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News Release 11 Amherst vs. Avon Lake


4/8/19 CONTACT: Jim Mehrling (


On the Scholastic Games radio quiz, a weekly program which spotlights academic teams from Lorain County high schools, Avon Lake succeeded in advancing to the show’s quarterfinals with a 460 to 200 win over Amherst Marion L. Steele High School.

McNeill, left, is congratulated by program host Jim Mehrling

Representing Avon Lake on Monday’s broadcast on WEOL (AM 930) were Natalie Miller, Irwin Deng, and team captain Connor NcNeill, who won the program’s “Standout Scholar Award,” a $50 prize given to the student judged to have contributed the most to his or her team.

Representing Steele were Devin Harmych, Sam Gargasz, and team captain Gabby Krugman, a “Standout” winner in the team’s last appearance on the program. This was a unique “wildcard playoff” pitting the highest-scoring losing team against the lowest-scoring winning team. In March, Avon Lake had been defeated by defending champion Olmsted Falls High School, but lost with 330 points, a higher total than many of the program’s winning scores. Amherst Steele won in their first visit to the program, but the team’s winning score was under 300 points.

The initial round on Monday’s program saw Avon Lake take an early lead, but Amherst aced the often-challenging Current Events Round and tied the score. The third round is the first in which buzzers are used, usually giving an advantage to a team with quicker answers, which was truly the case as Avon Lake more than doubled its score, proving to be an insurmountable lead over the team’s opponents.

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.   Avon Lake scored with three of the five answers, Deng with 70 points. Harmych scored 30 for Amherst, answering to clues about ancient Sparta after an incorrect early buzz when Avon Lake answered Athens. The team continued with its scoring advantage in the final round.

The Avon Lake team will return in two weeks to compete in the fourth quarterfinal against Lorain’s Clearview High School, the other wildcard winner. In next week’s quarterfinal defending champs Olmsted Falls will face Elyria High School, the year’s second-highest-scoring winning team. The season will end with the Scholastic Games 29th annual county academic championship in May. The program, sponsored by the Educational Service Center of Lorain County with foundation support, will continue to be heard on Monday or Tuesday evenings (6:05 to 7 p.m.) with two schools in competition each week. The schedule is below.

Upcoming programs, to be broadcast on Mondays (sometimes rescheduled to Tuesday) :

4/15 Quarterfinal: Elyria vs. Olmsted Falls

4/22 Quarterfinal: Avon Lake vs. Clearview

4/29 Special Final-Four Preview Highlights Program

5/6   Semifinal : Avon vs. Lake Ridge Academy

5/13 Semifinal: Avon Lake OR Clearview vs. Elyria OR Olmsted Falls


The teams are guided by faculty advisors, Ryan Smylie for the Avon Lake team, and Mitch Gillam and Beth Gillam are co-advisors for the Amherst Steele team. Continuing a 28-year tradition, each participating school will be assigned a $1000 tuition credit to be given to a deserving student that will attend an Ohio college or university. Many additional credits are awarded to schools as they compete and win in playoffs. Contributing institutions include Lorain County Community, 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, and will offer the programs as “podcasts.”

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. Again this year, most Scholastic Games programs will be followed by a talk feature, “Dialogues in Education,” which presents education success stories with its host, award-winning journalist Bob Tayek.