April 26, 2008
Arizona State University’s academic team competed fearlessly this weekend in the College Bowl National Championship Tournament winning nine out of 15 rounds and finishing seventh in overall standings. The ASU team, from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, had a slow start with early jitters but rallied in round three and dominated play by earning consecutive bonus points.
Team captain Carlos Ross was named one of the tournament’s eight All-Stars, with a 46.79 average in points per game. He came in fifth among 65 players. The top two players tied with an average 77.86 points per game.
Download Full Image
“We’re making a really strong showing to the best teams in the tournament. Even if we lost to them, they have been close matches,“ says Brian Gleim, the team’s coach and a graduate student in astrophysics in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration who has competed in past College Bowls.
In addition to Ross, a senior majoring in Japanese, playing for ASU were Erin Hutchinson, a senior majoring in history and global studies; Kenneth Lan, a freshman majoring in biology; and Eli Bliss, a graduate student who received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics this past December. Mike Rockwell, a senior majoring in political science and economics and the team’s alternate, also competed in three of the rounds.
“This being our first time back since the 1998-1999 season, we’re doing really well,” says Ross.
In the closest match of the day against the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ross sang “If I can turn back time” to answer a bonus question referring to Cher's hit song written by Diane Warren. That performance also earned Ross one of the “freeze frame awards” given at the end of the tournament to mark memorable moments.
Ross also slipped in with the correct answer at the buzzer to a zoology question beating the University of Wisconsin-Madison 270 to 265.
“Thank god it was a zoology question for Carlos,” says Hutchinson.
One of the most memorable moments came from team member Bliss during the round against Georgetown College. Bliss raised his hands in celebration and answered a bonus question with “Riemann Hypothesis.” The hypothesis was first formulated by Bernhard Riemann, and is one of the most famous and important unsolved problems in mathematics.
“I’ve been waiting for a question about the Riemann Hypothesis,” Bliss said. Hutchinson and Ross slapped him five in congratulations.
“That was our best match,” says Ross. ASU won 430 to 75 against Georgetown College.
The ASU team played the University of New Mexico in a tough match losing 240 to 370. The University of New Mexico was ASU’s only loss in the regional tournament in February, when ASU took top honors. UNM was selected for the national tournament as the only wild card team and went on to finish second in the national match-up against the University of Rochester.
“The University of New Mexico was a great team again,” according to Ross. It’s captain, Jason Zuffranieri, played for ASU in the College Bowl 10 years ago as an undergraduate student, majoring in chemical engineering and math. Zuffranieri, a graduate student at UNM majoring in statistics, also tied for the top spot among the tournament’s eight All-Stars.
“ASU was so good; the regional competition was a beating,” says Zuffranieri. “I think it’s great that ASU is here and competing again, they are a strong team this year. ASU, I think, is envied by other schools here for its support for intercollegiate academics.”
“As ASU continues to compete in the regional and national tournaments, we will get stronger. But we have plenty of room for improvement,” says Gleim.
“I think the quality level for the ASU team will increase every year,” says Hutchinson. “It’s been fun, I was happy to be part of the team.
“I first found out about this when I was studying abroad and saw it on the ASU home page. I thought ‘I can do this,’ so I tried out when I got back. I had no idea that we would go to nationals,” she says.
The College Bowl National Championship Tournament was held April 25-27 at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. Fifteen winning regional teams competed in a full round robin style tournament on April 26, followed by a four-team double elimination on April 27. Florida State University forfeited prior to the start of competition.
Other schools in the tournament were last year’s national champion University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Washington University-St. Louis, Ball State University, Providence College, Western Oregon University, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Seton Hall University, Pomona College, Rice University, Ohio State University and University of Rochester.
The University of Rochester went into the final round with a 14-1 record and won the national championship title. UNM finished second, with the University of Minnesota taking third and Ohio State University fourth.
The last time ASU played in the National Championship Tournament in 1998-1999, it finished sixth, with a 9-5 win-loss record. This year, competition began with the ASU Academic Bowl, a fierce competition among 16 of ASU’s college and schools, held on the Tempe campus. The final rounds were broadcast on Eight/KAET TV. Information about the ASU tournament is at www.asu.edu/academicbowl.
More information about the College Bowl, including scores and stats from this weekend’s play, is at www.collegebowl.com.
Erica Velasco, erica.velasco">mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences