Kyra Wood – The Corsair
PJC’s Brain Bowl team placed fourth out of eight competing teams assembled from all over the country to participate in the Brain Bowl Nationals, Feb. 26-27.
Nationals took place at Chipola College in Mariana, a frequent National Academic Quiz Tournament host.
PJC has attended nationals a total of five times within the past 10 years.
“Congratulations to the Brain Bowl team for all of their hard work and dedication. Team Captain TJ Gunn, Saul Horacek, Ryan Chappell and Will Strain did an excellent job this year,” Ken McAferty said, brain bowl coach of 27 years.
Horacek scored within the top 10 out of 60 players at both the qualifying and national competitions. Specifically, he placed seventh at the national qualifying tournament.
NAQT is one of two definite organizations the Brain Bowl team prepares for.
All teams had to pass in a qualifying tournament in order to go on to Nationals. Six regional qualifying tournaments took place all over the country. PJC attended the one in Tallahassee where we placed third out of eight competing teams.
Almost every competition involves traveling. Most activity takes place in Mariana, but Tallahassee, Panama City and Greenville, Ala. are a few consistent locations. The host facility usually rotates between frequent participating campuses. PJC also hosts an occasional tournament for NAQT as well.
According to McAferty the team is “always looking for more competition opportunities.”
Any student with a GPA of a 2.0 is eligible to participate in tournaments, including dual-enrollment students.
“You don’t have to be a genius,” McAferty said. “We had a student that didn’t quite make it the first time they tried out, but they kept coming back to practices. The next year they were one of the team’s best players.”
Brain Bowl is a collaborative team that practices for at least two hours a week starting from the September tryouts through the following spring semester. Team members are asked to dedicate time during both semesters consecutively in order to partake in tournament activities. Also, students must be enrolled in six credit hours in order to participate.
Not only are students benefited sociologically by the team jeopardy experience, but financially participants can earn up to $750 worth of tuition money as well.
Questions range from details concerning the Spanish Armada, economical ethics, famous literary symbols and mathematical tangents. No one person is expected to excel in all subjects but equal training is given to all.
Outside of the two hours a week of practice with McAferty and 27 year long assistant Tom Bailey, small side assignments are given to students to research. The assignments are meant to challenge them, which results in a “more well-rounded education in the classroom,” McAferty said.
“Brain Bowl gives [students] the chance to work with highly motivated people and to test their skills while building self-confidence.”`
Anyone interested in participating should drop by the English Department, Ken McAferty’s office Building 4, Room 409, or call 484-1435.