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Scholastic Games 2012 #16 Championship – Firelands vs. Olmsted Falls

May 22nd, 2012 by admin


It’s down to the last two teams as season twenty-three draws to a close.  Olmsted Falls High School hopes to become the third school in the broadcast’s history to win the county championship in two consecutive years as Firelands aspires to its first championship.   Both schools are returning the strong teams that have brought them to this point.

Olmsted Falls was again represented by Brad Sevcik, team captain Sohan Vartak,  and Marty Mendenhall, Firelands by  Kevin Harris, Terry Long, and team captain Jake Westfall.  Both Mendenhall and Westfall are three-time “Standout Scholar” award  winners, an honor  designated each week by advisors and scorekeepers to the student judged to have contributed the most to his or her team.

It was a fast-moving competition with some surprises.  Listen by clicking above, or read on for a description of the outcome.

It was a final score of Olmsted Falls 520, Firelands 310, retaining the top honors for a seemingly invincible team.   Falls, which had set a high-scoring record (770 points) earlier in the season, was kept well below that mark by the strong panel of students from Firelands, but they still managed to score a decisive victory.  Olmsted’s Mendenhall was awarded his fourth “Standout Scholar” award  on the program.  Vartak and Mendenhall were both on the school’s championship-winning team in 2011.   Thirteen different schools have won the championship in the history of the radio program, but previously only Vermilion High School (in 2007 and 2008) and Elyria (in 1992 , 1993 and 1994) have won in consecutive years.

As in their semifinal last week, the Firelands team paced Olmsted Falls with a perfect score in the first round.  Olmsted, by “luck of the draw,” scored with the “plus points” question in that round, giving them a slim 60-50 point lead entering round two.  The second round, drawn from current events, is often challenging for students, and this time it gave Olmsted Falls the dubious distinction of becoming the only team to win a championship without correctly answering a single current events question!   They more than made up for it later, obviously, but it gave Firelands a 70 to 60 point lead at that point.  Astronomy was the focus of the third round, the first in which buzzers give the advantage to the quicker team.  Both teams scored well on questions about the planets, with a slight edge returning the lead to Olmsted Falls.

Quickness backfired at the opening of the “Historical Round,” which provides clues of decreasing difficulty, allowing teams to score up to 50 points for each answer.  The first 50-point clue described something announced in a speech after World War II.  Mendenhall buzzed in for Olmsted with “The Marshall Plan” and eliminated the team because the answer was “The Truman Doctrine.”  Firelands did not score on it, however, and Mendenhall hit with the four remaining items, scoring 40 for “The Long March” in China, 30 for identifying James Fenimore Cooper from the naming of his first novel, “The Pilot,” and another 30 points for answering “Havana” because he “remembered the Maine.”

Firelands performed admirably in the final round of questions as both teams scored over 200 points, but the fourth round had given Olmsted a 250 to 110 lead, and they outscored their opponents in the final round as well, leading to a strong margin of victory.  Each team heard on the program is coached by a faculty advisor.  The advisor for Olmsted Falls is Ms. Rhonna SmithMs. Kelly Miller is advisor to the Firelands team.

A key feature of the program is the tuition award program sponsored this year by eleven area colleges and universities.  Each participating school will receive a $500 credit to be given to a deserving student from an area institution, and many additional credits will be awarded to schools as they win and compete in playoffs.  A total of $4000 in such awards is designated to the championship winner, with $3500 provided to the runner-up school. 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.  Over the years more than $400,000 in such credits have been designated.

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, and several funds administered by the Community Foundation of Lorain County (Del Lumber Fund, The Maria and Ruben Escuro Family Fund, the Nelson Stud Welding Fund and the Beth K. Stocker Fund).  The Elyria Ramada, previously the Inn of Elyria, is providing recording venues for a seventeenth season.

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