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Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering Maroon Team defends title, wins 2013 Academic Bowl

The Ira A Fulton School of Engineering Maroon team bumped fists yet again and their opposition's faces fell. This signaled that the team had answered yet another question correctly in the 2013 Academic Bowl Thursday at the Downtown campus.

Biomedical engineer John Ernzen, a member of the team, said the academic bowl celebrates many different realms of knowledge.

"Not just what you study in school, but also that there's value in learning about pop culture, and politics, and works of art, things like that," he said.

The questions covered everything, from Shakespeare to sports, from symphonies to “Paranormal Activities” and presidential quotes.

The 2013 Academic Bowl consisted of three days of competition, 16 teams from across ASU campuses and hours of training for the chance to hoist the trophy and win scholarship money.

The rules and point system is simple: two teams compete at a time. A toss-up question is asked, and any player from either team is allowed to “buzz in” and answer it. If correct, the team receives 10 points and the chance to answer three bonus questions for 10 extra points each.

If incorrect, the opposing team has a chance to answer the question. If buzzed in before the moderator completed the question, a missed question would result in a loss of five points.

The Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering Maroon, the reigning champions, were back to defend their title. Joining Ernzen was ­­­electrical engineering sophomore Wesley Fullmer, chemical engineering sophomore Pradyumna Kadambi, chemical engineering freshman Rohan Murty and civil engineering junior Grayson Stanton.

Kadambi said that winning doesn’t come down to memorizing every fact.

“(There is) a set of questions that the quiz bowl always asks,” he said. "If you get those down, you can basically do well in almost any academic bowl round.

This majority of the team has been working together for more than a year, which has given them plenty of time to study the questions and learn clues to answering correctly.

“That’s where a lot of our first sentence buzzes come in,” Fullmer said. “Not necessarily us knowing all about the subject, but just knowing these clues.”

Only four teams remained by Thursday's final round. The Engineering Maroon team, the School of Sciences and Letters, The W.P. Carrey School, and The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication faced off.

The Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication was quickly dispatched in a double eliminations series, and after beating this team, the School of Letters and Sciences faced off against the reigning champions for the second time in the evening.

This matchup resulted in the same outcome as the first between the School of Letters and the Engineering Maroon team. The Engineering team got the early lead and never looked back, winning with a score of 320-25.

“All of us actually had a really great round that time,” Kadambi said. “That put us in the frame of mind that we weren’t afraid to buzz in early, weren’t afraid to try to get the points.”

This mindset helped them tremendously going into the finals.

“It’s so much of a mental game,” Ernzen added. “If you’re not staying confident you’re getting nervous. If you’re getting anxious, you’re not going to feel as ready to answer.”

It was not an easy path to the championship round. The W.P. Carey School of Business Team, led by economics sophomore Jacob Pruitt, was prepared to fight.

In an earlier round of the evening, the W.P. Carey team delivered the Engineering team its first loss of the competition.

Kadambi said that his team realized they had to keep playing their game and not let the loss affect them.

The two teams faced off in the finals. The Engineering team had a loss already, so a single defeat would send them home in second place. The business team was undefeated.

An intense battle raged through the following 15 minutes, but the engineering team grabbed a late lead and held on to it. They won that round 175-100.

This confidence boost accelerated the reigning champions forward. They answered the first question correctly and continued to surge forward, winning the final round with a score of 230-75.

They won glory and defended their title, but the members of the squad also won $24,000 in scholarship money.

Second place didn’t go home empty handed either.

Each contestant on the W.P. Carey School of Business team got a $2,000 scholarship. Jacob Pruitt, the captain, said that the second place finish went beyond that.

“I think that we’re all taking away a victory for the W.P. Carey School, because this is the first time the W.P. Carey School has ever gotten second in the academic bowl,” Pruitt said.

It brings confidence into the next season of the academic bowl as well.

“All of our team members are returning, and we’re preparing for bringing home the cup next year,” he said.


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