UPDATED: 'They really tore it up today'

Zoe Greszler • Jan 26, 2018 at 5:00 PM

*** UPDATED 11:41 a.m. Monday, Feb. 5 ***

Due to two-hour school delays caused by icy roads, the first round of the Firelands Challenge championship has been rescheduled. Round I will take place at 10 a.m. at the EHOVE Career Center. 


*** Original story posted Jan. 26 ***

On to bigger and better things.

That’s what the St. Paul High School Firelands Challenge team is hoping for as it enters the competition’s championship rounds. 

The Flyers faced off against Monroeville and Perkins high school teams at EHOVE Career Center Thursday, where St. Paul came out on top with 61 points, followed by Perkins with 37 and Monroeville’s 14. 

St. Paul team adviser Jennifer Thobe jokingly said she motivated her team with food.

“We were motivated,” she said with a laugh. “If they won, we got to go to Casa (Fiesta) but if they lost I told them we would we would make it back in time for cafeteria food.”

While she said she knows her students knew she was serious with her “threat,” she added she’s “very proud of them” for the success.

While Perkins was the first team to reach the 20-point mark just after the first round of competition, it didn’t take the Flyers long to steal the lead.

St. Paul earned all its points possible in the first two rounds, and picked up the most points in the first lightening round where questions are asked in quick succession and any team is allowed to buzz in to grab the point. 

The first half ended with Perkins 32, St. Paul, 30 and Monroeville, 9.

The Flyers seemed to continue to gain confidence down the stretch, not only answering their own questions nearly perfectly, missing just one each in the American history and chemistry categories, but the team also stole at least six questions from their opponents. A team can steal a question, if after the allotted time the question is not answered correctly. 

Following the final lightening round, where Monroeville and Perkins picked up the most points, the playoff round ended, sending the Flyers to Casa Fiesta and the Firelands Challenge Championship.

Edison and Huron high schools teams already earned their spots in the finals with top-two finishes in the regular season.

St. Paul senior team captains Joesph Wise and Mackenzie Smith, attributed the win to the team’s dynamics.

“I think we really just meshed very well together, all of us on the team and we prepared a lot,” Smith said.

Wise said he studied for three hours Wednesday night, but the team put a countless amount of time in with reading books, watching documentaries, studying mathematics, studying art and music theories, watching the news to keep up on current events and more.    

We’re going to make sure we’re better prepared for it.

“(Areas) we’re good in, we’ll just work to become better and where we’re weak we’ll study to be stronger in those areas.

St. Paul will be in the home position for the first championship match at 10 a.m. Feb. 5. 

Huron High School will host the second match at 9 a.m. Feb. 8 in the high school gymnasium.

Edison High School will host the final match at 10 a.m. Feb. 14. in their gymnasium.

The Chargers hold the title as champs for the past five years and ended the Firelands Challenge regular season in first place. 

Though Monroeville isn’t able to continue in the post-season matches, this was still an important accomplishment for the team, having been the first time the school made it to the playoffs since then-team captain Adam Mastroianni graduated in 2010. 

Mastroianni has worked as a lead question writer for the competition since 2013, according to his resume.

Monroeville High School Principal James Kaczor said he marks Thursday as a success, despite what others might see as a loss. 

“This team is up and coming and it’s a lot of bright kids on that team,” he said.

“They put a lot of time and energy into it. I know today probably didn't’ go the way they wanted it to, but we as a school have a lot to be proud of and they, as students, have a lot to be proud of too. It’s kind of nice to get back here (in the playoffs). And good luck to St. Paul, though. They really tore it up today and Perkins did well too.”

Norwalk Reflector Videos