WKU Quiz Bowl team gearing up for new season

Anna Lawson

WKU graduate Nick Conder started the WKU Quiz Bowl team in November of 2009. Since then, the team has not only grown in number but placed tenth at the 2012 intercollegiate competition.

However, this success was not earned over night.

Conder recalled the team’s humble beginnings.

“We were quite bad when we started a few years back, and the goal of even qualifying for a national tournament was something that at times seemed a bit far-fetched,” said Conder, who is now a graduate research assistant at WKU.

A Quiz Bowl team is made up of four players. The questions are asked by a moderator and can vary from literature to science to art.

Many new players have joined the team this year, but they have experienced players from past semesters too. Due to their success at nationals, they are gaining a reputation throughout high schools.

“My favorite thing about our team is that we get to represent WKU in competition with other schools,” Conder said. “It makes me proud to represent my school, and I’m very proud of the victories we’ve achieved in the past few years.

“I don’t know if there are other teams at WKU who can say they beat teams from four SEC schools last season.”

Conder, along with Leitchfield senior Cole Phelps, Pikeville Gatton Academy senior Alex Malone, and Huntsville, Ala., sophomore Matthew Riggle competed together at the division two national competition last year.

Coach Guy Jordan said the competitiveness of Quiz Bowl rivals the intensity of athletics.

“This sport is serious,” Jordan said. “It’s not trivial or a game show. It’s an academic pursuit. It’s just as serious as football.

“This year we will have a strong team. We have everyone back from last year’s team, and new ones as well.”

Jordan played Quiz Bowl in college and met his wife through the sport. He was more than willing to coach the team when Conder asked him.

Last year, they missed the nationals competition by three or four spots. However, this year Jordan feels that the team has potential to advance far.

“We’ve got some players who are exploding,” said Jordan.

However, winning isn’t why the players love Quiz Bowl.

Radcliff senior Terence Donohue, the team president, likes that the team gives him an opportunity to travel and have a close group of friends.

“Being with the same people for so long has given the team a closeness and a sense of family,” Donohue said.

Conder said he enjoys using his intellect outside of the classroom.

“It allows me to use my talents in a competitive setting, which is similar to why an athlete enjoys playing sports,” he said. “I may not be seven-foot tall, able to bench press 500 pounds, or run the 40-yard dash in under 5 seconds, but the way my brain works allows me to retain large quantities of information and be able to remember things and make connections under pressure.”

According to Jordan, there is a community who is devoted to the game. The team has a passion for learning new things and understanding how everything connects.

“Quiz Bowl allows its players to become well rounded, educated people,” Jordan said.