As TV’s biggest quiz returns, all competing schools across the country are hopeful of lifting the coveted NSMQ trophy on July 11.
Before that happens, however, the victor must outwit the other 134 schools eyeing the same glory.
While the schools that made it to the quarterfinal in 2018 have a seeded spot and will begin the challenge from the one-eighth stage, a better number, including some heavyweights must go through the preliminary contests.
These 10 schools — by their performance in the qualifiers and by the history of the competition — are heavily tipped to make it through the prelims.
So if you are not one of them, avoid them.
The analysis is based on three tenets; the schools’ score at the qualifiers, their history in the competition and how they performed in the regional championship (if they contested).
The number one school to keep out of your path at the prelims is Cape Coast-based St. Augustine’s College.
The one-time champion was not even in the competition last year after their infamous loss to Swedru SHS at the regional qualifiers.
Before then, they had suffered a humiliating defeat at the one-eighth stage in 2017.
What then makes Augusco a threat to whoever they face at the prelims? For one, they caused an upset in the maiden/pilot edition of the Regional Championship. The likes of Adisadel, Wesley Girls and Mfantsipim School were not enough to stop them from clinching the crown.
As if not enough, they also garnered the fifth highest score during the qualifiers; 54 points.
The sea-side school is, therefore, tipped for a massive comeback.
Kumasi Academy has also carved a niche for themselves by how they performed in the qualifiers.
The school, located in the Ashanti Regional capital received tough competition from Adu Gyamfi SHS but that did not stop them from scoring 70 points.
It sounds plausible therefore, to say no matter who they face in the prelims, a one-eighth spot is guaranteed for KUMACA.
Their city rivals, Kumasi SHS, are also set to do wonders after scoring the highest tally in the qualifiers; 77 points.
Their opponents in the qualifiers, however, did not give them a run for their money. Nonetheless, 77 points is impressive and it doesn’t seem they are going out at the first stage.
Edinaman SHS also put their names on the list of schools which passed the 50-point mark. With 54 points they beat Assin Manso SHS who came up 18 points short.
Although the Central Region school doesn’t have deep roots in the NSMQ, it does not appear they would throw such a comfortable cushion away on Day 1.
Oti Boateng SHS scored the second highest tally in the qualifiers. A decisive 74 points saw them tower over Takrowase who came closest with 16 points.
With that being hardly a contest, the prelims would be the grounds to test the gravitas of OBOSS but they sure should sail through.
OBOSS’ city rivals, Pope John Seminary and Senior High are also a name to reckon with in the NSMQ.
One time winners of the quiz and giants in their Region, POJOSS, despite their fall from glory haven’t been eliminated at the prelims recently and after scoring 50 points in the qualifiers, it would be absurd to think that would start this year.
Although Volta Region giants, Bishop Herman College have struggled to make it past the one-eighth stage in the last two years, they are yet to suffer elimination at the prelims.
The Kpando-based all-boys school has yet again qualified for the show and with 56 points as their qualifying tally, they should fancy a chance of appearing in the one-eighth stage again; hopefully for redemption.
Their last defeat was handed to them by bitter rivals Mawuli School in Ho.
Tepa SHS has also promised a good run for their opponents after recording 54 points in the prelims.
With all their possible opponents at the prelims qualifying with a far less tally, Tepa should have no qualms about securing a spot in the one-eighth stage, except they went to sleep after qualifying.
Two schools with no or very little history in the NSMQ are T.I. Amass, Kumasi and Notre Dame Girls’ SHS.
However, their performance in the regional qualifiers has put them in a ‘cannot-be-ignored’ position going into the prelims.
T.I. Amass, Kumasi recorded an easy win with 53 points in the Ashanti Region while Notre Dame Girls’ SHS outdid themselves with a 50 point tally.
With their points, they topped the Regions’ qualifying schools and would be expected to lead the charge at the prelims.
Their tally is also the highest score by an all-girls school at that level of the contest. Hopefully, they would carry it into the prelims and beyond.