Vermont-NEA Scholars' Bowl

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The Vermont Scholars' Bowl has served as the official Vermont state tournament since the 1983-84 school year. The tournament is sponsored by the Vermont chapter of the National Education Association and pays for the state champion to compete at the national level each season.

Tournament structure

The Scholars' Bowl season is divided into regional and playoff phases and traditionally stretches from late October until early April.

The state is divided into seven regions -- Addison, Champlain, Connecticut Valley, Franklin, Green Mountain, Northeast Kingdom and Southern Vermont -- of three to six schools. Since 2009-2010, each region holds an open, exhibition tournament in the fall. Schools are required to play in at least one regional and may play in a second.

The first of two playoff dates sees all teams play five Swiss-paired games against teams that achieve similar results. Teams that post records of 4-1 or better advance directly to the state finals while teams that go 3-2 advance to the Medlar Cup. All other teams are eliminated.

The second playoff date is single elimination for all remaining teams. Action starts with the Medlar Cup teams playing off to produce a winner. That winner advances to the finals, possibly along with the second-place team, depending on the size of the overall field.

The finals are also single elimination until a state champion is produced. Any team that goes 5-0 on the first playoff date receives preferential seeding.

Tournament format

Vermont Scholars' Bowl matches are made up of three rounds. The game begins with 10 minutes of tossups with related, 20-point, bounceback bonuses. The second round is a lightning round of 10 five-point questions per team asked in 60 seconds, with a 45-second bounceback period for missed answers. The final round is nine minutes of tossups without bonuses.


The Scholars' Bowl debuted under the direction and sponsorship of Saint Michael's College and the Colchester, Vt., school retained control of the tournament through the 1993-94 season. Under the leadership of late tournament director Erald Medlar, the tournament survived without a sponsor during the 1994-95 school year and the Vermont-NEA has been the tournament's primary financial benefactor since the fall of 1995. In 2012 the state tournament adopted NAQT questions.

The state tournament has been played at a number of sites since leaving Saint Michael's College. In recent years the playoffs have been divided between Montpelier High School in Montpelier, Vt., and Champlain College in Burlington, Vt.

1984 Rice Memorial Fair Haven
1985 Middlebury Burlington
1986 Rice Memorial Milton
1987 Winooski Fair Haven
1988 Fair Haven NA
1989 Colchester Harwood
1990 St. Johnsbury Essex
1991 Mt. Mansfield Hanover
1992 BFA-St. Albans Enosburg
1993 Hanover Mt. Mansfield
1994 St. Johnsbury Hanover
1995 Essex Colchester
1996 Montpelier St. Johnsbury
1997 Burlington St. Johnsbury
1998 Lyndon Essex
1999 Burlington Rice Memorial
2000 Burlington Fair Haven
2001 Burlington Mt. Anthony
2002 Essex Champlain Valley
2003 Hanover Champlain Valley
2004 Hanover Colchester
2005 St. Johnsbury Champlain Valley
2006 Middlebury Mt. Mansfield
2007 Champlain Valley Hanover
2008 Hanover Essex
2009 Hanover Mt. Mansfield
2010 Essex Hanover
2011 Hanover South Burlington
2012 Hanover South Burlington
2013 Essex South Burlington
2014 Essex South Burlington
2015 Essex Burlington
2016 Burlington Middlebury Union
2017 Essex Mt. Mansfield

Other tournaments

The Scholars' Bowl organizes a number of other competitions in Vermont, including the Sue Pasco Opening Tournament, held in September at Essex; the Pre-Holiday Academic Tournament, held in December at South Burlington; and the NAQT Vermont Championship, held in March at Spaulding.

These events, along with an occasional tournament elsewhere in the region, compose the typical regular season for Vermont teams.

Vermont teams at national tournaments

The first few Vermont state championship teams attended the National Academic Championship, and the 1984 Rice Memorial squad advanced to the second round in what is believed to be the only single-elimination playoff victory at the national level by a Vermont team.

Beginning in the late 1980s, the Vermont Scholars' Bowl became affiliated with the Panasonic Academic Challenge (PAC) and a Vermont team competed at PAC every year until 2005. Burlington became the first Vermont team to reach the PAC semifinals in 1997 and the Seahorses also made the playoffs in 2000 and 2001, with the 2001 team finishing fourth overall for the best finish by a Vermont team the national level. A pair of Vermont all-star teams (2004, 2008) and Champlain Valley (2007) have also qualified for the PAC semifinals.

Since the 2005-06 season, the Vermont Scholars' Bowl has allowed its champion the right to chose what national tournament it attends and a number of Vermont teams have attended the NAQT and PACE national tournaments since 2000. The best showing by Vermont schools at a tossup-bonus national tournament are the 5-5 records posted by Champlain Valley at the 2007 HSNCT and Hanover at the 2009 HSNCT.

Five Vermont players have achieved all-star or All-America honors at national tournaments: Elise London, Mt. Mansfield (1993 PAC); Matt Johnson, Montpelier (1996 PAC); Andrew Malcovsky, Burlington (2000 NSC); Peter Golubock, St. Johnsbury (2005 PAC); and Dylan Matthews, Hanover (2007 HSNCT).

External links

Vermont-NEA Scholars' Bowl Web site