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Smithsburg High wins Academic Team Championship

April 07, 2001

Smithsburg High wins Academic Team Championship



By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Smithsburg High School showed its academic strength Saturday with a commanding win in the sixth annual Academic Team Championship.

The school defeated the seven other Washington County high schools by 200 points. The contest was held in Kepler Theater at Hagers-town Community College.

"I thought we were pretty good," said Alan Brinser, a senior at Smithsburg.

The runners-up were South Hagerstown High School with 90 points and Boonsboro High School's Team A with 50 points.

Hancock Middle-Senior High School scored the most points for the school that didn't make it to the final rounds.

All of the schools except Boonsboro High School entered one team in the competition. Boonsboro entered two, Team A and Team B. With three rounds of competition and only eight county high schools, Boonsboro won the draw and was allowed to enter two teams for a full compliment of nine.

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The teams, which consisted of three members each, competed in five areas: math, science, social studies, English and current events.

Each school answered 10 questions in a row in the first round, but then had to be the first to buzz in in rounds 2 and 3. The questions were worth 10 to 20 points. Teams were permitted to have alternate members.

The schools vied for more than $2,000 in scholarships donated by Hagerstown Trust, according to a press release from the Washington County Board of Education.

The Williamsport Academic Boosters coordinated the event.

Bob Smiles, master of ceremonies, said the students began preparing for the competition at the beginning of the school year by holding practice contests and watching "Jeopardy!" on television. He said the students also got tips by watching Herald-Mail copy editor Bob Fleenor become a five-time champion on the show.

"I'm sure he's a hero to some of these kids," Smiles said.

Smiles is also a Spanish teacher at South Hagerstown High School.

Brinser, who was part of Smithsburg's academic team for three years, said his past experiences made him more at ease in the competition this year. He said he remembered some of the questions from practice and from last year's competition.

"I was more nervous last year," Brinser said. "We had some competition, but with Goretti gone I was assuming we would do pretty well."

Brinser said Saint Maria Goretti High School won the competition last year. Goretti didn't enter this year.

Senior Emily Larue, another member of the Smithsburg High School team, said they called themselves "The Smart Squad."

Brinser and Larue were joined by senior Ryan Williams on the winning team. Alternates were seniors Trisha Mitchell, Sherri Slayman and Josh Neumann.

South Hagerstown's team consisted of juniors Aaron Michael and Justin Warner and senior Rebecca Sodergren. Other members were juniors James Koebel and Elizabeth Thammasuvimol.

The members of Boonsboro's team were seniors Ben Keller, Kourtney Lowery and Richard Windle. Alternates were senior Ian Hook and Alan Johnson.

Hancock's team consisted of seniors Allen Murphy and Chris Dobranski, junior Derek Yost and sophomore Ashley Powers.

"They all did a wonderful job," said Donna Chesno, the board's coordinator of advanced programs.

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