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Athletic Training Quiz Bowl team finishes fourth in nation

WC squad one question away from national title

June 23, 2011

Wilmington College's Athletic Training Quiz Bowl Team is comprised of, from left, Alex Geier, Cody Pontius, Erin Cane and coach Larry Howard.

Wilmington College's Athletic Training Quiz Bowl Team is comprised of, from left, Alex Geier, Cody Pontius, Erin Cane and coach Larry Howard.

NEW ORLEANS — Wilmington College’s Athletic Training Quiz Bowl team was within a correct answer of winning the national title when it placed fourth in the country Tuesday.

WC advanced to the National Quiz Bowl Championship by virtue of winning both the Ohio and six-state Great Lakes District titles.

The Quiz Bowl is formatted much like television’s Jeopardy! The two-hour competition features rounds of five questions in five categories and the questions get significantly more difficult as the rounds progress.

As in Jeopardy! there is a Daily Double for which the team must wager 25 to 100 percent of its points before hearing the question. That proved to be the team’s Achilles’ heel. Leading in the competition’s early going, WC selected two Daily Doubles and answered incorrectly both times.

“Overall our kids probably answered more questions correctly than any of our competitors, but the Daily Doubles killed us,” said Larry Howard, the team’s coach and WC’s athletic training program director.

The team rallied in the “Final Jeopardy!” round to take fourth place.

Seniors Erin Cane, Alex Geier and Cody Pontius comprise the team.

The University of Nevada at Las Vegas won the championship, followed by the University of Florida and an all-star team comprised of top AT students from four eastern states.

The Quiz Bowl Championship was held in conjunction with the National Athletic Training Association’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Just prior to the competition, the group heard a keynote address by Archie Manning, the New Orleans Saints’ legend and the father of two of the National Football League’s premiere quarterbacks.

A number of Wilmington College athletic training alumni attending the NATA convention took in the Quiz Bowl.

“Every time we answered a question correctly, a roar of applause came from our alumni,” Howard said. “I think they came away very impressed with our kids.”

The fourth place national finish caps a stellar year for the College’s AT program. The Quiz Bowl team won its third consecutive state championship and second six-state Great Lakes District title in the past three years.

Also, a “phenomenal” 100 percent of those seniors taking the Athletic Training Board of Certification examination passed it on their first try. The national average in 2010 was about 75 percent, Howard said.

The team’s showing on the national stage further validates Wilmington College’s status as a Quiz Bowl dynasty, a development Howard attributes to the “quality of students” in the sports medicine program and their interest in working together with the “highly qualified” athletic training faculty and staff.

“Each year we have a complete turnover of Quiz Bowl team members,” he said, noting that membership has been an honor given essentially to seniors.

“This team worked really well together to come up with so many correct answers in only 10 seconds,” Howard said. “They took their preparation seriously. We’re really going to miss this group of seniors.”

The success the program is enjoying is reflected in the large number of students interested in studying athletic training at WC, as the College boasts one of the largest programs in the state.

Howard anticipates a record freshman class of AT majors in the fall that will exceed the previous high of 63 new students enrolled. Also, the program is on track to host the largest number of AT majors ever, as Howard said they are “poised” to surpass the previous high of 103 majors in all classes.