Hamburg Area High School won the Academic Challenge

Hamburg Area High School won the Academic Challenge meet against Fleetwood on Jan. 28. Pictured from left to right are members Kacey La, adviser Clare Benz, Evan Grim, Austin Swartley, and Cail Schrack.

The Hamburg Academic Challenge team secured a win over Fleetwood on Jan. 28.

It was the first win of the year for the Hamburg team, and definitely not the last.

The team consists of Austin Swartley, Evan Grim, Cail Schrack, Kacey La, and Mathew Frantz. The team lost their two seniors last year, Evan Bohn and Ryan Govern. Mathew Frantz is a new and welcome addition to the team.

In this match, Frantz racked up the most points with Grim coming in second place.

“Mathew got a lot of answers right for us and really came through,” said Schrack.

The final score was 18-10.

This season of the quiz bowl has faced many challenges in dealing with new COVID-19 protocols.

As one of the team members, Swartley, said, “Technical issues aside, the event went great and see us being really competitive this year!”

This year it is entirely virtual and the students’ smartphones are used as the buzzers. Although there was a learning curve in adapting to the new online environment, it has gone remarkably well with all things considered. It was an overall success, and the team is very proud of how they performed.

“I am so proud of the Hamburg Area Academic Challenge team this year," said The team's coach, Clare Benz. "Of course, I’m always proud of a group of students who chooses to study up on various topics ranging from current events to classical literature to music to history to math… you get the gist."

"But this year has presented new challenges, if you’ll forgive the word play," Benz continued. "Our students have had to learn how to compete virtually, utilizing both Zoom and BuzzIn technology."

"Honestly, I was initially skeptical about the Berks County Intermediate Unit’s determination to continue the Academic Challenge this year, with all the pandemic protocols that needed to be followed," she added. "But we’ve proven that not only is it possible, but that Hamburg Area can excel in this setting. Way to go, Hawks!”

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