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Sun., Oct. 4
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Potsdam claims championship in Whiz Quiz tourney


POTSDAM - When the Whiz Quiz teams from Potsdam and Immaculate Heart in Watertown met in this year’s tournament final, the pairing was a rematch from last year’s first round, a match Potsdam lost, eliminating them from the tournament.

This year’s rematch was a different story as Potsdam defeated IHC and claimed the Whiz Quiz American championship that airs on WPBS, Watertown. The show is aired by former WWNY TV and WMSA radio personality Glenn Gough.

“This is my second year coaching, but three years ago they also won,” Advisor Catherine Boula said. “Last year we weren’t quite as fortunate as we got out on our first match.”

James Merrill, a senior, who was on the team last year though, pointed out that IHC was one of the toughest teams in the tournament, as they reached last year’s finals as well.

He said the fact their championship victory came against IHC made the victory that much sweeter.

“It was nice because our last match was against IHC for the championship.

Chatham Borsch was also on the team last year and said being a member of a championship team is something he’ll always remember. “It was a good experience to be a part of with my teammates,” he said.

For their efforts, each student receives a plaque, with the school receiving a trophy. The team is also awarded $1,200 in scholarship money to divide among its six members.

Robert Milne, the lone junior on the team, said he’s looking forward to competing on Whiz Quiz again next year.

“I learned a lot from my teammates and I’m looking forward to being a leader next year,” he said. “I’ll have the honor of representing Potsdam in multiple competitions.

This year’s tournament, which features a single-elimination format involving approximately 30 teams, started with a victory over St. Lawrence Central. The team’s first round win was followed by victories against Madrid-Waddington, South Lewis, Heuvelton and then IHC in the championship match.

Ms. Boula said weekly practices, which often consisted of Trivial Pursuit games, began at the start of the school year and were held up until the tournament, which was actually held in November, but didn’t air on television until mid-December.

“It was hard to wait a month to announce it, but with reality TV you can’t announce anything until it airs,” she said.

Whiz Quiz team representatives and their advisor shared their experiences at this week’s board of education meeting.

“We certainly want to congratulate this group on becoming Whiz Quiz champions,” Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said. “We always love to have students at our meetings, especially when they’ve accomplished something special.”

Whiz Quiz is a game show pitting teams of four from St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis counties against each other in a 30-minute session filled with questions about everything from academic areas to trivia.

“It’s all high school level questions,” according to Ms. Boula, who added categories included history, literature, science, math, current events and even sports trivia.

“A lot of it is stuff you either know or you don’t,” Mr. Merrill said.

In addition to Mr. Borsch, Mr. Merrill and Mr. Milne, the team also included William Baker-Hastings, Taylor Dow and Thomas Hobbs.

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