Burlington HS wins Vermont-NEA Scholars’ Bowl

Courtesy of Vermont NEA Scholars Bowl


BURLINGTON – Burlington High School claimed the state high school academic competition championship on Saturday March 26, prevailing in the final rounds of the Vermont-NEA Scholars’ Bowl at the University of Vermont.

Burlington fended off Middlebury Union High School, 360-290, in the title match of the question-and-answer competition to cap an unprecedented season that saw BHS finish first in all 10 local tournaments it entered. It was Burlington’s fifth state championship overall but its first since claiming the last of three straight titles in 2001.

Seniors Sterling Ford, Oscar Smith, Bobby Treadwell and Ben Hunt and sophomores Mary Markley and Audrey Nichols were the competing students for Burlington, which earns an all-expenses-paid trip to represent Vermont at the NAQT National Championship Tournament in Dallas on Memorial Day weekend.

Burlington quickly opened up a 175-30 lead in the title game, and the Seahorses maintained a 220-95 edge heading into the last of the match’s three rounds. Middlebury mounted a strong comeback – twice drawing within 60 points in the last few minutes – but Burlington held on behind Ford’s strong play.

Middlebury’s runner-up finish capped an excellent performance that saw the Tigers surge from the Medlar Cup – the tournament’s second-chance competition – by winning five consecutive matches. The Tigers rolled to the Medlar Cup title with big wins over Mt. Abraham, North Country and Essex before outlasting Hanover in the quarterfinals and Mt. Mansfield in the semifinals to reach the state final for the first time since winning the title in 2006.

Champlain Valley was the other semifinalist, nipping Rice in the quarterfinals before falling to Burlington, 470-305, in the semis.

The Scholars’ Bowl is a school year-long competition that features regional tournaments in the fall and playoffs after the new year. Saturday’s 13 participants qualified by winning at least three of their five matches on the first day of the playoffs on January 30.

Burlington swept three of the regional Scholars’ Bowl tournaments and finished first in the first-round playoffs en route to a 22-0 state tournament record. The Seahorses also won five other local single-day tournaments – the Sue Pasco Opening Tournament, the Great Halloween States Tournament, the Pre-Holiday Academic Tournament, the Vermont History Bowl and the Vermont NAQT Championship – this season and finished second in a competition at the Advanced Math and Science Academy in Marlboro, Mass.

The Vermont Chapter of the National Education Association sponsors the Scholars’ Bowl, which has been testing the state’s brightest high school students since the 1983-84 school year. To find out more about our organization, visit our website at www.scholarsbowl.org.

All the scores from Saturday’s finals

Medlar Cup quarterfinals
North Country 335, BFA-Fairfax 210
Middlebury 555, Mt. Abraham 155
South Burlington 380, Spaulding 165
Essex 405, Burr and Burton 110

Medlar Cup semifinals
Essex 335, South Burlington 270
Middlebury 435, North Country 170

Medlar Cup final
Middlebury 440, Essex 235

Overall quarterfinals
Middlebury 310, Hanover 255
Champlain Valley 315, Rice 275
Mt. Mansfield 375, Essex 250

Overall semifinals
Burlington 470, Champlain Valley 305
Middlebury 360, Mt. Mansfield 315

Burlington 360, Middlebury 290