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CLAS team wins Academic Bowl

October 24, 2007

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dominated the last rounds of the competition to win the second annual ASU Academic Bowl. The winning team members swept the teams from the Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness and the W. P. Carey School of Business on Oct. 23.

The quick-witted, evenly matched team members, all graduates of local high schools in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and Phoenix, each won $4,500 scholarships in the final competition that took place in the studios of Eight/KAET. With majors ranging from math to Japanese, Erin Hutchinson, Carlos Ross, Ken Lan and Eli Bliss drew on their wide knowledge of history, biology, geography and pop culture.

The national-level competition questions came from the College Bowl championship program, a tournament that is held on campuses across the country.

The first match pitted Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) against Morrison, with Kwang-Wu Kim, dean of the Herberger College of the Arts, as moderator. CLAS correctly answered questions ranging from the amendment that gave women the right to vote, the legendary Princess Zelda of video games and the Hindu goddess Prithvi who turned herself into a cow.

After the first half the score was CLAS 220, Morrison 5. The Morrison team of Mark Chancerelle, Michael Zajas, Andrea McBurney and Michael Neider correctly named the Aleutian Islands as the island chain that extends the U.S. into the Eastern Hemisphere, but after a half-hour the score was still lopsided.

CLAS went on to name the University of Michigan as the school where President Gerald Ford played center on national champion football teams in 1932 and 1933, and they took the final victory 415 to 30.

The second semi-final match was a nail-biter, placing the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism against the W. P. Carey School of Business. Carey team members Derek Guizado, Rishi Mohnot, Aaron Oaks and Alexander Porter took an early lead, with a collaborative approach that drew on their shared knowledge.

The Cronkite team was more individualistic, buzzing in early with answers that weren’t always right. At halftime the score was Cronkite 60, Carey 195. Eventually, however, Cronkite team members Justin Adams, Joe Cox, Meghan Getz and Jordan Lapier got their footing.

They correctly answered questions about the flag of Ghana, Pan-Africanism, sports and OPEC. When they aced a bonus two-part question and then a toss-up question about Edgar Allan Poe, the Cronkite team pulled ahead with 240 against Carey’s 235, and the crowd went wild. But the Carey team correctly answered a toss-up about the national anthem of Belgium to win the match with a final score of 245 to 240.

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director of ASU Public Events, moderated the match.

When ASU President Michael Crow stepped to the podium to moderate the final match with the Carey team against CLAS, expectations were high that the competition would be close. But the well-rounded CLAS team took an early lead and dominated the match.

CLAS answered questions about music, literature, sports and historic provinces of Germany, but missed an easy bonus question on math. The Carey team scored its first 10 points on a toss-up question about the name of Anheuser Busch’s best-selling brand, but they missed a question about former slave Sojourner Truth. At the half Carey trailed 5 to 165.

With an audience filled with cheering fans for both sides, CLAS continued to dominate the second half. The Carey team brought their score to 45 points, but lost 10 by incorrectly answering two toss-up questions early. They rallied to bring their score up, but the final score was CLAS 355, Carey 75.

As runners-up, each Carey team member won a $1,000 scholarship. Alternate CLAS team members Mary Beth Hutchinson, Whitney Meshay, Mike Rockwell and Jimmy Scanlan also took home $1,000 scholarships.