Baylor College Bowl Team Bound for National Tournament
by Paige Patton, coordinator of news and information, (254) 710-3321
After emerging undefeated in nine rounds of play in February's Region 12 tournament, Baylor University's College Bowl team will compete for the national title May 4-6 at the University of Southern California. This win marks the third time in four years that Baylor has advanced to the national level of competition.
The Baylor team is composed of captain John Solter, a senior finance and entrepreneurship major from Prairie Village, Kan.; Stephanie Bialko, a senior anthropology major from Dumont, N.J.; Erik Ellis, a graduate student studying history from Catoosa, Okla.; Eric Headstream, a junior philosophy major from Katy; and Sarah Swinney, a junior classics, history and museum studies major from Bethany, Okla. The team is coached by Dr. Brent M. Froberg, a lecturer in classics who has been involved with the College Bowl for more than 40 years and competed in College Bowl himself when he was a student at Indiana University.
For decades, College Bowl - known as "The Varsity Sport of the Mind" - has provided the arena for the fastest minds in school to demonstrate their great skills under the fire of varsity competition. The world-famous game of questions and answers played by two teams of competing students was first featured on the NBC radio network from 1953-57, and then on TV as the "GE College Bowl" from 1959-70.
In 1977, College Bowl in conjunction with the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), organized official competition at the campus, regional and national championship levels. The first College Bowl National Championship Tournament and World's Championship were held in June of 1978, won by Stanford and a team of British all-stars, respectively.
With 16 teams competing, the Region 12 College Bowl tournament is the largest of the 15 regions. The competition, held Saturday, Feb. 24, at the University of North Texas, featured a modified round-robin format with a four-team double-elimination playoff. Each team in a division played all of the other teams in its division, and at the end of the round-robin, the top two teams in each division played a four-team double elimination tournament to determine this year's champion.
The Baylor team was undefeated in nine games of play, and Solter was honored as the third-highest scoring contestant in the tournament. Baylor defeated teams from Harding University, Hendrix College, Louisiana State University, Midwestern State, Rice, SMU, Tarrant County College-Northeast, Tarrant County College-Northwest, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Texas Tech, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, University of Houston-downtown, University of Houston and University of North Texas to advance to the national competition.
"We have a tremendously talented team this year," Froberg said. "This is the first time in my association with Region 12 that a team has swept every game they played-it's just incredible. We have wonderful prospects for doing quite well at the national tournament."
Baylor will compete with 16 other teams - 15 regional champions and one wild card team selected by a random draw from second-place regional finishers - at the National Championship Tournament. The main tournament is a full round robin, with games played Friday night and all day on Saturday. The NCT playoff format is a four-team double-elimination, which will be held on Sunday.
Froberg said the future of the team looks bright. "We will lose some valuable players due to graduation, but we have strong younger players coming up and a great group of people who practice with us," he said. "It's the same thing that athletic coaches do with their teams--train the younger ones and give them experience early to prepare them for the future."
Each school's Campus Program features a Campus Tournament open to all students. The timing, format, and organization of the tournament is determined by the campus. The best players from each school (four players and an alternate, with a limit of one grad student) compete in the Regional Championship Tournament. The 15 Regional Champions and a 16th wild-card team compete for the National Championship Tournament.