College Bowl teamheads to nationals

By answering questions, including which vice president was drunk at his inauguration and how to classify anthracite, the University’s College Bowl team won a spot in the national championship on Saturday.

College Bowl is a trivia game described as the “varsity sport of the mind.” Each team, which has four members and an alternate, competes against regional college teams. Nine teams participated in Saturday’s event.

The University’s three-time defending regional champions will travel to Montgomery, Ala., in April to face 16 teams in a bid for the national title and a $10,000 prize.

The team burned through the competition and remained undefeated for 11 rounds. The tournament was at Coffman Union and featured teams from Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota.

Dave Dorman, a health educator for Boynton Health Service, has coached the team for 17 years. He said the team practiced up to six hours a week all year.

“I get headaches,” Dorman said. “It’s stressful for me, but it’s not as stressful for the players.”

Team members said they were happy with their victory, but focused on their next goal.

“We’ll try to win nationals for the University,” team member Ray Anderson said. “We’re glad we get to show off our academic prowess.”

“We can prove our education is worth something,” team member Ryan Peterson said.

His teammate, Matt Sauter, is the group’s expert on “trash,” or popular culture.

He said he looks forward to the trip to Alabama, both for the tournament and to try local delicacies. Sauter said that when the team went to Pennsylvania last year he tried scrapple, which is boiled, ground leftover pig scraps with cornmeal and spices.

“They’re pretty balanced, and they have a chance (at the National title) for sure,” said Matt Marta, who was on three University national champion teams in the 1980s.

He also said the competition is a good alternative for students who are not athletically inclined.

“It’s fun to watch people for what you know instead of an athletic endeavor,” Marta said. “But if there was money involved there would probably be a lot more people watching.”

The activity can prepare students for a future in trivia games.

Former University College Bowl member Brian Weikle won $149,000 after winning five consecutive “Jeopardy” episodes last April.

“(College Bowl) definitely teaches you to train your brain to think quickly,” Weikle said.

He said his experience under pressure helped him forget the cameras and national audience.

“(The other contestants are) not thinking about the game; they’re wondering about their hair,” he said. “I didn’t have that problem.”