Merrimack High Defeats Portsmouth High

Granite State Challenge - Round One

Can you name the British explorer who has an obelisk at Rye Harbor State Park dedicated to him? The players from Portsmouth High and Merrimack High couldn't name him, but they did know the answers to most of the questions in their Round One Granite State Challenge match.

Merrimack High, always a strong contender, led Portsmouth High by a score of 130-60 at the end of Round One. Portsmouth closed the gap in Round Two by correctly answering the Unitil Power Question, worth 40 points, by correctly identifying Sarajevo as the city where Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie were assassinated, and at the end of Round Two Merrimack led by a score of 290-260.

In the 60-second round the alternates joined their teams. Portsmouth picked the category "The Birds" and correctly identified three out of ten songs or groups that referenced birds. Merrimack selected "The Cars" as their category and correctly identified ten out of ten famous vehicles, including Optimus Prime and the Magic School Bus. At the end of the 60-second round, Merrimack led by a score of 400-290.

In the final round, where an incorrect answer can cost a team 20 points, Portsmouth came on strong and narrowed Merrimack's lead to just 10 points with a little over two minutes left in the game. Both teams played well in the final minutes, but Merrimack held on to the lead and won the game by a final score of 560-450.

Playing for Merrimack High were junior Alex Jobin, senior Sophie Kim, junior Troy Church, captain junior Scott Peyton and alternates Andrew Peyton and Nick Gacharna. The team was coached by Sara Campbell.

The Portsmouth High Clippers were represented by captain senior Samantha Kelley-Derzon, senior Ezra Schrader, freshman Francis Powell and senior Jacob Allen. The alternates were senior Melanie Carolan and senior Lucy Heisey. The team was coached by Hannah Dul.

Merrimack High now moves on the face Nashua High South in the Quarterfinals. The first quarterfinal game between Hanover and Littleton airs Saturday, March 30 @ 6 pm on NHPBS.

That English explorer with an obelisk at Rye Harbor State Park? It's Captain John Smith. Smith is famous for being saved by Pocahontas at Jamestown and for mapping the New England coast.

Granite State Challenge features New Hampshire's top high school academic quiz teams as they demonstrate remarkable teamwork, quick thinking and smarts to beat the clock and buzz in first on this iconic New Hampshire game show. The game emphasizes quick recall of math, science, social studies, language arts, and fine arts facts—along with questions about current events, entertainment, sports and New Hampshire.

Granite State Challenge is funded by lead sponsor Unitil; with additional funding from NEA New Hampshire, Heinemann Publishing, New Hampshire Lottery, D.F. Richard Energy, HRCU,  Measured Progress, The NHHEAF Network Organizations, Safety Insurance  and Super Sunday partner, Manchester Community College.

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