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Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering wins ASU Academic Bowl

October 10, 2013

Engineers defend Academic Bowl championship title

The eighth annual ASU Academic Bowl came to a riveting conclusion Thursday night on the Downtown Phoenix campus, when the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering defeated the W. P. Carey School of Business in the final round, picking up $24,000 in scholarship money to be divided between its players and alternates, and holding on to their championship title.

The winning team included players Wes Fullmer, John Ernzen (captain), Rohan Murty, Grayson Stanton and Prad Kadambi. 

The two finalist teams were well matched and both had a mission: Engineering wanted to defend its championship title and Business wanted their first taste of Academic Bowl victory. 

Proving their prowess in everything from literature and geography to chemistry and math, reigning champions Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and six-time Academic Bowl finalist W. P. Carey School of Business faced off against each other three times Thursday night – recording a paper-thin close score of 135-110 (Business) in the winners semifinal round and a score of 175-100 (Engineering) in the first of the two final rounds. 

Second-place W. P. Carey School of Business takes home $10,000 in scholarship money. The team was comprised of players Kevin Risser, Jacob Pruitt, Stephen Bergauer, Mitch Andreas, Brandon Vincent and David Ludwick.

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication – a two-time Academic Bowl finalist – was the first team to be eliminated from the semifinals after losing to the W. P. Carey School of Business (150-90) in the first matchup of the night and later to the School of Letters and Sciences in the losers matchup of the semifinals (250-20).

Newcomers School of Letters and Sciences showed impressive skill and speed for a first-time finalist team at the Academic Bowl, however it was not enough to advance to the finals. In the end, the team came in at third place – not bad for their first trip to the final four. Taking home $5,000 in scholarship money to be divided among its players, the School of Letters and Sciences team was comprised of Jonathan Velez, Julian Garcia, Raymie Humbert, Sean Madden and Collin Stevens.

Engineering appeared visibly jumpy for the majority of the night – indicative of the reputation they had to protect. They often lurched on the board like a freight train at the beginning of each match, knowing their U.S. constitution with the same fervor as their 19th-century French writers (Guy de Maupassant, anyone?).

Business was no shrinking violet though; W. P. Carey held its own, going point for point with Engineering – toss-up for toss-up – confident in their wealth of knowledge on world literature and history and Greek mythology.

Like a well-played tennis match, the teams returned each other's points – whirling through a dizzying storm of questions covering everything from NBA players to chemical elements to the names of international organizations. When Engineering missed, Business cleaned up – and vice-versa. Anatomy, check. Pop culture, check. Both teams showed impressive knowledge recall and speed to boot. 

Though the competition was fierce, Engineering managed to pull ahead in the second half of the championship match to clinch it 230-75. Their Academic Bowl title was theirs to keep.

This marks the third year the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering has won the ASU Academic Bowl.

This year was the first in which the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences did not compete in the semi-final and final rounds of the bowl. CLAS dominated the competition between 2007 and 2011, taking home the championship trophy every year, until Engineering dethroned them in 2012.

Hundreds of students apply each year to compete in the ASU Academic Bowl – launched in 2006 – and each college chooses its team independently. The Academic Bowl was the brainchild of Virgil Renzulli, vice president of public affairs, as a way to showcase some of the university's best and brightest students in an internal competition. 

Barry G. Ritchie, vice provost for academic personnel, moderated the semi-final and final rounds of the ASU Academic Bowl. 

Be sure to catch all the excitement, rivalry and drama by watching it on Eight, Arzona PBS at 3 p.m. On Sunday, Oct. 20.