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Trivia Reigns at College Bowl Practice Tourney

By Michael Saginaw
Staff Reporter

If an ambulance, fire engine, police car, and mail truck all stop at a four-way intersection at the same time, who has the right of way?

College Bowl teams from seven colleges gathered at MIT Saturday to answer that and hundreds of other trivia questions. Students from the Harvard D team, which won the tournament, correctly stated that the mail truck has the right of way.

Teams representing MIT, Harvard University, Boston University, Brandeis University, Williams College, Dartmouth College, and Brigham Young University competed at this practice meet, which was not part of the national College Bowl tournament.

The MIT A team beat Boston University and Williams to win two matches out of six, and the MIT B team beat Brandeis to win one match out of seven.

By the end of the day, Harvard teams filled all four semifinal slots. In the final match, the Harvard D team defeated the Harvard B team, and both finalist teams were awarded trophies.

The composition of the teams competing on Saturday was different in many cases from that of teams competing in the actual tournament. For example, Harvard's players were distributed differently than they would be in a competition.

"People don't want us to participate in the national tournament this year, because we're beating everyone," said one member of the Harvard team.

The practice meet was a good chance for young members of the MIT team to compete. Tina Chen '93, Matthew W. McLeod '95, Edward M. Grauman '96, and Erica Jonietz '96 competed as the MIT A team, with Jason Sugg '96 as an alternate.

The MIT B team was composed of four freshmen: Vijay Kasturi, Salil S. Pitroda, Anand R. Radhakrishnan, and David P. Sun. "It's a learning experience for us freshmen. We enjoy participating," said Radhakrishnan.

Interestingly, the team from BYU flew from Utah to Boston for this practice tournament. "Proportional to other teams, we have a lot of funding," said Bill Atkinson of the BYU team. The BYU team won five matches out of seven.

The questions are written by College Bowl team members at universities not participating in the tournament. For example, the questions read in the final match were written by students at the University of Pennsylvania.

The questions are supposed to be diverse. However, "the questions are biased towards literature and history," Kasturi said. He added that he would have liked more science and math questions.

In each match, a moderator asks toss-up questions for two 8-minute periods, separated by a short halftime. The team which correctly answers the toss-up question gains 10 points, and that team gets an additional bonus question worth 20, 25, or 30 points to answer.

In the spring, there are regional tournaments among the 15 college bowl regions in the country. Winners from each region and one wild card team compete nationally.