A Sharon High School team began its journey to snare a state crown Sunday night with the Pacific Ocean.
Sharon then cruised to a 475-165 High School Quiz Show first-round victory over North Middlesex Regional High School.
The fast-paced academic game show aired on WGBH-2 on Sunday night and can be viewed online here. The students taped the program Feb. 6 at WGBH's Brighton studio, but were prohibited from sharing the outcome.
Sharon becomes one of the final eight teams in the 16-team single-elimination tourney. The 16 teams qualified for the tournament in October, out of 90 schools from Eastern and Central Mass. Sharon is playing for the first time.
Sharon's next TV appearance is May 1, when it faces the winner of next Sunday night's Bromfield School-Wachusett Regional High School match. The tournament bracket is found here. The Eastern Mass. championship is May 22 and the state championship is June 5.
Sharon's team includes senior Nishanth Iyengar, sophomores Matt Corman and Frank Zhou and freshman Siddharth Singh. Sophomores Hari Anbarasu and Pittayut Phonboon are the alternates, and sat in the audience throughout Sunday night's show.
Sharon dominated each of the four rounds: toss-up, head-t0-head, categories and a 90-second lightning round. Local radio and television personality Billy Costa hosts the show.
North Middlesex answered the game's first question, in the toss-up round, correctly, "In 1859, who wrote 'On the Origin of Species'?" (Charles Darwin), to lead 10-0.
Sharon's Singh then correctly answered the next question, "Name the largest body of water traversed by the Tropic of Cancer" (Pacific Ocean), tying the score at 10.
Sharon finished the round leading 200-70.
Costa then briefly interviewed each contestant. Iyengar noted that The Boston Globe's literature and art contest had just recognized one of his chemistry projects: a play he wrote about the formation of the solar system. Zhou discussed being on a robotics team, which reached last year's international competition in Atlanta. Corman discussed his rocket collection; and Singh called his guitar skills "all right."
Iyengar then faced a North Middlesex player named Joe in the 90-second head-to-head round, the first where wrong answers cost the team the question's value.
Iyengar and Joe traded correct answers on the first two questions, respectively: "What planet is closest to the sun?" (Mercury) and "In the U.S., Groundhog Day occurs on what day?" (Feb. 2).
Sharon finished the round leading 270-80.
In the third round, categories, questions came from these six topics: Friends of Flipper; Fashion Statement; Victorian Novels; Namesakes; Religious Leaders and Rules of the Game. Each category had five questions of increasing value, starting at 10 points.
Trailing, North Middlesex went first. However, Sharon had expanded its lead to 375-125 when the round ended.
Sharon then correctly answered the first three questions of the 90-second lightning round toward sealing the victory.