Texas Tech University :: School Of Art

Posted: 11/3/06 Daily Toreador
Art History Team 'bowls' Over Competition
Written by Jessica Hendricks

In the aftermath of a College Bowl victory, several Texas Tech art history students can now claim the title of the campus' "official trivia buffs." Four undergraduate students in the School of Art won the College Bowl Tournament on Oct. 21 and are preparing for the regional competition from Feb. 22-25 at the University of North Texas in Denton. The College Bowl is a series of international competitions that its officials have labeled "the varsity sport of the mind" and is presented in a similar format to the game show Jeopardy, according to a press release.

The students, Samantha Bhoodram, a senior from Odessa; Megan Grann, a senior from Arlington; Gilbert Jones, a senior from Lubbock; and Jake Toups, a junior from Lafayette, La., beat out six other teams for the title of Tech's official College Bowl team. "It's billed as athletics for the mind. It's just like Jeopardy, with general knowledge questions," Jones said. "When we do get an art question, we tend to overanalyze it." The art history team played five of the teams in six different games, losing only once and ultimately triumphing, said Grann.

After winning the campus competition, the students competed in a "Celebrity Match" sponsored by the Honors College on Oct. 26. The art history team beat the celebrity Honors College team, comprising faculty members Gary Bell and Monty Strauss and students Matt Fowler and Christina Jones, by a score of 225 to 150 over two rounds.

The art history team members said they were nervous going into the competition, but they relaxed when the questions started. "I thought the professors would have a higher score than we did, or at least come closer," Bhoodram said. Even after just two competitions, the team is becoming a bit superstitious. They have a strict seating arrangement, and they wore similar clothes to both competitions. Jones even spilled coffee on himself on both days of competition, though he said it was accidental."Maybe that's a sign that you have to spill coffee to win," Bhoodram told him. The team also has a secret pre-game superstition that Toups was about to reveal when the team quickly hushed him.

"Let's just say we do have some rituals to get us ready to play," Jones said.

In addition to these rituals, the team also will prepare for the regional competition in more concrete ways. Although they said their only preparation for the first competition was a single game of Trivial Pursuit, they plan on using study strategies for the next contest. "The College Bowl Web Site has a few years of questions," Jones said. "Once a week, we try to get together to ask each other questions." Toups said they have also divided up subjects to study to strengthen their weak areas. "We all have something we bring to the team," he said. Although they plan to study, they also want preparing for the contest to be fun, Grann said. "It's not too serious. We're trying to make it fun but not too intense," she said. "As it gets closer we'll beef up on it."

The team also is in need of an alternate to join the team and travel with them to the regional competition. Grann said the rules of the competition enable team members to switch out between rounds, so the alternate has a good chance of participating in the contest.

At the regional tournament in Denton, the team will compete against other winning teams from Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. If Tech's team is victorious, they will continue to the national competition at the University of Southern California in May.

The students expressed their appreciation to their professors and the faculty in their college. "The School of Art and faculty are being really supportive and helping us out any way they can," Jones said. "It's nice to know the school is supporting our endeavors."

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