Great Valley wins Pa. Academic Competition title

Great Valley’s academic team participates in 2018 Pennsylvania State Academic Competition awards ceremony.

HARRISBURG —Some of the brightest minds from Pennsylvania’s high schools gathered in the Pennsylvania State Capitol building to showcase their academic prowess at the 2018 Pennsylvania State Academic Competition on Friday, April 27. Great Valley High School proved to be the top competitor, after advancing through the semi-final rounds and clinching the championship win against Friends Select School and Trinity High School.  

During the competition, hosted by Representative John Lawrence and sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), students answered a variety of challenging questions from categories including literature, science, American history, world history, potpourri and contemporary events.

Great Valley students celebrate their win at PA State Academic Competition.

After a full day of matches, Great Valley came in first, followed by Trinity High School and Friends Select School in second and third respectively. Final score: Great Valley – 85, Trinity – 65 and Friends Select – 50. Event sponsor PSEA underwrote the first-place $2,000 scholarship as well as two $500 scholarships for the second and third place teams. Additionally, all three teams in the championship round are eligible to advance to the National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LCC (NAQT) on May 26 – 28 in Atlanta, GA.

When asked about their win, Great Valley team captain Sam Scarfone expressed excitement, saying, “We were here last year and didn’t win; we got third. As a senior, this feels like a fitting conclusion to my quizbowl career. Just getting here and winning every match today, including the final, felt amazing.”

His teammate Mark Neri echoed his sentiments saying, “I’m pretty ecstatic! To end our intermediate competition road with a state championship is nothing short of incredible.”

“All of the students who participated in the state academic competition are already champions. They earned their position in the state competition by winning local and regional matches in their home counties,” said Jay Stone, Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) special events coordinator. “I would like to congratulate all of the participants, as they represent the brightest, most dedicated academic competitors in the commonwealth.”

Great Valley coach Bernard McCauley was proud of the work his team, made up of all seniors, has committed during their time with him. “This is completely a testament to the work that they have put in, not just this year, but in the years before to get to this point,” he said.  “They took the experience from last year and built off of it. We were able to bring back four of the six that we had here last year, and they are really self-motivated. They all work well together, and we have great leaders.”

The state competition began at 9:00 a.m. on April 27 with 22 county academic champions from across the commonwealth. They competed against one another in a series of matches in order to qualify to advance to the semifinals. Each match consisted of two rounds with ten toss-up questions for any of the teams to “buzz in” and answer, as well as six fanfare questions per team, which are to be answered in rapid succession within 60 seconds.

Nine teams earned a spot in one of three semi-final matches. The winner of each of those matches advanced to the championship game.

Each of Pennsylvania’s 29 intermediate units is permitted to send one high school academic team to participate in the competition.

Of the 24 participating teams, the nine teams with the highest cumulative scores from two preliminary matches advanced to the semifinals. These semi-final teams included: Great Valley (245), Allentown Central Catholic (185), Friends Select (185), Manheim Township (175), Trinity (175), Delaware Valley (170), Bermudian Springs (145), Wyomissing (145) and Franklin Regional (135).

For the seventh year in a row, the Honorable John A. Lawrence of Chester County hosted the Pennsylvania Academic Competition, which is coordinated by the Chester County Intermediate Unit and sponsored by PSEA.

The Chester County academic teams will be recognized at the Chester County Champions awards banquet hosted by Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union on May 10. At the banquet, Franklin Mint will honor the teams, as well as the Chester County All-Star Team; the Coach of the Year and the Competitor of the Year.

For a full list of scores and more information, visit

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