Release Date: March 22, 2012
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A team of four University at Buffalo trivia players will head to Chicago March 30 to take on other college teams in a national, invitation-only quiz bowl.
Hands clenching buzzers, they'll field questions on topics including music, literature, mythology, philosophy, geography, astronomy, quantum mechanics and more.
It's the first time that the UB academic quiz team has received an invitation to a national tournament, said Zach Pace, a physics and mathematics major who will be competing.
The accomplishment is impressive considering that the team is fairly new to the intercollegiate trivia circuit: The members are part of UB's Academic Bowl club, a student group that Pace founded in 2010.
In Chicago, the team will be among 32 battling it out at the National Academic Quiz Tournaments Division II nationals from March 30-31.
UB was the 24th-ranked team in a field of 131 eligible Division II teams this season, Pace said. (Division II teams have no players who have made it to a national tournament before, he explained).
Members of the media are invited to attend a team practice, complete with buzzers and fast-paced questioning, from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, March 23, in 111 Talbert Hall on UB's North Campus. Talbert Hall is building No. 24 in the yellow section of this map: http://www.buffalo.edu/buildings/maps/NorthCampus.pdf.
UB Academic Bowl has about 15 active members, but only four will represent the university in Chicago.
The UB students who will join Pace in the nationals are Matt Hill, a sophomore chemical engineering and mathematics major with a minor in music performance; Pratyush Joshi, a sophomore electrical engineering major; and John O'Brien, a freshman English major who had previous high school trivia experience.
Each team member has different areas of trivia expertise. Pace specializes in physics, non-classical mythology and European history. Hill is strong in chemistry, classical mythology and music. O'Brien is the resident literature and social science expert. And Joshi takes on questions in art and miscellaneous subjects.
Pace said Academic Bowl is refreshing and fun -- a chance to meet students from across the university, with a wide variety of interests.
"It's a part of the college experience that I think is neglected sometimes nowadays -- people are very connected to their majors," Pace said. "Academic Bowl adds a multidimensionality to the college experience."