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The College retains its Academic Bowl title after sudden-death final round

Four college students hold a large trophy after winning the Academic Bowl
March 25, 2022

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ maroon team came out victorious in the 2022 ASU Academic Bowl, defeating the team from the W. P. Carey School of Business in a seven-round final with a score of 205–105 Thursday evening on the Tempe campus.

The annual Academic Bowl is a three-day event held in the Student Pavilion. Each 15-minute round features two four-person teams; there were 10 teams total.

A moderator asks two types of questions: “Toss-up” questions are worth 10 points each, and “bonus” questions are worth anywhere from 10 to 30 points. If each team correctly answers a toss-up, they will be awarded a bonus question.

The College’s championship team featured Malachi Vaughn, Grayson Billett, Ally Finkbeiner and Daniel Pace-Farr. On the line is bragging rights and scholarship prizes: The top four teams split $50,000 in scholarships, with the victors sharing $26,000 and the runners-up winning $13,000.

Four members of a quiz bowl team stand behind lecterns at a competition

The College's Maroon team members Malachi Vaughn (left) and Ally Finkbeiner watch as Daniel Pace-Farr and Grayson Billett answer a question in the 2022 ASU Academic Bowl on Thursday at the Student Pavilion. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences entered the sixth round with an advantage and was a victory away from being named champions, but the W. P. Carey School of Business forced a sudden-death seventh-round final.

Billett, a first-year student studying actuarial science, said he participated because he wanted to represent The College to the highest standards.

“This victory is amazing; it justifies everything I am doing here at ASU and what the school stands for — the values and the academic education they provide,” Billett said. “It’s just awesome that I was able to do this with my team.”

For Finkbeiner, a sophomore studying biological sciences (conservation biology and ecology) and economics, it was her first time participating. She said it was an unforgettable experience.

“I think the best part of this experience has been meeting new people, and it means a lot to be part of this team,” she said.

A college student behind a lectern scrunches up his face as he reacts to getting a question wrong

Jaik Havlick of the W. P. Carey School of Business team shows his frustration during Thursday evening's final round. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

Prior to the Academic Bowl, Finkbeiner had participated in school geography bees and wanted to experience a similar event like that at the college level.

“I just love being on stage, like getting your question right. You kind of get like a little thrill rush, and it really builds your confidence,” she said.

Due to the pandemic, there had not been an Academic Bowl the previous two years. The College had won the most recent Academic Bowl before that.  

Pace-Farr, a senior studying math and chemistry, had been part of the 2019 team that took home the grand prize. He said he was happy his team was able to “continue the legacy they set back in 2019.”

“I’m glad we were able to continue the program’s winning streak and that we could get everyone competing in a competitive format,” said Pace-Farr.

Finkbeiner said the victory following the hiatus meant a lot and that she hopes it will “encourage more people to join in future years.”

Two students fist-bump while standing behind lecterns.

A congratulatory fist-bump between Daniel Pace-Farr and Grayson Billett shows the victory is secured in the 2022 ASU Academic Bowl. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

The winning team’s preparation process consisted of doing weekly practices for two hours each session, testing one another’s knowledge and timing each question to get used to the pressure of the rounds. Pace-Farr introduced his fellow teammates to the quiz-bowl format.

Vaughn, a first-year student studying applied mathematics for the life and social sciences, said he prepared for this moment by “collecting facts his whole life and putting them to good use.”

“My favorite part is probably just the amount of questions I was being tested on, and so being able to test my knowledge in all kinds of different spheres,” said Vaughn.

Finkbeiner said she got to know her teammates’ strengths and weaknesses during each practice session and built a close connection with them.

The team looks forward to defending its title next year; until then, The College can enjoy its bragging rights.

Teams of students stand on a stage

The four finalist teams — one each from the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and two teams from The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — pose for a photo after the 2022 ASU Academic Bowl on Thursday at the Student Pavilion in Tempe. The top four teams split $50,000 in scholarships, with the victors sharing $26,000 and the runners up winning $13,000. Third place received $7,000 and fourth got $4,000. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

Top photo: The College's Maroon team victors (from left: Malachi Vaughn, Ally Finkbeiner, Daniel Pace-Farr and Grayson Billett) hold the President's Cup following the 2022 ASU Academic Bowl on Thursday at the Student Pavilion on the Tempe campus. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Maroon team took top honors in a sudden death face-off with the team from the W. P. Carey School of Business. Four-person teams of academic athletes competed against each other in fast-paced trivia rounds on topics ranging from political science to pop culture and everything in between. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

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