Vermont-NEA Scholars' Bowl

2016-2017 finals press release

Essex High School coach David Rome and his team (standing from left) Grace Lu, Nathan Wu, Henry Wu, Sam Feehan, Alex He and (kneeling) Nick Norton pose after they defeated Hanover, 415-355, to win the Vermont-NEA Scholars' Bowl championship at the University of Vermont on March 24th.

Essex High School Earns Second Straight Vermont-NEA Scholars' Bowl Championship

BURLINGTON -- Essex High School claimed its second consecutive state high school academic competition championship on Saturday, March 24th, prevailing in the final rounds of the Vermont-NEA Scholars' Bowl at the University of Vermont.

In a dramatic state final that featured 13 lead changes, Essex mounted a decisive run midway through the last round to secure a 415-355 victory over Hanover. It gave EHS its record eighth state title, including five in the last six years.

Seniors Nick Norton, Alex He and Sam Feehan, junior Grace Lu, and freshmen Henry Wu and Nathan Wu were the participating students for Essex, which earns an all-expenses-paid trip to represent Vermont at the PACE National Scholastics Championship in the Washington DC suburbs in June. Essex is coached by David Rome.

Hanover got off to a fast start in the championship match, building a lead of 85-30 in the opening minutes, before Essex scored the next five questions to take a 125-120 edge at the end of the first of three rounds of competition. The teams then traded 50-point showings in the lightning round, leaving Essex up 175-170 entering the last nine minutes. The teams went back and forth to start the final round, exchanging the lead nine times in the space of 11 questions, before a spurt pushed Hanover in front 290-265 at about the halfway point. But Essex responded by answering 10 of the next 11 questions in a 100 to -10 run to take command. Hanover got no closer than 375-330 thereafter.

The title game capped an exciting last day of competition that saw six of the 13 matches decided by 60 points or fewer. The closest matches of the day saw South Burlington outlast Burr Burton, 323-322, in an overtime thriller in the opening round and Champlain Valley rally in the closing seconds for a 355-350 victory over Burlington in the quarterfinals.

Essex got to the final by rolling past Lyndon in the quarterfinals and pulling away from Middlebury, 470-340, in the semifinals. Hanover rode a fast start to a 440-315 win over CVU in the other semifinal.

Middlebury got to the semifinals by winning four matches on the day, defeating Mt. Abraham, Montpelier and Lyndon to capture the the Medlar Cup -- the tournament's second-chance competition. The Tigers then knocked off Mt. Mansfield, 330-270, in the quarterfinals before its losst to Essex.

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 27th.

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

All the scores from Saturday's finals:

Medlar Cup quarterfinals
Montpelier 325, BFA-St. Albans 275
Middlebury 400, Mt. Abraham 115
South Burlington 323, Burr and Burton 322 (overtime)
Lyndon 310, Woodstock 270

Medlar Cup semifinals
Middlebury 405, Montpelier 270
Lyndon 235, South Burlington 205

Medlar Cup final
Middlebury 495, Lyndon 130

Overall quarterfinals
Champlain Valley 355, Burlington 350
Middlebury 330, Mt. Mansfield 270
Essex 455, Lyndon 120

Overall semifinals
Hanover 440, Champlain Valley 315
Essex 470, Middlebury 340

State Championship
Essex 415, Hanover 355

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