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Liberal Arts and Sciences Academic Bowl victory to air on Arizona PBS

College reclaimed title after three years


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences wins Academic Bowl

After three years of defeat by Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences reclaimed the coveted Academic Bowl championship this year.

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October 30, 2015

After three years of defeat, Sonny Vo, a member of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Maroon team and graduating senior, finally helped beat the college’s rival in a pressure-packed trivia competition to reclaim the championship title.

“We were on cloud nine,” Vo, a biochemistry major, said.

Their victory in the final rounds of the Academic Bowl will air at 11 p.m. today, on Eight, Arizona PBS.

The annual Academic Bowl, a three-day competition that concluded on Oct. 8, pitted the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Maroon teams against each other in the final round. The fast-paced match of trivia tested the knowledge of both teams who were eager to claim the coveted championship title and scholarship money.

In the nine years of competition, Liberal Arts and Sciences and Engineering have traded the title back and forth, with Engineering holding the title for the past three years.

This year, the Liberal Arts and Sciences Maroon team — comprised of players Conner Wareing, Connor Vuong, Raymie Humbert, Vincent Bagnara and Vo — reclaimed their spot as the Academic Bowl champions, taking home $24,000 in scholarships.

“It was a test of perseverance,” said Vuong, the team’s sole freshman who’s majoring in biochemistry. “We were on the winner’s side of the finals, but lost our first match against Ira A. Fulton’s Maroon team. It was hard rebounding after we were down, but we managed to come back and win it.” 

The team had undergone several grueling study sessions to prepare for the competition, but they believe the key to their success was not necessarily the depth of knowledge but their ability to think broadly from their range of studies in the liberal arts and sciences, Vuong said.

“There’s a lot of variance in the questions asked, and you never know what’s going to come up,” said Humbert, a political science major who was a contestant in the past three Academic Bowls. “Everyone [on our team] had a different specialty. I’m a current events and politics junkie, so I knew a lot of those questions.”

History major Wareing was the team’s musical, art and literature guru while Vuong tackled the science-based questions and Vo showcased incredible speed on the buzzer.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Maroon team also had the advantage of having multiple veteran team members with three or more years of experience at the academic bowl. Humbert, Wareing and Vo competed on the same team the previous year.

“We had a lot of comradery and composure,” said senior Vo. “No one person carried the team, so it was really gratifying to win as a team.”

While the team enjoyed the win, the competition meant more than just scholarship money.

Vuong believes his preparation for the Academic Bowl will help him succeed in medical school based on the large amount of memorization needed in the field, which he plans to pursue after graduating.

For Humbert, the Academic Bowl was another way to satisfy his competitive side and show off the skills he’s learned in the School of Politics and Global Studies.

“It’s not just about winning, though it’s really fun when you do, it’s also about the learning experience,” Humbert said. “You know, meeting people and showing that we’re serious people doing serious academic studies.”

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