Imagine if you will the scene at WJZ-TV studio on Sunday, January 29, as three winning teams squared off in the next round of the “It’s Academic” competition. Northern High School had an understandably small fan base given the distance from Calvert County, and they evinced a solid brand of traditional sportsmanship throughout the contest. Gilman School was showing a much different type of traditional sportsmanship. On entering the studio, a boisterous contingent of the Greyhounds removed their shirts and stood and cheered loudly throughout the competition. [Gilman is an all-boys’ school, Ed.] Friends School presented a spirited front in a different way. Their shirts remained on and they constituted an eclectic slice of American student culture. We had many thespians fresh from their triumph with this year’s student-run production, “The Front Page;” we had basketball players, we had numerous styles of dress and brandished clever signs and a couple of celebratory cowbells; there was a joyous air of expectancy in our ranks. The entrance of the Gilman squad into the studio was greeted with notably loud applause; surprisingly, however, the Friends School contingent, though gentler in appearance, out-thundered the rowdy Gilmen as the Quakers took the stage. In the nervous first round, it became clear that this was to be a hard-fought contest. Each team hit the buzzer quickly and effectively and at the first break the score was Gilman 230, Northern 220, and Friends 210. All teams scored the maximum in their first solo round, and towards the end of the next free response round, the Quakers hit a bit of a flurry and inched ahead by 40 or so points. Northern and Gilman each stumbled on one of their bonus round questions, so it was up to Friends to seize a commanding lead. Alas, that 1089 IS divisible by 9 and 1036 IS NOT escaped us and it appeared that we still held only a 40-point lead. A scoring kerfuffle ensued and when that dust had settled, Gilman was a mere 10 points in arrears of the Quakers. On to the final round! Gilman took the lead with a quick response and followed that up with yet another correct answer to seize a 30 point advantage. Gilman rung in again on a 30-point picture question and … got it wrong to even up the match. And it was now that the Quaker machine started to fire on all cylinders. Answers came quickly and correctly and that high tonic pitch of the Quaker buzzer chimed in again and again. The clock ticked down, Mr. Zaren validated the score, and happy Quakers spilled from the bleachers onto the studio floor in jubilant celebration. Hearty congratulations to Jackson Davis, Carrie Zaremba, Wes Culp, and Nick DeVinne for an outstanding performance. The team will take on Urbana H.S. (Frederick County) and the winner of the Centennial/Frederick/Baltimore City College contest in the semifinals on May13. GO QUAKES!