Merrimack High Bests Hopkinton High

Granite State Challenge - Semifinals


(DURHAM, April 28, 2023) - Hopkinton High fell to Merrimack High in the first game in the semifinal round of Granite State Challenge.

Playing for Hopkinton High was captain and junior Adam Richter, senior Hal Stokes, junior Colton Murphy, and junior Conrad Mollano. The team alternates were freshmen Thomas Ashton and Fin Murphy. The team was coached by Matthew Krogman. Hopkinton High enrolls around 271 students. Hopkinton defeated defending champion Portsmouth High and St. Thomas Aquinas High on their road to the semifinals.

Playing for Merrimack High was senior and team captain Jack Pikora. Jack was joined by seniors Rainier Murray, Aris Corman-O’Reilly, and Alli Pikora. The team alternates were juniors Kishan Sreenivasan, Trey Grant, and Liam Clark. Merrimack was coached by Sara Campbell and Sally Agel. Merrimack enrolls around 1,119 students. Merrimack High defeated John Stark and Souhegan High on their way to the semifinals.

Merrimack High now moves on to the semifinals where they will face the winner of the next semifinal game between Plymouth High and Trinity High airing on Thursday, May 4 @ 7:30 pm on NHPBS. 

Both teams were stumped on the opening question about polo. Hal put the first points on the board for Hopkinton on a question about the winner of the 2022 World Cup. Rainier picked up ten points for Merrimack on the next question about Russia's Nicholas II. Hal came right back and added 20 points to the score for Hopkinton on questions about Oscar Wilde and Afghanistan. Allie of Merrimack picked up 10 points with a question about the Boston Massacre, and the score was 30-20 with Hopkinton in the lead. Rainier of Merrimack picked up the next 10 points, correctly naming Cannon Mountain as the site of The Old Man in the Mountain formation and the score was tied 30-30.

Captain Jack of Merrimack knew that it takes two to tango and Merrimack went out to a 40-30 lead. Rainier extended Merrimack's lead to 50-30 on a question about Lady Macbeth, and Conrad of Hopkinton brought the score to 50-40 with a question about the bunt in baseball. Aris knew that New Hampshire's Josiah Bartlett was the second person to sign the Declaration of Independence after John Hancock and took Merrimack to a 60-40 lead.

Alli extended to lead to 70-40 by knowing that the Earth is the third rock from the sun and Jack picked up another 10 points for Merrimack by knowing that pilot Sully Sullenberger landed his disabled plane on the Hudson River, bringing the score to 80-40. Hal of Hopkinton narrowed the score to 80-50 on a question about Henry Kissinger. The next question was from NH Kid Governor Charlotte Cotti about Ronald Reagan, one of two actors who served as governor of California. Jack picked up the points for Merrimack. Rainier brought the score to 100-50 on a question about ammonia, and after neither team could answer a question about Krakatoa, that was the score at the end of the round.

The second round of the game is the Three Strikes and You're Out Round. Each team picks a 10-question category, and each team member gets a question, starting with the captain. The team continues to answer questions until they miss three questions. Each team also has three passes in each round. If a team answers all 10 questions correctly, they pick up an additional 10 points.

In Hopkinton's round, Adam picked up 20 points and Hal and Conrad both picked up 10 points, for a total of 40 points, bringing the score to 100-90.

In Merrimack's round, Jack picked up 40 points, Aris picked up 20 points, and Rainier and Alli picked up 10 points giving Merrimack a total of 70 points in the round and the score was now 180-90.

In the third round, alternates join their teams. Each team picks a ten-question category and has 60 seconds to answer the questions. If they answer all ten correctly, teams get up a 10-point bonus. Team members can confer in the round, but the captain answers for the team.

Hopkinton picked the category "Come Fly Away" in which all of the answers included the letters f-l-y in that order. The team picked up 70 points in the round, bringing the score to 180-160.

Merrimack chose the category "Mind Your P's and Q's" in which all of the answers included the letters P and Q. Merrimack answered seven questions correctly and the score was now 250-160 going into the final round.

In the game's final round, each correct answer is worth 20 points, but teams lose 20 points with an incorrect answer and leads can quickly be lost or gained.

Colton of Hopkinton picked up the first 20 points on a question about Socrates. Jack of Merrimack picked up the next 20 points on a question about British prime minister Rishi Sunak, his teammate Rainier quickly calculated that 12.5% of the Ivy League schools are located in New Hampshire and Alli knew that James Naismith published the rules for basketball in 1892 and Merrimack was out to a 310-180 lead.

Aris added another 40 points to Merrimack's score on a question about a sculpture of Joan of Arc and then by naming all four of the U.S. presidents found on Mount Rushmore and Jack added another 20 points with a question about Bruce Springsteen, bringing the score to 370-180. The next question, the Unitil Power Question worth 40 points, was answered correctly by Hal of Hopkinton, narrowing the score to 370-220. Colton of Hopkinton picked up another 20 points on a question about FDR and his teammate Conrad picked up another 20 points on a question about the boiling point of water, and the score was now 370-260, the team lost 20 points and Merrimack picked up 20 points on a question about the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Adam picked up the next 20 points for Hopkinton on a question about Celine Dionne, bringing the score to 390-260. Hopkinton lost 20 points on the next question about the Ralph Ellison novel Invisible Man, and the points were picked up by Aris of Merrimack and the score was now 410-240. Aris picked up another 20 points for her team by knowing that a mole could be a mammal or a unit of measurement in chemistry and Merrimack was now out to a lead of 430-240. Adam added 20 points to the score for Hopkinton on a question about Ecuador, but despite their best efforts, Hopkinton was unable to catch up to a strong team from Merrimack, and the game ended by a score of 470-200.

Hosted by Bow High School teacher and former Granite State Challenge coach (Bedford High), contestant (Belmont High), and Granite State Challenge crew member, Jon Cannon, 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.

You can follow your favorite team, test your own knowledge with GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE online quizzes, and more at the GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE web page or try your hands at daily brainteasers on the GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE Facebook page.

GRANITE STATE CHALLENGE is funded by lead sponsor Unitil; with additional funding from NEA New Hampshire, Safety Insurance, The New Hampshire Lottery, D.F. Richard Energy, Cognia, and HRCU.

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