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Notre Dame Quiz Bowl team advances to Intercollegiate Championship

| Monday, March 4, 2019

Showcasing their knowledge of topics ranging from Greek mythology to Civil War battles, the Notre Dame Quiz Bowl team went undefeated in the National Academic Quiz Tournaments Great Lakes Sectional, securing their spot in the 2019 Intercollegiate Championship. The Division II team competed against 17 other schools and is one of only 28 teams to be invited to the national competition.

“We knew we had a good shot at winning but we also knew we wanted to have a good time,” sophomore Ricky Rivera said. “You kind of have to treat it like every other tournament.”

Members of the team who qualified for the Intercollegiate Championship include sophomores Rivera, Alex Hymes, Nicholas Mungan and Spencer Brown and freshman Alexander Kuptel. The competition features a variety of different question categories including literature, science, music, geography and sports. Kuptel said he appreciated the diversity of interests among his teammates.

“It’s far better to have a team where each player has deep individual knowledge about a specific subject than a team where everyone is a generalist,” Kuptel said.

Mungan said the team encourages each other to follow their interests, especially when studying for classes or reading for pleasure.

“More serious teams would actually prescribe subjects for people to study but we don’t like to do that,” Mungan said. “Everybody just studies what they want to learn and what they love.”

The Quiz Bowl team meets for two hours twice a week to prepare for upcoming tournaments, running through practice questions and competing against each other to sharpen their skills.

Many members of the team have been involved in quiz bowl competitions since middle school. Each person has a unique reason for joining the team, including freshman Grace Ma.

“One of the main reasons I like Quiz Bowl is because you learn a lot of stuff in class but you don’t always get to apply the stuff you really care about or more obscure pieces of knowledge,” Ma said. “Classes can be pretty general but in Quiz Bowl, if you know detailed information, you get points for that. I really like that.”

Freshman Blaise von Ohlen said he admires the competitive aspect of quiz bowl and he enjoys the reward for his hard work and studying.

“There’s a really great payoff when you know something obscure and no one else knows it in the room,” von Ohlen said. “It’s a very rewarding feeling.”

During study breaks, senior and one of the team’s co-vice president Alaina Anderson said the team possesses natural chemistry and often feels like a family.

“We do a lot of bonding outside of practice,” Anderson said. “We go to Legends Trivia Nights and we all hang out afterward. We go out of our way to make it a very welcoming and friendly group.”

The team will arrive at the Intercollegiate Championship in Chicago on Saturday, April 6, with hopes of returning home with a victory, Rivera said.

“I can say we’re pretty confident,” Rivera said. “We have a mental toughness where we know we can beat anyone on the schedule.”

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