Columbiana High School up to the Academic Challenge

SALEM – Columbiana High School stepped up to the academic challenge Saturday, winning the Columbiana County varsity competition for the first time since 1989.

None of the team members holding up the trophy had been born the last time the school took home the hardware, but team member Clayton Cooper said they will all be back next year when their school hosts the day-long event.

The students who competed included four juniors, two sophomores and a freshman. The seniors on the team were on a field trip to New York City this weekend.

Their coach, Jody Edwards, said the team started practicing in October, working with their buzzers and asking question after question.

They have been participating in a lot of tournaments and recently came in fourth place in the Mahoning County Quiz Bowl.

The competition Saturday at Salem High School included a lot of computational math problems, but Cooper said the questions were kind of cool because some of them incorporated Star Wars or Star Trek characters.

One math question in the final round involved the shadow of a Klingon, a fictional warrior race from the Star Trek television series.

The team from Lisbon David Anderson High School finished second and the team from East Palestine High School finished third. The other seven high schools participating included Beaver Local, Crestview, East Liverpool, Leetonia, Salem, United and Wellsville. Salem had won the last five championships.

According to the challenge booklet, the first county competition was held in 1978, with the Columbiana County Educational Service Center coordinating the event the past 13 years. Questions posed to students covered all different topics, from math and science to history, literature and geography and even films and events.

“We value the competition of academics with our high-achieving students,” ESC Gifted Coordinator Yvonne Lipinsky said.

The competition consisted of nine rounds of matches, with each match consisting of 25 toss-up questions and then bonus questions for each correct answer. Each match was a head-to-head contest between two schools. The school with the most wins became the winner.

Sample questions which could have been used included naming the capital of Afghanistan, identifying the animal Edgar Allen Poe identifies as the killer of two women in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and naming the musical that features the von Trapp Family Singers.

The Columbiana team will now move on to the regional competition on April 20 at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth.