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NW Lehigh declared ACE champions

Academic Challenge Eighth competitors finished strong at the Lehighton Area Middle School on March 11 after they completed seven rounds of challenges the day prior.

The competition lasted Monday through Wednesday between eight competing schools. The championship game was held on the last day of the event and was won by Northwestern Lehigh, which remained undefeated throughout the tournament.

Second-day results

Round seven challengers were Tamaqua vs. Northern Lehigh. The scores were 43-9, with Tamaqua was the winner.

Round eight was between Catasauqua vs. Jim Thorpe. The scores were 22-14, with Catasauqua in the lead.

Round nine challengers were Lehighton vs. Tamaqua with a score of 34-31, with Tamaqua winning the round.

Round 10 was between Palmerton vs. Catasauqua with a score of 41-5, with Palmerton for the win.

Round 11 challengers were Panther Valley vs. Northwestern Lehigh. This game ended with the highest win of the night with Northwestern Lehigh winning with a score of 68-16.

Round 12 was Tamaqua vs Palmerton with a score of 36-31. The winner of the round was Palmerton.

The last round began as a close match between Panther Valley and Northwestern Lehigh. After the first round, the score was three for Northwestern Lehigh and six for Panther Valley, however, in the second round alone, Northwestern Lehigh scored 48 points, which put them in the lead. The score for the second round was 16 for Panther Valley and 51 for Northwestern Lehigh. In the last session, both teams scored and lost points.

The final score was 67 to 22, with Northwestern Lehigh declared champions.

Months of preparation

Courtney Schleicher, a teacher at Lehighton Area Middle School who helped put the event together, said each team had been preparing for months leading up to the tournament.

“This friendly competition really gives the students a sense of pride in their school and in themselves,” she said.

A motto the mentors have been telling the students all tournament, “It doesn’t matter what place you take in this tournament, it is an awesome accomplishment just being chosen to represent your school.”

Schleicher said it was the first time Lehighton hosted the event in over 20 years.

Northwestern Lehigh’s team members included Nathaniel Smolinsky (caption/second round speaker), Daniel Jenkins (first round speaker), Timothy Burnard, Emily Chukoskie, Gavin Kline and Bailen Smargiassi. The advisers were Richard Kulp (eighth-grade Physical Science teacher) and Regina Wood (eighth-grade Language Arts teacher).

“The team expressed that they were grateful to have the opportunity to compete against the other schools intellectually rather than athletically,” Kulp said. “They particularly enjoyed any questions regarding communism, France, Greek mythology, percentages, palindromes, Schrödinger’s cat and quantum physics.”

He added that the members of Northwestern Lehigh enjoyed the atmosphere at Lehighton’s facility.

Kulp said the kids credit everything they learned in life to their childhood show: “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

Northwestern Lehigh and Jim Thorpe competing against one another during the ACE competition.