SALEM, N.H. — Nick Fossman was in elementary school when he first watched “Granite State Challenge,” a student quiz show now in its 30th season.
He became hooked.
“Whenever it was on TV, I would just watch,” the 18-year-old said.
Fossman, now a Salem High School senior, never dreamed he would ever be on the show, testing his wits against other top students in the state.
But Fossman organized the school’s four-member team at the last minute. He drafted three friends and persuaded English teacher Lindsay Ventola to serve as their adviser.
Time was running out. Fossman and teammates Arch Patel, Charlie Peters and Allison Lewis didn’t have much time to study for the qualifying test at Plymouth State University in November.
“We said, ‘Let’s just wing it,”’ Fossman said.
So they did.
The Salem High team went on to finish 10th among 52 teams in New Hampshire, with the top 16 qualifying for the show.
“We didn’t expect to make it to the top 16 teams,” said Patel, 17. “We just wanted to go and see how we would do.”
Viewers across the state will get a chance to see them battle it out against Dover High School when the half-hour episode airs March 15 on New Hampshire Public Television. The show starts at 6 p.m.
The two teams will face off in a question-and-answer format, racking up points as they provide the correct responses. Students are asked to answer questions on a variety of topics — everything from math and science to sports and pop culture.
A team from Pinkerton Academy in Derry also qualified and will compete March 8 against Hanover High School. The eight-week TV series began Feb. 8 and continues through March 29, with the top team going up this spring against the winner of WGBH’s “ High School Quiz Show” in Massachusetts.