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Ocean Road Academic Bowl Team finishes second in annual competitionAcademic Bowl Team

Since originating in the mid- 20th century, academic quiz bowl competitions have become a popular and exciting means to test students’ knowledge in a wide variety of academic subjects. Modeled after early game shows, quiz bowls pit teams of students against one another to competitively answer questions from areas of knowledge that include history, literature, science, the arts, sports, current events and popular culture. Students from all grade levels compete in various quiz bowl competitions throughout the world.

Locally, students in grades 5 to 8 from Monmouth and Ocean Counties compete in the Goetz Academic Bowl, held at Jackson’s Goetz Middle School. The Jeopardy-style trivia contest has been challenging students’ knowledge for 25 years.

On May 24, teams of fifth through eighth graders from participating schools traveled to Goetz Middle School to take part in the 25th Annual Goetz Academic Bowl, competing for their grade’s title of Academic Bowl Champion.

The Fifth Grade Division consisted of 23 teams, who battled through three preliminary rounds, demonstrating their knowledge on everything from pop culture to math and science.

For approximately three hours, the teams slogged through the three rounds of the competition, pairing with a different school each round to alternate answering questions from the Bowl’s various categories. Like Jeopardy, players selected questions with incrementally increasing point-values, representing progressively more difficult questions. 

ORS Academic Bowl TeamAmong this year’s contestants, were six students from Ocean Road Elementary School- the members of the school’s Academic Bowl Team - and coach, Technology Teacher John Hogan, who guided his students to a second-place finish in the grueling competition. 

With 1070 points, the Ocean Road Elementary School Academic Bowl Team, comprised of fifth grade students, Shayne Lada Teofil Rapach, Aidan Danza, Adelaide Videon-Perino, Tyler Borack and Ethan Harrison surpassed 21 other teams, earning a spot in the playoff round against Matawan-Aberdeen’s Lloyd Road School, who finished the preliminary rounds just 10-points ahead at 1080 points.

The ensuing competition was fierce as the two teams battled through the final round.

“The playoff round was intense as the two teams squared off to decide the winner,” said Coach John Hogan. “Coming off the heels of a 420-220 loss to Lloyd Road School in the third round, our team knew they had to be at their best.  Lloyd Road School won the coin toss to start and was off to the races, piling up 50 pt. scores. Ocean Road kept up with them by dominating the World Capital and natural disaster categories. It was neck and neck to the finish with the last question going to our team.”

The Ocean Road team correctly answered the final question, resulting in the competition’s first ever tie score.

“There was a moment of confusion as the judges dealt with what was an unprecedented situation,” he said. “Finally, after consulting the rulebook, the judges ORS Academic Bowl Teamdecided that a final question would be asked, using a coin toss to determine who would answer. The Lloyd Road School won the coin toss and were, therefore, awarded a 10-point question, which they correctly answered to become the 2017 Academic Bowl victors!

“It was an exciting competition that really came down to an overtime coin toss,” he said. “Through all our preparations over the course of the year and throughout the competition, I was extremely proud of how our team supported one another and their display of sportsmanship during the Bowl.

Academic Bowl Team membership is determined by a trivia quiz administered to all fifth grade students at the start of the school year. Also considered is the students’ character and ability to work as part of a team. The students with the highest scores on the qualifying test and who meet the specified criteria are invited to join the Academic Bowl Team.

The team meets weekly after school to prepare for the Academic Bowl by playing Jeopardy and discussing their approach to the competition. They also participate in www.Thinkingcapquizbowl.com’s “America Answers: National 5th Grade Quiz Bowl Competition,” an online quiz bowl competition on which the team finished 15th in the nation out of 89 competing teams!

“Ocean Road Elementary School has a long history of participation in the Academic Bowl,” said Superintendent of Schools Vincent S. Smith. “The teams of students have historically performed quite well in the Bowl, regularly scoring among the top teams. I would like to commend the members of the Academic Bowl Team on their outstanding performance and thank them for representing the Point Pleasant Borough School District.”