It is common knowledge around Liberty University’s campus that the Flames have had lots of success in the Big South conference in the past couple of years. Students cheered on the football team to two Big South titles. They watched the women’s basketball team win 12 out of the last 13 years. But many students do not realize that Liberty has a quiz bowl team that has built a name for itself in the Big South.
Liberty’s team has won the championship four out of the last five years, including the 2009-2010 championship Jan. 30. Liberty hosted the tournament.
The Big South created the quiz bowl event in 2006 to show that the Big South was more than just an athletic conference. Each college in the Big South has a quiz bowl team made up of undergraduate students, and they compete against each other once a year for the Big South title.
“Athletics in general are about honing and using one’s talents in a competitive sense,” said freshman James Rogers. “For myself, my talents have always been mental rather than physical, so this is a way to turn academia into a fun and useful sport.”
Because Liberty has been so successful in the quiz bowl competition, the current team worked hard for their victory.
“We had been practicing every Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., but just before the conference tournament and for the regional tournament, we decided to do two practices a week,” Honors Program Director and coach of the team Dr. Jim Nutter said. ”So for the past couple of weeks we’ve been hitting it really, really hard and I think it’s been paying off for us.”
Liberty’s championship team is made up of five honors students who each have expertise in a particular subject.
“One of the greatest things about how the game works is that you are in teams of four, meaning that you don’t have to know everything,” senior captain Eddie Brown said. “Each member of the team has their own specialties that they are good at … It really makes us depend on each other’s knowledge bank and to work better as a team. One of us would not be able to do it on our own.”
Each student has his own way of preparing for the competition. Nutter provides information packets for each member, but the team knows that studying the packet is not enough.
“Most of my knowledge comes from encountering it outside of quiz bowl through things like reading and studying or even seeing it on television,” sophomore Corbin Payne said. “And I am not too proud to admit that Wikipedia is a good study supplement on occasion.”
Payne was the top scorer at this weekend’s competition, scoring 240 points.
“My personal goal was to be the top individual scorer of everyone there,” Payne said. “I pulled that off by a wide margin, so I achieved a goal that I have been working towards since the beginning of last year.”
The win was very meaningful to the team, especially for the younger members of the team who have not seen as much success.
“To me the win showed that I can be successful at something even if I am just beginning,” sophomore Tyler Flynn said. “I just joined Quiz Bowl at the start of the semester and I have already been on a winning varsity team.”
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