Cleveland Heights-University Heights Academic Challenge Team Celebrates State, National Wins

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District's middle school Academic Challenge teams are wrapping up a very successful year, one that included the relaunch of a Monticello team, a State Championship for the Roxboro Middle team, and an individual national champion for Rox Mid 8th grader Malcolm McFarland. 

That’s right. Out of 788 competitors at the Middle School National Championship Tournament, run by National Academic Quiz Tournaments organization outside Chicago in May, Malcom placed first overall, which as Rox Academic Challenge advisor Amy Statler succinctly noted, “is AMAZING!”

The team of about ten 6th, 7th and 8th graders had earned first place in the March State Championship tournament at Copley High School, earning themselves a spot at the NAQT national tournament. While they didn’t place as high as they would have liked on the national stage, Ms. Statler pointed out that they lost many of their head-to-head matches by just one or two questions. 

Also exciting is the launch of Monticello’s own Academic Challenge team after several years of students competing on a combined middle schools team. Seventh grade English teacher Ashley Riolo began meeting with her group of 6th to 8th graders back in October and they competed in one tournament this winter. 

“They’re a great group of kids,” said Ms. Riolo, “and they all loved it.” They’ve been practicing all year, honing their competition skills and mastering new facts and trivia. They even competed via Zoom against Roxboro a couple of times.

With certain students’ natural affinity for specific subjects – one a history buff, another great with math – she said “it’s good to have a mix of talents.” Both instructors are looking forward to their next season of quiz competitions. 

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