team. It is his second such award this year. Rivera was awarded the honor following the team’s semifinal contest which aired two weeks ago.
The Amherst Steele team, which had the lead or a tie score following all but the final round, was likewise represented by the same students in each appearance this year. Steele’s team consisted of captain Stephen Sekoulopoulos, Matt Cecil, and Chad Johnson. Johnson, in his previous appearances with the team, won the Standout Scholar Award three times, more than any other student in competition this year.
The first round of competition ended in a tie. The challenging Current Events Round advanced Steele to a 80 to 40 lead. In the third round, the buzzers came into use to give an advantage to those with quicker answers. It was a difficult round based on knowledge of characters in Dickens novels, and Nageotte scored enough points to tie the score again as the teams entered the fourth round. That round features sequences of clues for each answer. A correct response after the first clue to a item can earn 50 points, but after a fifth clue only ten points are earned.
Amherst scored 40 on the first item, recapturing the lead as Sekoulopoulos identified Louis Pasteur from a mention of the scientist’s contributions to stereo chemestry. Both teams were stumped by clues describing Czech writer and statesman Vaclav Havel and, surprising, by clues describing Lake Erie. The teams buzzed nearly simultaneously to identify the nation of Bangladesh for 50 points. Amherst’s Johnson was a split second ahead to increase the team’s lead with a correct answer. Falls’ sole score in the round was a 30-point answer from Nageotte, as he identified Thurgood Marshall from descriptions of his youth and Harvard degree (prior to clues mentioning the NAACP or the Supreme Court).
Entering the final round it was a 190 to 130 point lead for Amherst Steele, but what followed was another amazing explosion of scoring by Olmsted Falls in the final round: 340 points, close to triple the scoring of their opponents, and higher than many winning scores on complete Scholastic Games programs. Quickness with the buzzers was their technique, which was fortunately flawed by a minimum of incorrect answers (which result in lost points in the final round). It made for a dramatic comeback which brought about their unprecedented string of championships.
16 teams were featured on the broadcasts this year, all guided by faculty advisors. Ms. Rhonna Smith has guided Olmsted Falls through its years of triumph with various panels of students, with the help of assistant advisor Joe Galea. Ms. Theresa Szczepanik is the advisor for Amherst Steele, the highly successful team that kept Falls on their toes for five suspenseful rounds of questions in the final broadcast.
It was the most challenging year for Falls on Scholastic Games. In its first appearance, the team defeated Avon High School by only 10 points after entering the final round with a 50-point deficit. Following a clear victory over Keystone at the quarterfinal level was a very competitive semifinal against Lake Ridge Academy in which their lightning-fast buzzing in the final round was nearly equaled by their competitors. The championship was a hard-won series of competitions that brought out the best in several of the opposing schools, but the win was much deserved.
Scholastic Games, on WEOL radio since 1990, is produced for the Educational Service Center of Lorain County. It is presented on the station by the Elyria Public Library System which has provided recording venues for this year’s playoffs. Production is made possible by funding from the Nordson Corporation Foundation, the Nord Family Foundation, and the Alfred T. Askew Fund, administered by the Community Foundation of Lorain County. Following broadcast, weol.com and standoutscholars.com offer the programs as “podcasts.”
Now a 24-year tradition, each participating school will receive a $500 credit to be given to a deserving student from an area college or university. Semifinalist schools each receive $2000 in additional credits and a like amount is awarded at the championship. 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, most of which have participated in this program for a number of years.
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 nineteenth 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.