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Quiz Bowl team wins district title

Athletic training students headed to national event

March 25, 2011

Shown, from left, with their 2011 district and state championship trophies are Alex Geier, Cody Pontius, Erin Cane and coach Larry Howard.

Shown, from left, with their 2011 district and state championship trophies are Alex Geier, Cody Pontius, Erin Cane and coach Larry Howard.

Wilmington College’s highly regarded national reputation in athletic training/sports medicine was further validated when its Athletic Training Quiz Bowl team won the six-state district competition earlier this month in Minneapolis.

The championship comes on the heels of the team winning its third consecutive Ohio title in January and marks the second time in the last three years WC has captured the Great Lakes District title.

The district encompasses colleges and universities with athletic training/sports medicine programs in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Indiana.

WC will be among the 10 district champs competing in June in New Orleans at the National Quiz Bowl Championship held as part of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association annual meeting.

The team placed seventh in the nation in 2009.

Wilmington’s coach, Larry Howard, professor of athletic training and AT program director, said the key to this year’s championship was teamwork.

“This team has probably been the best team we’ve had as far as working together,” he said. “It’s a great victory.”

Team members are seniors Erin Cane, Alex Geier and Cody Pontius.

Howard said the team played their cards close to the vest as it positioned themselves in second or third place during much of the early rounds before saving its fireworks for the grand finale.

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.
In the final round — akin to Final Jeopardy! — Wilmington wagered essentially all its points in a make or break move.

“It came down to the last question — it was a nail-biter,” Howard said.

When the trio heard the question — “Name the fracture that occurs at the base of the first metacarpal?” — they knew the championship was theirs. They correctly answered “Bennett fracture” and they were on their way to New Orleans.

Wilmington defeated Wisconsin-Oshkosh by a 22,000 to 20,000 margin. Other teams included Hope College (Mich.), Indiana Wesleyan, Eastern Illinois University and Winona State University (Minn.).

The victory further cements Wilmington College’s status as a Quiz Bowl dynasty, a development Howard attributes to the “quality of students” in the 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.

“District championships have been held for only the past three years and we’ve won two of them — that’s an impressive success rate.”

With some 85 students in the program, athletic training is one of the largest academic areas at Wilmington College, as well as among its most prominent. It is nationally accredited through The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.

WC’s athletic training seniors in 2010 passed the Board of Certification examination on their first try at twice the national rate. Indeed, a “phenomenal” 90 percent of Wilmington’s 2010 AT graduates succeeded on the comprehensive test last April.

The national average for passing on the first attempt is about 45 percent. In 2008 and 2009, WC’s students succeeded with a first-time rate of better than 75 percent.

Also, the AT program boasts another winning streak: a Wilmington College student has won the Ohio Athletic Training Association’s “Exceptional Research” award each year since 2005.