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Hightstown High School team members display their trophies after winning the 2018 Mercer County Consumer Bowl. From left, teacher/adviser David Teleposky, Rishab Solanki, Steven Cohen, Sree Chinta and Maanas Manoj. Not pictured, Jasman Singh.

The Hightstown High School team that won the 2017 New Jersey Consumer Bowl state title faced some challenges if it was going to repeat as champions in 2018.

First, the group had only three returning members from last year’s championship squad: seniors Sree Chinta, Steven Cohen and Jasman Singh. Secondly, just days before the Mercer County Consumer Bowl competition, Singh — one of the team’s veterans — contracted the flu and was unable to participate in the county meet.

The challenge to repeat as county champs on the road to another state title seemed formidable.

But the Highstown team remained unfazed. In fact, it pretty much blew away the local competition. In its preliminary round, Hightstown defeated Steinert High School in Hamilton, Hopewell Valley Central High School and Trenton Central High School by more that 100 points. And then in the finals against Nottingham High School, also in Hamilton, HHS easily won by more than 50 points. Other schools competing included Ewing High School, Hamilton High School West and Lawrence High School.

It marked the second straight county title for HHS. Hightstown’s winners Chinta, Cohen, Maanas Minoj and Risha Solanski were each awarded an Acer 15-inch laptop and Cannon PIXMA wireless printer. The team’s adviser is teacher David Teleposky.

HHS will now move on to the regional competition April 13 in Monmouth County. A win there would enable the squad to return to the state competition May 18 at the Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton.

“I congratulate Hightstown High School on its continued success and offer a round of applause to all the students for their desire to become more aware of the world around them,” said Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes. “Being an informed consumer helps you understand your rights and become an active participant in the buying experience. Education is your best defense against consumer fraud.”

Mercer County’s annual Consumer Bowl competition — established in 1994 to educate young adults on a variety of consumer issues — is held by the Mercer County Division of Consumer Affairs in conjunction with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. It pits teams from various high schools against one another to test their knowledge of being a smart shopper.

Anthony Brennan, New Jersey Consumer Affairs investigator, served as moderator for the Mercer County competition and Mercer County Consumer Affairs Chief John Worth served as referee.

Judges were Andrew Tucker, special assistant to the director, NJ Division of Consumer Affairs; County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello; Assistant Prosecutor Rachel Cook; Undersheriff Jason Salvatore; County Assistant Planning Director Lisa Fritzinger; Assistant County Counsel John Maloney.

Rebecca Shaw, Mercer County weights and measures inspector, and Dulcelina Pena, NJ Division of Consumer Affairs Consumer Bowl coordinator, served as scorekeepers; and David Donahue, NJ Division of Consumer Affairs Building Services coordinator, served as timekeeper.

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