Clash of the Titans - Merrimack High Defeats Plymouth Regional High

Granite State Challenge Championship Game

(DURHAM, May 17, 2024) - Merrimack High defeated Plymouth Regional High for the second year in a row in the Granite State Challenge championship game.  n the Granite State Challenge championship game. This was a record-breaking game. Both teams had three titles going into the game. Merrimack High School won the GSC championship in 2020, 2021, and 2023. Plymouth Regional High was the Granite State Challenge champion in 1996, 2013, and 2019. This was also the seventh time in the final game for each of the teams.

Playing for Merrimack High was captain and senior Kishan Sreenivasan joined by seniors Liam Clark and Trey Grant, and junior Erin Murray. The team alternates were junior Shelby Pennington and sophomore Avis Clever. Merrimack was coached by chemistry teacher Dr. Sara Campbell and Gifted and Talented Coordinator Sally Agel. Merrimack enrolls around 1,094 students. Merrimack High defeated Belmont High, the Academy for Science and Design, and Trinity High on their way to the championship game. 

Playing for Plymouth Regional High were the team captain and junior Reagan Sutherland, and seniors Khalil Dakhlia, Paul Mason, and senior Ethan Savage.  The team alternates were juniors, Norman Sackett and Max Shamansky. The coaches for the team were programming, drafting, and engineering teacher Jay Fogarty and Spanish teacher Troy Harris. Plymouth Regional High enrolls around 647 students from Plymouth, Ashland, Holderness, Campton, Rumney, Wentworth, Ellsworth, Waterville Valley, and Thornton. Plymouth Regional High defeated Newfound Regional High, Nashua High South, and Hopkinton High on their way to the championship game. 


Kishan Sreenivasan of Merrimack led the scoring with correct answers to questions about the Beatles from GSC Superfan, James. He also scored on questions about the League of Women Voters, Ironman, Thomas Jefferson, Katy Perry, and actor and inventor, Hedy Lamarr. His teammate Trey Grant picked up points on questions about the unit of measure used to determine the height of horses, the area of a triangle with a height of 5 inches and a base of 9 inches, the pancreas, and the ancient city of Alexandria. Liam Clark picked up points on the civics question from 2024 NH Kid Governor, Ellie Livley, about who serves as governor in New Hampshire if the governor is indisposed, and a question about what the open-doored light utility vehicles used during World War II Erin Murray picked up another 10 points for the team on a question about the Carthaginian general who tried to invade Italy through the alps using elephants.

On the Plymouth side, Reagan Sutherland picked up points on a question about the movie, Singing in the Rain. Khalil Dakhlia answered questions about where you will find aglets, the Red Cross, and the Greek playwright Aristophanes, and Paul Mason correctly identified Mitch McConnell as the Kentucky politician who became Senate Minority Leader in 2021.

In the Three Strikes and You're Out Round, each team picks a 10-question category and each team member, starting with the captain, gets one question. 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. 

Liam Clark picked up 30 points in the round, Erin Murray picked up 20 points, and Trey Grant and Kishan Sreenivasan each picked up 10 points, adding another 70 points to Merrimack's score. The team missed on questions about the Sesame Street muppet, Grover; the location of the Diamond Head volcanic cone; and Elton John.

On the Plymouth side, Khalil Dakhlia, Paul Mason, and Ethn  Savage each answered two questions correctly, and  Reagan Sutherland answered one question correctly. The team picked up 70 points, missing only on questions about Curious George's companion, the man in the yellow hat; NH author and illustrator Tomi DePaola, and Benjamin Franklin. 

In the 60-Second 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 a 10-point bonus. Team members can confer in the round, but the captain answers.

Plymouth chose the category "Wonders of the World."  All of the answers in the category included or were related to the word Wonder. They answered nine questions correctly, missing only a question about the TV sitcom, The Wonder Years. 

Merrimack picked the category "Brown Bag."  All of the answers in the category included the word brown. The team answered eight questions correctly, missing only on a question about the wildflower, the brown-eyed Susan. The round ended with Merrimack in the lead by a score of 280-220.

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

The final round was rough on Plymouth, Merrimack picked up 260 points in the round on questions on everything from Tom Hanks, Bollywood and the Beach Boys to leatherback turtles and sloths. Plymouth was not able to keep up. They added 40 points to their score and the game ended with a win for Merrimack by a score of 540-260. This is the second consecutive championship for the team from Merrimack and the fourth win since 2020. They won in 2020, 2021, 2023, and 2024. They lost in 2022 to Portsmouth High.

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 some of New Hampshire's brightest high school students 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 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 InsuranceD.F. Richard Energy, and HRCU.

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