MIT Beats Harvard in Regional College BowlBy A. Arif Husain
A five-person MIT academic team defeated the defending national champions from Harvard University Sunday to win the New England Regional College Bowl Championship.
The victory qualifies the MIT team as one of 16 teams which will compete in the National Championship at Arizona State University in late April.
The five team members - Jason B. Sugg '96, Peter W. McCorquodale G, James W. Coffin '96, Ryan R. Scranton '97 and Dom A. Ricci '99 - were chosen from over 100 students who competed in an intramural tournament over Independent Activities Period.
College Bowl, whose slogan is "The Varsity Sport of the Mind," is a national organization which sponsors academic question-and-answer tournaments based on material from history, literature, mathematics, and the sciences.
"The New England region is widely recognized as one of the toughest in the nation, and winning here requires great speed, depth of knowledge, and teamwork," said advisor and coach James W. Bales PhD '91. "I am very, very proud of what this team has done."
MIT has qualified for national competition only three times in the last eight years, finishing seventh in 1988 and second in 1990. MIT won the National Championship in 1992.
The Campus Activities Complex co-sponsored the IAP tournament; MIT will be sponsoring the team's trip to Arizona this year.
MIT prevails against strong field
The two-day regional competition, which culminated in MIT's final round victory, began with 15 teams from around the northeast, including perennially strong teams from Dartmouth College, Williams College, and Boston University.
The teams were divided into two divisions with each team playing every other team in its division. The top two teams from each division advanced to the semi-finals, where MITjoined BU, Harvard, and Dartmouth.
Each match consisted of two seven-minute halves. A toss-up question worth ten points was read, and players from either team could buzz in to answer the question independently. A correct answer then qualified a team to answer a bonus question worth between 20 and 30 points, which team members were allowed to confer on.
"Success requires a trade-off between speed, to beat the opponents out on the toss-ups, and depth of knowledge, to maximize the points scored on bonuses," Bales said.
The semi-final and final matches were played in best-of-three series. MIT shut out Dartmouth in the semi-finals with two straight wins of 420-180 and 255-240.
MIT lost to Harvard in the first finals match with a score of 170-320. But the team turned around to win the next match with a score of 330-105, tying the series and forcing a third finals match for only the first time since 1992.
Answering nine toss-ups to Harvard's two, and scoring over 80 percent of the bonus questions, MIT landed a clear victory with a score of 350-180 in that third match, Bales said.
"We lost our first round, which was demoralizing, but we managed to pull ourselves back together to go all the way," said Sugg, who was the team captain.
MIT College Bowl holds weekly meetings Tuesday evenings in 1-136. Practices are open to all interested students, Bales said.