Scholastic Games Archived radio high school quiz programs

March 30, 2021

08 News Release – Amherst Steele vs. Avon Lake

Filed under: — admin @ 4:48 pm


Contact: Jim Mehrling 440-234-6021


Avon Lake High was named the Scholastic Games champion school last year and Amherst’s Marion L. Steele High School, which produces a finalist academic team virtually every year, last won the radio program’s championship in 2015. However, both schools had losing scores in their first visits to the show this year, and a win is required to qualify for playoffs. Both teams responded to the “must win” situation by making this week’s broadcast the most competitive of the year, and possibly the longest in the program’s 30-year history.

Scholastic Games is a weekly quiz show presented Mondays at 6 p.m. on WEOL (AM 930/FM 100.3). Amherst’s final score of 270 to 260 is only the bottom line, because the contest, conducted via Zoom during the pandemic, saw the teams trading the lead, and then ending both of the final two rounds with tie scores, requiring a tie-breaking round that went for several minutes.

Representing Amherst were Lia Morrison, D.J. Theisen, and team captain John Perez-Strohmeyer, 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 judges and scorekeepers. The honor includes a $50 prize, which is presented at the end of the school year. The Avon Lake team consisted of Grace Osoteo, Cole Patton, and team captain Mutasem Al Muhtaseb.

Avon Lake took an early lead on the program. After the first round, questions with “E” answers (from Edison to Elba), the team led with a score of 50 to 30. The Avon Lake came on strong in the Current Events round, which ended with a 90 to 70 lead for that team. The third round, which asked about “trios,” requiring three-part answers ranging from states of matter to the sisters in “Little Women.” Avon Lake increased its lead in this round to a score of 160 to 100, but Amherst would soon bounce back.

In the fourth round, 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, the series ends with a final clue worth ten points. For the first item, Osoteo quickly recognized music by Richard Rodgers, earning Avon Lake another 30 points. The first clue in the second item indicated a government agency established in 1958. Seeking 50 points, Avon Lake quickly answered the CIA, which was a wrong answer, yielding all additional clues to Amherst, which identified NASA following the second clue for 40. Neither team responded to clues about Maria Theresa and clues about the Balkan peninsula yielded two incorrect answers.

Then on the final item. Amherst scored 50 points and tied the score. It was a bizarre moment that ultimately won the contest. The 50-point clue to the state of Kentucky was the somewhat obscure fact that it was first established in a town called Harrodburg. Perez-Strohmeyer, responded to answer, ready to answer Pennsylvania because he thought he heard “Harrisburg.” When the moderator said the name again, he knew it was a wrong answer, so he guessed Kentucky. It was correct, the team earned 50 points, and no one was more surprised.

That ended the fourth round with a 190 to 190 tie score. The final round, over nine minutes of 10 point questions, which when answered correctly, earn a team a 20-point bonus question. Oddly enough, when the final bell sounded, both teams had scored exactly the same number of points. That meant a tie at the end of five rounds, which happens something like once every two or three years.

In thirty non-pandemic years, the program used a “sudden death overtime,” in which the first team to buzz in with a correct answer wins, but with no buzzers this year an entirely new format had to be devised. Six questions were asked, three to each team, and the tie remained. Four more, and finally Amherst had one more correct answer and was declared the winner. In five weeks, Amherst will return to the program in the third of the quarterfinals, which lead up to the championship in May.

Academic teams are all under the supervision of faculty advisors. Advisor for the Amherst Steele team is Alexander Baldwin, and the advisor for the Avon Lake team is Ryan Smylie. 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 additional 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, and 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.

Here is the upcoming schedule as determined so far, with programs running between 6 and 7 p.m. on Mondays, to be followed by playoff rounds.

3/22 Returning teams: Midview vs. Oberlin

3/29 Returning teams: Keystone vs. Avon

4/6 (Tuesday) through May: Playoffs & Championship

Programs, normally Mondays, in some weeks will move to Tuesday, same time, because of live sports coverage by WEOL.

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.



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