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Athletic Training Quiz Bowl Team Wins Six-State District Title

'We Decided to Go Big or Go Home!'

March 25, 2009

Wilmington College’s Athletic Training Quiz Bowl team’s season of competitions against some of the nation’s largest universities has become a modern day David versus Goliath story.

First WC defeated The Ohio State University on its own turf in January to win the state Quiz Bowl championship. Then, over the College’s spring break in March, the team traveled to Fort Wayne to take on the top teams from the six-state Great Lakes District.

Well, David landed another rock to Goliath’s head as Wilmington College — by far the smallest school in the competition — nipped Michigan State University for the National Athletic Trainers Association District 4 Quiz Bowl title.

As one of 10 district champions, Wilmington advances to the first-ever National AT Quiz Bowl Championship in San Antonio this June. Wilmington is one of 80 certified programs in the Great Lakes District, which constitutes the largest in the nation.

Larry Howard, WC’s coach and AT program director, congratulated his three seniors on “their hard-fought victory.” They include Alex Rhinehart of Wilmington, Jacqueline Borda of Dayton and Jesse Parthemore of Columbus Grove.

“This group certainly was very knowledgeable and fast at answering the questions,” Howard said. “This team is representative of the entire senior class. I think we could have taken other students and they also would have done well.”

While the team romped over the nearest competition by 4,400 points in winning the Ohio championship, they were at odds at the district contest with more than Michigan State, the University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin, Indiana Wesleyan University and St. Cloud (Minn.) University.

They had to deal with technology gone haywire.

Indeed, the team found themselves solidly in last place after the first round in the contest, which is based on TV’s Jeopardy! — even though they answered most questions correctly. It turned out the computerized scoring system attached to their electronic buzzers was deducting points for correct answers instead of accumulating points.

Borda said, “We were in dead last after the first round but, with our score, we really were in first place. We couldn’t believe what was happening.”

She noted a running score was not kept, but, rather, scores were displayed after each round, so seeing their total — or lack thereof — was a shock.

Howard’s request of the contest facilitators to have a judge score the subsequent rounds manually was granted, but the team went through the second round before the judges ultimately awarded WC their earned points from the first round.

After three rounds, Wilmington was neck-and-neck with Michigan State. The “Final Jeopardy!” format round was all that separated the team from a possible title and last place.

“We decided to wager enough so if we got the answer right we’d win,” Parthemore said.
Rhinehart added, “We decided to go big or go home!”

The “Final Jeopardy!” question was, “What is apothysitis at the posterior calcaneus?”
Immediately, both Parthemore and Rhinehart knew the answer.

“As soon as the question popped up, we knew we’d won because we knew it was Sever’s Disease and we wagered more than Michigan State,” Parthemore said.

“Actually I had an athlete this year who suffered from it,” Rhinehart said, noting it refers to the inflammation of a boney outgrowth on the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon is attached.

Wilmington and Michigan State were the only teams to get it correct, but WC’s larger wager proved the margin for victory.

“We went home with the trophy,” Borda said.

Wilmington answered 71 of 78 questions correctly during the intensive two-hour competition. Howard said the fact that Rhinehart and Parthemore had direct knowledge of Seber’s Disease is indicative of WC’s athletic training program in which students get hands-on experience to an extent not possible at the Big Ten-size schools with large professional medical staffs.

“After the competition, we talked about how impressed we are with what we’ve learned at Wilmington College,” Rhinehart said.

Howard added, “The consensus among our students was they seem to know a lot more than students from other schools,” he said. “This recent success makes you feel good about the education they’re receiving here.”