Sun Devils bowl team places 12th at national competition

Published On:
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
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The Sun Devil Quiz Bowl club team did better than its members expected at the club’s first National Academic Quiz Tournament competition in Dallas last weekend.

ASU placed 12 out of 32 in its division, and members are proud of their accomplishments, said Kenneth Lan, a member of the team. Also, since this is ASU’s first year competing, Lan, a biological science and bioengineering sophomore, said other schools had an advantage over ASU, though the team still won seven games out of 13.

“The Sun Devil Quiz Bowl student organization is new [this academic year], and teams from other schools have had [organizations] a lot longer than ASU has,” Lan said. “We did a lot better than we thought we would.”

Team member Erin Hutchinson, a history and global studies senior and State Press arts and entertainment reporter, agreed that the team did better than she expected.

“We left the tournament with a winning record, which is a victory for us,” she said “We had a good time, and we played as well as we could have.”

And though the team had fun at the competition, it was difficult at times, she said, especially playing many games in a row.

“We played six games in a row,” Hutchinson said. “It was hard being sharp and staying on the ball, because you get really tired.”

Losing games that had close scores was tough to deal with, she said, especially because some games came down to only a few questions.

Team coach Brian Gleim agreed that some losses were harder to take than others but said he is proud of the team he has mentored this year.

“I was impressed. I thought they did very well,” he said.

Gleim, an astrophysics graduate student, said in addition to being at the tournament for support, he volunteered to help run the tournament. His work behind the scenes allowed him to observe other team’s strengths and weaknesses, he said.

“I saw that there were strengths that ASU has that even the best teams have as weaknesses,” Gleim said, like having members with a wide variety of interests able to answer questions about a span of subjects.

Gleim said he thinks the first year of the competition was successful, but two team members are graduating in May. He said he is encouraging students who are interested to get involved in the Sun Devil Bowl student organization, as quiz bowl tournaments have something for everyone because competitions include a range of topics.

“Quiz bowl is not one tournament — it’s an overarching style,” Gleim said. “Though some tournaments are general knowledge, some are very specific.”

He said though many students believe in order to compete they need to be proficient in all areas of study, though that is not the case. Some tournaments are exclusive to certain genres, like sports trivia or literature.

Interested students can get involved in quiz bowl competitions at ASU by inquiring by e-mail at

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