"It's Academic!" team advances to semifinals


March 23, 2002, midnight | By Kevin Chang | 18 years, 10 months ago


The Blair "It's Academic!" team won its playoff match on March 23, defeating Quince Orchard and High Point high schools. The match was taped at NBC-4 studios in Washington, D.C.

Senior captain Cyrus Hadadi, senior Steve Acton, and junior Jared Sagoff represented Blair, scoring 545 points. Quince Orchard ended with 520, and High Point finished with 390.

This victory earned the team a $500 prize and assures Blair a spot in the semifinal round, making it one of the top nine schools in the area. The semifinal game will be taped on April 27th.

Blair and Quince Orchard fought for the lead throughout the game, and the two teams were usually separated by a difference of 30 points or less. All three teams had excellent buzzes, including one by Sagoff, who answered the question "2log749" before host Mac McGarry could finish reading the first two words of the question. ("Evaluate this expression, giving your answer as an integer.")

Quince Orchard had a good run in the final round, coming to within five points of Blair with only three seconds left in the game. The phrase "March Madness" was brought to mind at that point when Quince Orchard buzzed in on a question worth 20 points. Both teams were visibly nervous, but Quince Orchard missed the question, handing Blair the win.

After the game, Sagoff called the final seconds "one of the most exciting moments in my life." Earlier in the year, he said, "[the playoff match] will probably be a good game. We should win, though."

"This was a great win for the Blair 'It's Academic!" team,' said coach Peter Engelmann. "I was on the edge of my seat," he said, "but I was confident our team could win because we have a great bunch of kids."

Vice Principal Linda Wanner, who also attended the match, agreed with Engelmann. "I was extremely proud of the way our team played," she said, calling the team "composed," "self-assured," and "knowledgeable."

Despite intense competition, the game was not all about business. While introducing himself, Acton said, "I'd also like to remind any college admissions officers that I haven't received any letters yet…"

Cheerleading squads from all three schools performed routines, and the Quince Orchard band played as well.

The "It's Academic!" team meets at 3:00 in room 233 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The show will be aired May 4, 2002 at 10:00 a.m. on channel NBC-4.



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Kevin Chang. Kevin Chang was born on April 28, 1985. This makes him a bull, and coincidentally, a Taurus. Somehow, he ended up in the Magnet program at Montgomery Blair High School, where he is now a SENIOR! 03! Yes, he is a geek. He is often … More »

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