Vermont-NEA Scholars' Bowl

2004 Panasonic Academic Challenge

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After a two year absence, Team Vermont returned to the playoffs in national competition with an up-and-down but successful showing at the Panasonic Academic Challenge, held June 20-22 at Disney's Contemporary Resort and Conference Center.

The team -- four players from state champions Hanover (N.H.) High School reinforced by a pair of top seniors -- set the Vermont record for points in a match and ended up with a 14th-place finish against a series of fierce opponents.

Vermont struggled early in its opening-round match, and facing a pair of strong opponents from the District of Columbia and Kentucky, was out of contention by midway through the second round. However, strong play late in the second and third rounds helped pull out a respectable total of 159 points and a third-place finish, ahead of team Wyoming.

The draw was much more favorable in the elimination round as Vermont faced all-star teams from Washington and Iowa and Blackfoot High School from Idaho. The game quickly shaped up as a two-way battle as Washington's accurate play helped overcome the Green Mountain State's speed on the buzzer. Washington overcame a 59-point deficit for a 237-221 advantage with eight questions left, but Vermont had five right answers down the stretch, including the final three in a row, to pull out the victory. The team's 312 points marked the first time a Vermont team has scored over 300 in the tournament.

That sent Team Vermont into the semifinal round for the fourth time, needing only to finish second out of four teams to reach hte national championship game. However, Vermont never got on track in the question rounds, and despite strong team-round scores, had to settle for fourth place in the room.

Representing Vermont were: seniors Niall Prendergast (Hanover), Evan Gardner (Hanover), Jack McClintock (Essex) and Alan West (Colchester); junior Harker Rhodes (Hanover); and sophomore Iain Prendergast (Hanover).

Team Vermont's Results
(33 teams from 32 states and the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands competed)

First round
District of Columbia All-Stars 292, Russell Independent (KY) 230, VERMONT 159, Riverside (WY) 113

Second round
VERMONT 312, Washington All-Stars 262, Blackfoot (ID) 127, Iowa All-Stars 84

Semifinal round
Virginia All-Stars 313, Missouri All-Stars 243, Rufus King (WI) 189, VERMONT 86

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Copyright 2004, Vermont-NEA Scholars' Bowl