Greylock Competes in As Schools Match Wits

On Saturday, April 20, sophomores Oscar Low and Victoria Melkonyan, junior Toby Foehl, and senior Theo Sandstrom, advised by English teacher Blair Dils, competed against Wahconah Regional High School in the As Schools Match Wits Competition at Westfield State University.

As Schools Match Wits is hosted by Springfield’s WGBY station. The game show includes Capitalization Rounds, in which contestants choose categories and point values to answer questions, and Lightning Rounds, in which the host asks a variety of quick questions on a specific topic, and either team can buzz in.

Before the teams arrived, each student was asked a question to ponder and respond to on the air: if the student was to develop a national holiday, what would that holiday be and why? Upon arrival to the TV studio, the students were equipped with microphones and a new experience.

“We got to experience being on a professional TV show which was interesting,” commented Low.

“It was a little weird because it was the first time most of us had done this sort of thing and it was kind of funny having a mic put on and stuff,” said Foehl.

Due to Dils’ easygoing attitude, the team did not practice much prior to the competition. Instead, the team relied on their smarts and Sporkle quizzes in order to prepare for the questions asked at the event.

As for specific strategies, the team was well-rounded and each student had a wide variety of knowledge as well as more specific prowess concerning certain topics or subjects.  

“The strategy was about having people with expertise across the board and about working together,” said Dils. “Most of the rounds give an opportunity to communicate and collaborate briefly, which helps if the team can work well together.”

“A lot of teams have one designated person who would answer things but we didn’t do that,” added Foehl.

In order to reach quarterfinals, the half-century old program requires a minimum of 230 points. After, there is a tournament to determine which schools go on to compete in the semifinals.

The four students answered more frequently toward the end to earn further points to qualify for quarterfinals. Despite the team’s efforts, however, Mount Greylock ended up with a tied score.

“Even though we tied, it was overall a fun experience and I’m excited to come back next year,” said Low.  

“It was very amicable and overall supposed to be a fun experience for the four of us and I think we accomplished that goal,” added Foehl. “I think a lot of schools take it very seriously and we definitely tried our hardest, but the main goal is to have a good time.”

“I encourage people to try out for the team. It’s a good way to experience outside of the box and to be on a TV set, while demonstrating knowledge,” said Low. “It’s good to stay positive throughout the experience and work together.”

The program is an annual occurrence and is open for students to tryout, beginning in the fall. The April 20 competition episode, Mount Greylock vs Wahconah, can easily be found online at the WGBY website.