Apr 4, 2006

Liberty Wins the Big South Quiz Bowl

by Victoria Friedrich
Have you ever met anyone who knows the most random facts and statistics? Have you wondered to yourself, when is that knowledge actually ever going to be useful? Well, for these five teammates, that knowledge finally paid off. These Liberty students recently bowled their way to a Big South Championship. Quiz bowled that is.   

One of their coaches, Dr. James Nutter says that quiz bowls are often “described as ‘the varsity sport of the mind,’ and teams play 30-minute games with a variety of questions on history, literature, science, math, current events, the arts and sports.”

It started last fall when a letter was sent to the honor students asking anyone who was a little “abnormal” in their thinking to join the new quiz bowl team. thirteen students responded to the letter, and after practice began, the team was pared down to four starters and one alternate player. They were taught how to play the game by Dr. Emily Heady, who was recruited to help coach the team. Heady played quiz bowl for three years as an undergraduate student at Ohio State University.

On February 4, 2006 Liberty University’s Quiz Bowl Team competed in their first tournament, which was a double — elimination competition. Despite the teams lack of experience, they won all eight games, outscoring their opponents 1,355 to 470, and they took home the title of Big South Champions. Team member Clay Finley says, “We had some good coaching from Drs. Heady and Nutter, and the other guys on the team were brilliant, so we probably should have expected to do well, even with our lack of experience as a team.”

What’s most impressive is Liberty’s margin of victory over the four schools they competed against. The two most impressive victories were against Charleston Southern (235-5), and VMI (255-15).

There are two types of questions in the quiz bowl, “toss-ups” and bonus questions. The team who answers the toss up question correctly gets the points and then also gets the opportunity to answer a bonus question which is worth even more points. Finley explains, “The questions for quiz bowl range across a wide variety of topics, from foreign policy and ancient mythology to sports and chemistry – even Strawberry Shortcake.”

Don’t think it sounds that hard? Well, think again. Here’s a sample question just to give you a taste of the knowledge needed for this game.

“The first great work of English prose, this ancient document is the most important source of English history for the last two centuries of the first millennium. Compiled by numerous individuals on the basis of earlier sources, this record begins in the fourth century and runs through the eleventh, with the longest entry recording the death of William the Conqueror, though it is more commonly associated with the reign of Alfred the Great. FTP, what is this famous work?” The correct answer is the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

Still don’t believe me? Try this one.

“Born in Rhode Island shortly after the end of the Revolution, he followed his father into the United State Navy, becoming a midshipman at the age of 14, seeing action on his father’s ship against France, and later in the Mediterranean during the war with Tripoli. Promoted to lieutenant at 18, he gained extensive experience commanding small gunboats, and during the War of 1812, built and organized the U.S. Naval presence on the Great Lakes. While leading his men to victory over the British on Lake Erie, he raised his famous flag, with the words, ‘Don’t give up the ship.’” That was Oliver Hazard Perry.

Think you’re ready for a quiz bowl? Go ahead and start your own team, or try out for Liberty’s team. Finley welcomes the challenge, “If I had a chance to say something to the other students, it would be this: If we’re going to be better next year, we’ll have to keep practicing. Get a team together, and come play us. There’s nothing quite like the tension and excitement of college Quiz Bowl.”

For more information on the Quiz Bowl you can contact Dr. James Nutter at jhnutter@liberty.edu.

Contact Victoria Friedrich at vlfriedrich@liberty.edu.

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