Posted On: Friday, April 16, 2010

Left: Team members (from left) Luke DeBaltzo, Hugh Campbell, , Hannah Jackosky, Luke DeBaltzo and advisers Mary Kay Ryan (left) and Ginny Mazurak.

In a dramatic come-from-behind fashion, the Harding Classroom of Champions team won the Finals of the Academic Challenge-style tournament held at St. Edward High School on April 14. The Harding team of 8th graders Hugh Campbell, Luke DeBaltzo and Eli Zettler were trailing the leaders by 80 points headed into the final round but pulled out a victory against St. Christopher of Rocky River and Incarnate Word Academy of Parma Heights. The final score was Harding, 375; St. Chris 335; and Incarnate Word 235.

The scholastic competition, hosted each year by St. Edward, is in its 21st season and draws 21 teams of 7th and 8th graders from across Northeast Ohio. The teams compete in first-round competitions and then the three top-scoring teams advance to the Finals. Harding’s team was the highest scoring team from the early rounds and one of only two teams – the other being from the former Emerson Middle School – in the history of the tournament to score more than 700 points.

“The question was challenging, but we were well-prepared,” said team member Hugh Campbell.

The contest features questions from across all academic fields including history, literature, math, science and also includes cultural and current event questions. The team, which also included alternates Hannah Jackosky, Sarah Neff and Max Mulready, who participated in the first-round competition, practiced all school year at lunch two times a week under the guidance of coaches Ginny Mazurak and Mary Kay Ryan.

The team’s victory earned them a large trophy cup for Harding to display until next year’s winner takes it home. Congratulations to the newest Classroom of Champions!

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