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Merrimack Claims Record 4th Championship Title in Granite State Challenge

Unitil congratulates team on another impressive win in New Hampshire academic quiz show
Alec O'Meara hands trophy to Granite State Challenge winner.
Hampton, NH

In a rematch of the 2023 championship game, Merrimack High School is once again the reigning champ after beating Plymouth Regional High School in the high-stakes academic quiz show “Granite State Challenge.”  

With a final score of 540-240, Merrimack clinched its fourth championship title in the game that aired May 16 on New Hampshire PBS. It’s the only school to win four championship titles in the game’s history.

Unitil is a lead sponsor of the televised competition, which features high school students from across New Hampshire and this year marks its 42nd season.

“We would like to congratulate the team from Merrimack on yet another incredible win. This remarkable achievement is the result of their continued hard work, determination, and extraordinary team spirit,” said Unitil External Affairs Director Alec O’Meara, who had the honor of presenting the championship trophy. “The players on both teams were outstanding and should be proud of their accomplishments. ‘Granite State Challenge’ has a long history of bringing together the best and brightest young minds and we’re pleased to support this amazing program.”

“Granite State Challenge” is a highly popular game show that requires its high school players to demonstrate quick reflexes and factual recall in all major disciplines - math, science, social studies, language arts, and fine arts. The teams are also questioned about current events, entertainment, sports, and topics specific to New Hampshire.

Students on the Merrimack team were captain and senior Kishan Sreenivasan, seniors Liam Clark and Trey Grant, and junior Erin Murray. The team alternates were junior Shelby Pennington and sophomore Avis Clever. Dr. Sara Campbell, a Merrimack chemistry teacher, and Gifted and Talented Coordinator Sally Agel served as the team’s coaches.

Playing for Plymouth were team captain and junior Reagan Sutherland, and seniors Khalil Dakhlia, Paul Mason, and junior Max Shamansky. The team alternates were junior Norman Sackett and senior Ethan Savage. The team was coached by programming, drafting, and engineering teacher Jay Fogarty and Spanish teacher Troy Harris.

Susan Adams, the education manager at New Hampshire PBS and co-producer of “Granite State Challenge,” described Merrimack and Plymouth as “old hands” at playing in the show’s championship games. They faced off in 2020 and 2023, and both teams have won multiple championships; Merrimack won the title in 2020, 2021, and 2023 while Plymouth was the champion in 1996, 2013, and 2019. 

“The students on both teams take the game seriously and practice assiduously for the competition. The coaches for both teams, Jay Fogarty and Troy Harris for Plymouth and Dr. Sara Campbell and Sally Agel for Merrimack put in untold hours of work behind the scenes to prepare their players for the games. We are so proud of the work of all of the teams and coaches from the 32 schools that participated in Granite State Challenge this year and look forward to another great season next year,” she said.

Campbell emphasized the importance of having a competition where students can showcase their academics.

“It’s such an outlet for these students to have a place where they can shine. I’m just blown away by their dedication. They’re the busiest kids in the school because they’re involved in so many other things, including clubs and sports, so I always tell them that I’m there whenever they want to be there for practice. Whenever they had the time, they came to me, and I think that it’s just so impressive given how many other things that they could have been doing with their time,” she said.

Sreenivasan said his team worked well together, and despite the pressure of game preparation, he and his teammates shared lots of laughs while practicing after school.

“I would say after school practice was one of the best parts of my day. I would come back to see the team and work on trivia, which is something that we all communally love. When one of us has a silly answer we laugh and write it down. Just seeing each other in the day is a great time and it doesn’t feel like an extracurricular activity or that we’re working for something. It feels that we’re bonding as a team and having a great time,” he said.

Grant said he remembered watching the Merrimack team win the championship when he was in eighth-grade. “I just thought, ‘Wow, that’s really cool, but I’ll never be able to do that.’ And now here I am, senior year, five years later,” he said, adding that when he reflects on his high school career years down the road, winning the championship game and the friendships he made will be his greatest memories.

Clever was the youngest member of the team and is looking forward to returning next year.

“I’m so excited to keep doing this. I love staying after school for quiz bowl. I was pretty nervous about it my freshman year last year, but I’m so glad I took that plunge and started going. It’s my whole life now,” she said.

Photos credited to Mark Bolton Photography. 

Winning team from Merrimack holding Granite State Challenge 2024 Champions banner.



About Unitil

Unitil Corporation provides energy for life by safely and reliably delivering electricity and natural gas in New England. We are committed to the communities we serve and to developing people, business practices, and technologies that lead to the delivery of dependable, more efficient energy. Unitil Corporation is a public utility holding company with operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Together, Unitil’s operating utilities serve approximately 108,500 electric customers and 88,400 natural gas customers.


Media Contact

Alec O'Meara
Director, External Affairs