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Seniors take eighth in College Bowl tourney

Emily Keebler | Monday, February 26, 2007

Team Hot Hand was quick to the buzzer this weekend, as the group of four Notre Dame seniors successfully competed in the College Bowl Regional Championship Tournament held on campus.

The team – Tommy Clarkson, Tim Dougherty, Tony Hardie and Dan McLaughlin – finished eighth out of 15 Illinois and Indiana teams participating in the “varsity sport of the mind.”

Dougherty is an Observer sports writer.

“It was a fun day and a half and a good test of knowledge,” Clarkson said. “Some of the teams we ran up against were pretty solid competition.”

The College Bowl and the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) administered the tournament, working closely with the Student Activities Office to arrange facilities, accommodations, entertainment and meals for participating students.

The College Bowl tournament pits four-member teams against each other, as they earn points by quickly and correctly answering trivia questions. Questions span a range of disciplines including history, literature, geography and sports.

“The questions are pretty varied. … You can’t rely on one person,” Clarkson said. “You have to work as a team.”

That teamwork began when the four students united last fall for the College Bowl Campus Program.

“I saw the poster in [O’Shaughnessy Hall] and thought it’d be a fun thing to do,” said Hardie, the team’s captain.

In the campus competition, Team Hot Hand finished first of the more than 30 teams competing at Legends, making it eligible for the regional tournament.

“We’re just having a good time,” said Clarkson, who credited risk-taking and relaxed attitudes for the team’s success at the campus level.

College Bowl rounds begin with toss-up questions worth 10 points. Students may not confer for these questions and race to buzz in before opponents.

“It’s intuition. You have to go with your first guess,” McLaughlin said about this round.

Bonus questions are assigned various point values and allow teams to work together within a time limit. Two eight-minute halves comprise each round.

Team Hot Hand opened strong, answering the first toss-up of round one and ultimately defeating the University of Wisconsin-Platteville squad 220-110.

The foursome next won a decisive 115-point victory over Wabash College and won in overtime over the University of Illinois-Chicago.

“It was definitely a positive experience. The competition is always fun,” Hardie said. “I think the questions were a lot more varied than you’d see on Jeopardy … a lot more pop culture and an emphasis on answering quickly.”

Notre Dame fell to the University of Illinois-Urbana, which went on to win the tournament, as well as to Valparaiso University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville for a final record of 3-3.

“It’s good to pick up girls when you tell them you’re a quiz bowl champion,” Clarkson said.