Quiet Team of Lions Heads North for Nine-Hour Trek to Big Meet

February 11, 2010

Quiet_TeamsA team from Saint Leo University leaves the main campus Friday morning for a regional tournament in Georgia that will test its members’ versatility, speed, and nerves.

That description might apply to any number of sports, but in this case, the competition is about academic prowess. The setting is the National Academic Quiz Bowl Southeast Regional Division II Championships, held this year at North Georgia College & State University, about an hour north of Atlanta.

On Friday evening and Saturday, Saint Leo’s team of five (shown here practicing) will face questions on topics including science, literature, mathematics, history, languages, fine arts, geography, social sciences, theology, philosophy, current events, sports, and popular culture. The goal is to answer more questions quickly and correctly than Division II teams from Clemson University, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of South Carolina, the University of Florida, the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, and others. It’s no exaggeration to say it helps to be a well-rounded student.

The play is for fun, but the volunteer effort may also impress potential employers and graduate-school admissions directors, said Kevin Kieffer, associate professor of psychology and team coach. The competition under pressure is also a maturing experience, and Saint Leo has done well in that regard, win or lose, Kieffer said.

“Saint Leo has developed a reputation as a team with class. We play hard, but when we lose, we lose well, and when we win, we take it in stride,” Kieffer said. “We try to take the high road.” Kieffer has seen “temper tantrums” during tournaments, but not from Lions.

In this tournament, four players are seated at a time. An alternate travels with the team and rotates in and out of play with another younger member of the team.

Saint Leo has had a team since 2001. Kieffer recruits players from the Honors Program, classes, and various academic events. Future players are welcome to contact him.

Pictured: A recent practice session in Saint Edward Hall, complete with buzzers and practice test questions. From left to right facing camera: Jonathan Till ’11, Mike Berry ’12, Kevin Sullivan ’13, James Samolowicz ’10, Colleen Shanahan ’10.

Facing window, from left to right: Coach and faculty member Kevin Kieffer, and trainer, alumnus and former competitor Mark DeNote ’04.