National Academic Quiz Tournament: Centre 325, Stanford 60
April 15, 2010 By Leigh Ivey
When Centre College students want to make something happen, they take action. Two years ago, when Joe Wells ’12 discovered that the College had no organized quiz bowl team, he created one, and in only its second year, the team appeared at the National Academic Quiz Tournaments’ Intercollegiate Championship.
Last weekend, Wells, Ryan Essinger ’13, Ian Hazel ’13 and Garett Patterson ’12 represented Centre at the prestigious event. The Centre team placed 17th of 32 teams with a notable 325-60 win over Stanford, and Wells was named an all-star for finishing eighth in the field in individual scoring.
“To qualify for nationals, we had to have a high enough ‘D-Value’ from our sectional site,” Wells says. “National Academic Quiz Tournaments and the Association of College Unions International (ACIU) have an agreement to host sectional tournaments in each ACUI region, but to avoid prohibiting a ‘stacked’ region from getting fewer teams into the national field the D-Value algorithm is used to determine strength of schedule.”
Early in 2010, Centre placed third in the sectionals but, because the team had a higher score per game than the team placing second, the Centre team was awarded a slightly higher D-Value and was invited to the national tournament.
The tournament covers a wide array of subjects, including geography, pop culture, religion, mythology, visual arts, classical music, philosophy and more.
The "Big Three" subjects, though, “as they’re known in quiz bowl parlance, are literature, history and science,” Wells says.
Knowing they would be offered questions from such a vast variety of disciplines, the Centre students dedicated much time to preparing for the national event.
“To prepare, there are four things that we do as a team,” Wells says, “pay attention in our classes, practice with old quiz packets, host tournaments to watch more experienced teams play on difficult questions and write our own questions for submission to other tournaments.”
Although he says that creating a Centre quiz bowl team took much effort, Wells is grateful for the opportunities that emerged from his dedication to helping the team persevere.
“Trips to quiz bowl tournaments are always fun,” he says, “and it’s great to compete against schools from outside of our region. Our preliminary group consisted almost entirely of teams Centre hadn't played yet this year, and this gave us a chance to go toe-to-toe with west coast or Ivy League teams. It’s nice to find inspiring ‘Cinderella stories’—for example, the community colleges who come to compete against some of the best institutions of higher learning in the country and Centre appearing at nationals in only its second year of having quiz bowl.”