Quiz Bowl qualifies

Team to go to nationals

The Liberty University Quiz Bowl team placed fourth out of 13 teams in the National Academic Quiz Tournament (NAQT) Mid-Atlantic sectional held at Virginia Tech Feb. 8 and qualified for its first trip to the national Intercollegiate Championship Tournament (ICT) in Chicago March 28-29, according to Dr. Jim Nutter, Liberty’s quiz bowl coach.

Liberty (9-4) defeated teams such as the University of Virginia (345-175), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (310-205) and Davidson University (490-120) to earn an average of 364 points per game, according to the NAQT’s website. The team’s average score ranked 25th among the 103 teams in the nation and solidified an opportunity for Liberty to join the top 32 universities in the country at the ICT.

“It shows, I think, that we can compete with anybody academically,” Nutter said. “The sectional (tournament) covers five states, and of those five states we were top four, so I think it shows that we’re very strong academically and not just in the religion questions – not just in the Bible questions. We know our science. We know our literature, our history and our geography.”

At the national tournament, Liberty will have the opportunity to test its academic strength against teams such as Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago, according to the ICT’s website.

Nutter said he has wanted to compete against Ivy League schools for some time, and he is looking forward to the opportunity.

“It’s huge … that (some of) the schools we’re going to go up against are Ivy League,” Nutter said. “It’s the top tier, academically, of both colleges here in America and in Canada.”

According to Nutter, while his team will challenge some of the nation’s most academically recognized universities, Liberty will compete in the division two tournament, which only includes teams traveling to nationals for the first time.

“None of them have been to nationals before, so we’re all on the same level playing field,” he said.

According to Nutter, he believes his team has the ability needed to compete with some of the best teams in the country.

“From what other coaches and players have told me, it’s not the caliber of the school you have to worry about,” Nutter said. “It’s the caliber of the team … We’ve got the balance of four players … that are pretty much knowledgeable in all of the areas.”

Liberty’s team includes Catherine Hardee, a second-year graduate student majoring in history, Kaity Shondelmyer, a junior biochemistry major, Jon Bateman, a junior social sciences major, and Greta Hanks, an English major, who also specializes in the areas of geography and music, according to Nutter.

Nutter said Hardee has played a vital role in the team’s success, and he said he believes she will continue to do so at the national tournament.

“She just has knowledge in so many areas,” he said. “She’s a history major, but she is so well read,” he said. “I’m very proud of her, and I would like to send her out this way, on a positive note.”

For more information on the national tournament, visit NAQT.com/ict.

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