By Allison Radis
This February, the first Ohio University College Bowl team since 1989 competed and placed in a regional tournament. Hosted at Albion College in Albion, Mich., the team went head-to-head against schools ranging from Division III to Big Ten competitors. Out of 16 opponents, Ohio University tied for third in the region and ended the tournament in fourth place after a tiebreaker.
In addition to the fourth place finish, team captain Dennis Butcher, a freshman, finished fourth overall in individual scoring and received numerous votes for best male player in the tournament. Team member Shane Tilton, a graduate student, placed in the top 40 for individual scorers.
Teammate Tommy Segi applauded Butcher's efforts, "Dennis was on fire. He got us out of so many tight spots and always came through with an answer. It was unreal."
Ohio University boasted an 11-4 record at Albion. Amazingly, the team was formed only one month before the tournament. Meeting every Monday night in Baker University Center under the direction of coach Dave Peffer, the team competed against each other in a game setting.
"We needed to become accustomed to the rules of the game, the style of questions and even getting used to buzzing in," said Tilton. "We felt that replicating college bowl games, complete with buzzers and scorekeepers, during practice was our best strategy."
Colleges from across the nation have participated in College Bowl for years. Ohio University's team was reformed this year after incoming freshmen displayed a keen interest for a version of College Bowl they played in pre-college.
"[Baker Center Associate Director] Tim Hogan formed a trivia-style game show for Precollege. It was a hit," said Peffer. "Tim saw how great the interest level was so he approached me to be the coach. Soon after, we held tryouts to determine who our top five competitors would be. Everything moved fast, but in the end I feel that we were very successful. We can't wait to compete again next year."
College Bowl, "the Varsity Sport of the Mind," is a nationwide event that showcases some of the brightest and most academically savvy students from respective schools. Teams are composed of five students, four competing students and an alternate. If desired, one graduate student may participate on the team. Games are divided into two eight-minute halves timed with a running clock.
Members of each team buzz in individually when they know the correct answer to a "toss-up" question asked by the moderator. A bonus question is asked if the individual answers the question correctly. During a bonus question, the team is allowed to discuss the answer. During the toss-ups, they are not.
"The key is knowing when you know the answer," explained Segi. "You need to make a fast decision and go with it. Game are won and lost by the buzzer. It's intense."
The Ohio University College Bowl Team hopes to host the tournament, which consists of more than 150 student participants from schools across the nation, in 2006.
Allison Radis is a student employee in University Communications and Marketing.