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From L-R, Andrew Hart, Andrew Bockover, Rob Carson and Meredith Johnson. Front, Ezra Lyon.

The U's latest College Bowl champs celebrate their victory. Back row, l-r: Andrew Hart, Andrew Bockover, Rob Carson and Meredith Johnson. Front: Ezra Lyon holds their trophy.

Riddle me this

U team wins College Bowl championship

by Kristi Goldade

May 11, 2007

Andrew Bockover does not start every morning with a power shake and a thousand trivia questions. He does, however, get a kick out of trivia. Bockover, a history and political science senior, is captain of the U's winning College Bowl team. Last weekend the five-member University of Minnesota College Bowl team won the College Bowl National Championship in Los Angeles, defeating the University of Southern California (USC) on its own turf.

"It's the feeling of accomplishment you get when you do well," says Bockover. "You feel great not only from winning, but from being able to beat everyone else in the room on a question."

Bockover joined forces with Meredith Johnson, a linguistics junior, computer science freshman Robert Carson, undeclared freshman Andrew Hart, and Erza Lyon, a graduate student in ecology, evolution, and behavior. 2007 marks the sixth year the U has taken the national title; previous wins came in 1984, 1987, 1989, 2004, and 2005.

College Bowl is a question-and-answer game of general knowledge and quick recall. Topics span history to geography, with sports and pop culture in between. Colleges across the country compete in this wits-and-speed challenge during the academic year, with regional winners advancing to the national tournament each spring.

Here is a sampling of questions from past Championships:

> The site: Kiowa, Kansas. The date: June 1, 1900. The speech began: "You're all Saturn-faced, beak-nosed donkey bedmates of Satan."
Name the speaker, debuting a form of uncivil protest she called 'hatchetation.'

> Most of the eye's retina handles peripheral vision. Only a tiny area in the center of the retina at the back of the eye is responsible for clear central vision.
What is the three-syllable name for that small area?

> Who was this pioneer of America's post-war electric blues, a Chicago artist nicknamed for the dirty creek he played in as a child?

Answers: Carry Nation, macula, Muddy Waters or McKinley Morganfield

Sixteen teams competed this year in the double-elimination playoffs. Minnesota beat Baylor University and USC to secure a spot in the finals. USC came back with a win over Williams College for a final match-up with Minnesota. In the first round of playoffs, USC shocked Minnesota.

"They beat us handily the first game," says Bockover. "So going into the second game, we were already nervous."

USC opened the second game with a 120-point lead, which Minnesota answered to tie up the match. In the second half USC again led the game, but the Gophers charged back, tying the score with only two-and-a-half minutes remaining. USC tried to recover, but couldn't. Final score: Gophers 330, USC 295.

"It's rewarding to see the results of our hard work--we practice six hours a week, compete many weekends a year, and quiz each other while traveling," says Johnson, the team coordinator. "I think our success has much to do with knowing one another well. We are fortunate to be so closely knit."

Lyon, the lone grad student on the team, was named to the tournament all-star team, an honor reserved for the eight highest individual scorers. Lyon, averaging 72 points per game, ranked fourth and received a plaque for his "outstanding ability."

The U's College Bowl team is a registered student group, open to players of all skill levels. Practices are held twice weekly in Coffman Union. The team welcomes new members.