U food science bowl team buzzes way into nat’l contest

Cati Vanden Breul

The University’s food science college bowl team won the North Central regional competition at Iowa State University on Saturday.

The team defeated Iowa and Kansas State universities to continue the success of the 2004 University of Minnesota team, which won the regional competition last year and went on to win nationals.

The University of Minnesota is the only school to win the bowl three times, with victories in 1994, 2002 and 2004.

Six teams were scheduled to compete in the North Central regional competition this year, but three dropped out.

“Minnesota really whipped the other teams; they were definitely the clear winners,” said Laura Colby, North Central area representative for the Student Association of the Institute of Food Technologists, the organization that sponsored the bowl.

Gerry Schamberger, a postdoctoral food science student and member of last year’s winning team, said he was surprised at how well this year’s squad performed.

Usually, the more experienced teams perform better, he said, but because students who win on the national team cannot compete again, this year’s team was all first-time competitors.

“I was really surprised with the first-year win,” Schamberger said. “They did very well.”

Team member and graduate student Shiva Garimella said he wasn’t expecting the team to do as well either.

“We were the underdogs,” Garimella said. “We really just wanted to keep up the name they built.”

Schamberger and graduate student Rohit Kapoor, a member of the 2002 team, served as coaches for the team.

“Other schools have faculty coaches; it’s really fun to have it all student-run,” Schamberger said.

The team practiced twice a week for two hours, Kapoor said.

Team members made up questions for one another and practiced buzzing in.

“There’s really a lot of involvement and dedication,” he said.

Winning the competition has its perks, team members said.

“You gain a lot of confidence, and it’s great for resume building,” team captain Deena Strohman said.

The team will take some time off and then begin practice for the national competition July 16 in New Orleans.