North Ridgeville High School’s academic team defeated Brookside High of Sheffield Village in the second of the quarterfinal eliminations on the Scholastic Games, the weekly quiz competition between Lorain County high schools. The program is heard Mondays, from 6-7 p.m., on WEOL (AM930 and FM 100.3). The shows are archived on the internet after broadcast. The Ridgeville team maintained a lead throughout the five rounds of questions, ending with a 300 to 170 final score.
Representing North Ridgeville were Alex Wood, Chris Stanulet, and team captain Vincent Kafer, who earned his second Standout Scholar Award. Each of these weekly honors includes a $50 prize, and is presented to the student who contributed the most to his or her team according to a vote of judges and scorekeepers. The Brookside team consisted of Nico Morello, Chase Holm, and team captain Kassie Brooks, who is a three-time Standout winner, two on this year’s programs and one in 2020.
The first round of questions were answered with “B” words and names ranging from Borneo to the element boron, and it ended with a 60 to 40 lead for the Ridgeville team. Brookside outperformed in the Current Events Round, narrowing the Ridgeville lead to only ten points. Third was the “Theme Round” which happened to focus on military leaders from Napoleon to Custer. It was also the first round in which questions unanswered, or answered incorrectly, were offered to the opposing team. North Ridgeville increased its lead in this round, ending it with a 160 to 110 lead.
The fourth round is often decisive, and that was particularly the case this time. 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. The first clues concerned the Pilgrims. At the fourth clue, Brookside’s Brooks scored the first 20 points.
After that, Kafer earned his Standout status with four straight answers scorring for North Ridgeville: 20 points for identifying Ohio’s Franklin County, 30 from clues about Justice Thurgood Marshall, 40 from an early clue about a Communist movement to name the Long March, and finally 20 points when he named General George Patton after nearing the nickname “Old Blood and Guts.” Those answers brought North Ridgeville a 270 to 130 lead at the end of Round Four.
The Brookside team actually outscored its opponents in the final round, but only by ten points, resulting in a solid victory for North Ridgeville. Academic teams are all under the supervision of faculty advisors, who deserve a lot of credit for their dedication to team preparation, particularly when those teams reach the playoff level. Advisor for the North Ridgeville team is William Majcher, and the advisor for Brookside is Lisa Rutger.
With this week’s win, North Ridgeville joins Avon in advancing to the semifinal level, the final step prior to the show’s 31st annual county championship. North Ridgeville has won the Scholastic Games championship twice, Avon four times the the program’s thirty year history. The record for any individual school, shared by Elyria and Olmsted Falls, is five. Remaining broadcasts on WEOL (Mondays, 6-7 p.m. on AM930 and FM 100.3) are listed with broadcast dates in the schedule below:
- April 19th – Amherst Steele vs. Olmsted Falls
- April 26th – Lake Ridge Academy vs. Oberlin
- May 3rd – A rebroadcast of semifinalists Amherst and Lake Ridge from earlier this year: Will they meet again in the championship?
- May 10th – SEMIFINAL: North Ridgeville vs. Apr. 26 winner
- May 17th – SEMIFINAL: Avon vs. Apr. 19 winner
- May 24th – Championship
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.
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), and 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.