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2008 Spring Issue 2 (April 18, 2008)

Division II Quizbowl Team clinches national title; Ryan ‘09 top undergraduate scorer

April 18, 2008
By Liz Crowley

Carleton College made an impressive showing in last weekend’s National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) Intercollegiate Championship in St. Louis; the Freshman Quiz Team of Austin Bell, Michael Servis, Tom Sullivan and Andreas Stoehr took the Division 2 novice title. Garret Ryan ’09 proved the top intercollegiate undergraduate scorer and the fourth highest scorer in the entire competition. Carleton’s third team, Chris Burke ‘10, Emily Kawaler ‘10, and Nathaniel Snell ‘10, Marc Boyce ’11, performed admirably and tied for 14th in the Division 2 competition.

Carleton has a history of success at the NAQT. Coach Hillemann reports that “Carleton is only one of three schools—the other are the University of Chicago and the University of Florida—to have placed a Division 1 field all twelve years the tournament has been held.” A remarkable feat that will surely continue.

Carleton proved a force to be reckoned with throughout the two-day competition, reaching the championship final with a 12-1 record. The final match pitted the Carleton novice team against the University of Western Ontario. The proud coach offered an exciting play by play in the decisive match that took the Division 2 title. “The Carleton team got off to a quick start, taking a 130 to 50 lead, but Western Ontario roared back to score the next 105 points, and held on to take the first game 245-170. But in the decisive Game 2 of the final Carleton left nothing to chance, taking a 180-15 lead into halftime, and ending with a 310-170 victory.”

Entering the championship with an undefeated record in sectionals, the Division 2 team faced Carleton University of Canada. The teams raised the stakes and suggested that the losing team change their school’s name. “Hillemann worried about how he was going to break the news if (the) guys lost.” Luckily, Carleton College won the face off by an impressive margin—335-35.

In Division 1 competition, Carleton’s team entered as the defending national champions. Trevor Burnham ‘08, Richard Leavelle ‘08, Ted Kuhn ’09 and Ryan finished sixth in the undergraduate competition and 15th overall. Harvard, the team that Carleton’s Division 1 team beat for the National Title in 2007 ultimately took top honors within the division. Division 1 secured victories over Oklahoma, UCLA, Dartmouth, Florida, Florida State, and Virginia Commonwealth, according to Hillemann.

The road to the championship came after an “outstanding” regular season, reports Hillemann. “Sixty-four teams qualified for the intercollegiate championships—each in Divisions 1 and 2—with outstanding performances at sectional championships in February, and Carleton was one of only four schools to qualify three teams. (The others were Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford.)”

According to Division 2 member Stoehr, Carleton’s Quizbowl contingent relies on exhaustive training that relies on practice and Wikipedia. “For practice, Eric reads us questions for 2 1/2 hours twice a week- definitely the best way to prepare, as questions recur over and over- and otherwise, I look over Wikipedia, reviewing the works of authors I don't know well, or else look at the convenient lists Eric has assembled of authors/works, works/characters, artists/works, etc.”

Stoehr also emphasizes the essential importance of teamwork in preparing for competition. Each member tends towards an area of expertise that range from geography to literature, art, sports, physics, math and popular culture. “We work effectively together,” Stoehr says, “each of us filling in holes in the others’ knowledge. We could not be the super-freshman if our bodies of knowledge did not fit together so well.”

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