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Rutgers Academic Team competes in 2 national quiz bowl tournaments

Rutgers students recently competed in the 2022 Intercollegiate Championship Tournament (ICT), which consisted of buzzer-based questions about a variety of subjects. – Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

In the past two weeks, the Rutgers Academic Team has competed in two national quiz bowl competitions, including the 2022 Intercollegiate Championship Tournament (ICT), where the team placed 25th in its division. 

Team captain Collin Ace, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said he was proud to see Rutgers compete well against other formidable teams during the competition.

“There were a lot of close matches — there were a lot of matches that we outperformed ... I was very happy with it all.”

A quiz bowl tournament typically consists of buzzer-based questions about different subjects, according to ICT’s rules of play. A round of the quiz bowl is played in teams of four, although only one person can answer per question asked.

Alexis Terman, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore and Rutgers Academic Team member, said that in a 20-question round, the majority of the questions revolve around the “big three” subjects: science, history and literature.

She said that four questions are typically allocated to each of these subjects while the rest of the questions center around subjects such as visual and auditory fine arts, geography, current events, religion, philosophy and “track,” which revolves around popular culture.

Terman said different players in a team can specialize in different subjects, with the Rutgers team including a biology specialist, Joelle Smart, who is a graduate student in the School of Arts and Sciences, and a history specialist, Terman. Regardless of players’ individual play, Terman said quiz bowl is still a team sport.

“When you get to the higher levels, it is all about how well you communicate with your team ... and how well (you can) understand everyone else's specialties,” she said. “A lot of people think of it as ... a bunch of individuals who just happen to be on a team, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

When it came to qualifying for the ICT itself, Terman said the road was challenging, especially when the team had to compete in the Northeast sectional championship tournament (SCT).

Despite Terman’s team being down one of its members, the team still managed to qualify for the ICT, she said. Ace said the team placed in the top 10 percent of the sectional competition.

Terman said the group experienced further difficulties when forming travel plans to the ICT, with Rutgers only approving travel to the tournament in Chicago a week before the team's departure.

Emily Knapp, a Mason Gross School of the Arts first-year student and a member of the team’s club portion, did not compete in the tournament but was happy that the team qualified for the ICT.

“I'm so happy for (Ace). I feel like, especially in his last year as our president, to be able to go to Nationals and finish off the year with a bang is so incredible,” she said. “I go to a meeting, and it's just like ‘wow, these people are incredibly smart, incredibly talented and so nice and welcoming,’ so I'm so happy for them and for our team.”

After competing in the ICT on April 1 and April 2, the Rutgers Academic Team also competed in the Academic Competition Federation Nationals competition this past weekend, where the team placed 10th in the second division.

Knapp said she hopes more people in the Rutgers community know about the team and its accomplishments. Additionally, she said she hopes that University administration can invest more into the team, especially because the group is nationally ranked.

Knapp said she especially appreciates the welcoming environment that the team cultivates during its practices and meetings, especially because academics does not necessarily always lend itself to team bonding.

“I always love going to practice, even if I get no questions right or I don't have an answer to any questions,” she said. “It's just so great to be in that kind of environment where everyone is supporting each other, and we all just want to see the best for each other and for our team.”

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