Fresh off its best-ever finish at the Big South Conference Quiz Bowl Tournament, Radford University will compete at the National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) Mid-Atlantic Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 8, at Virginia Tech.
With a third-place finish at the conference event in Longwood on Jan. 25, RU's five-person squad earned a bid to the Division II event where they will face off in a 10-match round-robin tournament against 13 teams, including teams from Davidson, UNC and UVA.
"It is cool to have the chance to prove you are smarter than other people," said team captain Jesse Lynch, a senior political science major from Salem, Va., "They don't take us lightly now. We overheard other teams talking about playing smart schools like Radford."
The team finished with a 5-3 record at the Big South event, was 4-0 going into its match with eventual Big South Conference champion High Point and had built a 45-point halftime lead.
"We feel we could have won that match and are really looking forward to a rematch with them at the Sectionals," said Lynch. "They got hot and we couldn't stop their momentum."
The team includes seniors Seth Hylton, a history major from South Boston, Va., and Nick Whiteside, a political science major from Midlothian. Juniors Alex Pratt, a history/political science major from Roanoke, and Kyle Rosner, a political science major from Stephens City, Va., round out the line-up which was determined by a campus-wide qualifying competition in October.
The team was challenged by a full-range of academic questions from the humanities and the sciences, sprinkled with pop culture questions. "By the end of the day, my brain is dead," said Hylton, who led the team with an average of 45 points per game.
"It’s really rewarding to see them enjoy success," said coach and Professor of Psychology Niels Christenson. "A high sense of camaraderie has developed."
For Hylton, Lynch and Whiteside, the sectional at Virginia Tech will be the final kick at the can after competing for RU for three years.
"We got some friends together three years ago and competed in the RU qualifying event because it sounded interesting. Now, three years later it has been great fun," said Whiteside, who suggested that an exhibition with a team representing RU faculty would be a great way to end his quiz bowl career and build momentum and awareness for the team.