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West Essex to Compete in MSG Varsity's 'The Challenge'

First round match-up of high school quiz show to air in late January.

Students from West Essex Regional High School in North Caldwell will be featured competing against Midland High School in the new season of MSG Varsity’s The Challenge. The first round match-up in the high school quiz show will air on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 6:30 p.m., on Cablevision’s Optimum Channel 14. 

West Essex is one of 47 high schools in New Jersey competing in the Regional Rounds to qualify for the Tri-State Championship Playoffs. The team is represented by captain Thomas Haversang, Eric Maher, Ben Gersten and Michael Gaggiano and alternates Mark Mascera and Jerry Groomoe. Caroline Blanchard and Christopher Rauch serve as academic advisors for the team.

The Challenge is hosted by American Idol semi-finalist Jared Cotter, who quizzes the teams on various subjects, including math, science, history, literature, arts and current events.

A total of 192 high schools from the tri-state area compete in The Challenge, with a new match-up televised every Sunday through Friday at 6:30 p.m., on Optimum.

Each regional champion team wins $2,500 for their school and advances to the Tri-State Showdown. The school that wins the Tri-State Champion round is awarded $10,000, and each student in the game receives $500.

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