Vermont-NEA Scholars' Bowl

2005 State Tournament Final Four

St. Johnsbury claims Scholars' Bowl state championship

BURLINGTON -- After 11 years, St. Johnsbury Academy is back atop the pack in Vermont's high school academic competition.

St. Johnsbury built an early lead and held on to capture the 22nd Vermont-NEA Scholars' Bowl title with a 295-220 victory over Champlain Valley Union High School on Saturday, April 2. The match was the culmination of the tournament's final four, held at Champlain College's Alumni Auditorium.

It was the Hilltoppers' first championship in the question-and-answer competition since 1994. St. Johnsbury, which also won the tournament in 1990, joins Burlington and Hanover (N.H.) high schools as the only three-time Vermont academic champions.

The strong performance also won the St. Johnsbury team a trip to DisneyWorld. As state champions, the Hilltoppers earned the right to represent Vermont in national competition at the Panasonic Academic Challenge. The national tournament is scheduled for June 18-21 at Disney's Contemporary Resort and Conference Center in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Members of the St. Johnsbury team are seniors Ben Raphel, Peter Golubock, Elias Pratt, Tom Dreisbach and Emily Lacroix and juniors Adrienne Raphel, Nathan Gair, Melissa Legge and Ian Bell. The team is coached by Judy Kelley and Sarah Callanan.

In Saturday's final, St. Johnsbury started quickly, building a lead of more than 100 points in the first of three rounds of competition and adding to it with a strong showing in the second round. The nine-minute final round was evenly played until CVU mounted a rally in the last four minutes, but the Hilltoppers held on for the 295-220 victory.

The match marked the third time in four years CVU has lost in the state final.

The tournament's semifinals were also held Saturday. In an exciting opener, CVU fought off two-time defending champion Hanover 325-300 in a back-and-forth game. St. Johnsbury earned its place in the final by steadily pulling away from 2004 runner-up Colchester High School for a 360-80 victory.

The Scholars' Bowl is an academic competition in which teams of high school students are awarded points for correctly answering rapid-response questions. Thirty-five Vermont schools took part this season.

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