Swarthmore College Bowl Articles

The following are selected articles on the Swarthmore college bowl team from two of Swarthmore's publications, The Phoenix (our main weekly newspaper) and The Daily Gazette (a daily email newspaper). We've made some minor corrections to the articles' grammar and contents (which we've always placed in brackets), but take no responsibility for their tone, accuracy, or style.

From the 5 October 1998 Daily Gazette:

Swarthmore hosts two academic tournaments

This weekend, both College Bowl and the Amos J. Peaslee Debate Society hosted tournaments on campus....

College Bowl's tournament, SNEWT II: Grandson of QOTC, was held on Sunday. Sixteen teams from ten schools were entered in the tournament, limited to first-years and sophomores. The teams competed in two brackets, with both Swarthmore teams placing second in their respective brackets. [The] University of South Carolina won the tournament. Josh Miller '00 said, "I think our outlook is really good for the year, because we have several strong returning players as well as some excellent first-years and new players." The Swarthmore College Bowl team was Undergraduate National Champions last year.

From the 2 October 1998 Phoenix:

Academic, debate teams to host first tournament

This weekend, Swarthmore will face an influx of approximately 200 visiting students engaged in intense competition. They will not be the standard, gym-bag-toting athletes Swarthmore typically witnesses during major tournaments. Rather, this weekend will present a far different competitor. These will be far better dressed than their athletic brethren [again, the team does not guarantee accuracy in these articles], though they will undoubtedly be somewhat scrawnier. This weekend, both the College Bowl and Debate teams will be kicking off their respective seasons by hosting novice tournaments....

...[T]he College Bowl is also holding a tournament this weekend for freshmen and sophomores. "Several junior birds, or tournaments for freshment and sophomores, are held every year," said team co-president Ed Cohn '99. "Our tournament will be one of the largest." The team expects 18 4-member competitors from ten schools, among which are: Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, [the] University of Delaware, and [the] University of Maryland.

Last year, the College Bowl Team was highly successful, finishing 11th in the nation at the National Championships and winning the prestigious NAQT undergraduate championship, which goes to the top school with no graduate students. Following last year's success, the team has high expectations for the coming year. "We have three members of last year's A-team coming back: Josh Miller '00, myself, and Jessica Harbour '99," said Cohn. "In addition, it looks like we have the most impressive crop of new players in years."

From the 6 April 1998 Daily Gazette:

College Bowl team kicks butt

In a stellar triumph this past weekend at the National Academic Quiz Tournament [sic], Swarthmore's delegation finished 11th overall and took the undergraduate national championship. Made up of seniors Fred Bush and Joe Robins, junio Ed Cohn, and sophomore Josh Miller, Swarthmore beat out Vanderbilt, [Johns Hopkins,] Carleton[,] and Yale to garner the undergraduate title. Because the tournament encourages participation from all schools, the special category was created to allow for [an] uneven playing field created by having graduates with extensive experience on the team. Undergraduate teams are those teams that only have undergraduates, rather than those teams who represent all-undergraduate schools. This was the first year that such a title was given. A special Division II category was also created for those teams who are made up entirely of players in their first year of competition.

Cohn commented on this remarkable showing: "This was the biggest success in our most successful year: we attended 12 other tournaments, one [of] which we won, and 4 in which we placed second. In the past, we'd only made the finals of a tournament once." While this championship team was made up of only four students, Swarthmore's College Bowl conti[n]gent has over 10 member; the choice of who went to the finals was [based on] a combination of performance and availability to travel all the way to Nashville[,] Tennessee[,] to compete at Vanderbilt University. While this is the last chance to compete this year, the team feels proud of its unprecedented performance.

From the 24 November 1997 Daily Gazette:

College Bowl wins big at Princeton tournament

The College Bowl team took home its first tournament title ever Saturday, winning 13 games and losing one on the way to victory in the Princeton University Buzzer Fest.

Swarthmore's squad, composed of Fred Bush '98, Jessica Harbour '99, Ed Cohn '99, and Josh Miller '00, out-buzzed many strong teams, including [the] University of Maryland, Johns Hopkings, Pittsburgh, and Penn. Swarthmore twice defeated Cornell, which is considered one of the best College Bowl teams in the country and was favored to win the tournament. The squad lost a squeaker to Dartmouth on the last question of 20.

"This was a great way to end the semester," Cohn said. "We had only advanced to finals once before this year, but we've done it four times this semester, this time ending in a victory." Miller added, "The victory was especially satisfying not only because it was our first, but because it was such a team effort."

College Bowl is looking forward to participating in five or six tournaments next semester, as well as to possible invitations to national events, team members said.

From the 21 October 1997 Daily Gazette:

College Bowl places second in two weekend tournaments

Swarthmore's College Bowl team is off to a fast start this year, finishing second in each of its first two open invitational tournaments this weekend.

A team consisting of Edward Cohn '99, Christine Lattin '01, Josh Miller '00[,] Joe Robins '98 placed second at Johns Hopkins University's Blue Jay Bash on Saturday. As one of the top four teams in the preliminary round-robin competition, Swarthmore advanced to the playoffs, beating Vaderbilt University in the semifinals, but losing to the University of Maryland's A team in the finals.

Cohn won a special award -- a bag of Nerds candy -- as the competition's third-highest individual scorer. "Usually the prizes are more serious," he said.

In a competition Sunday at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Robins and Paul Arandia '00 teamed up with a player from another college to finish second, losing to a team from Maryland in the finals.

From the 5 May 1997 Daily Gazette:

College Bowl places third in weekend tournament at U. Maryland

Swarthmore's College Bowl team took third place Friday and Saturday in a tournament at the University of Maryland, said team member Edward Cohn '99. Competition was restricted to first- and second-year student; 12 teams from 11 schools participated.

The tournament began with a 12-team round robin, in which Swarthmore won 8 of its 11 games, defeating teams from schools such as MIT, Johns Hopkins, the University of Michigan, and Penn State, but losing narrowly to the University of Maryland, the University of Chicago[,] and Georgetown.

After the round robin, the top four teams advanced to a winners' bracket. Swarthmore easily defeated Chicago, but los[t] to Maryland against and to Michigan. Overall, Swarthmore placed third, behind Maryland and Chicago. Cohn was the sixth highest individual scorer at the event.

In addition to Cohn, Swarthmore's team included Jessica Harbour '99 and Josh Miller '00.

(In the past, the team has held a student-faculty match, in which four members of the team played four professors or administrators. The last such competition was in September 1996.) From a September 1996 Phoenix:

Student Top Faculty in College Bowl

The annual College Bowl showdown between students and faculty members took place in Kirby on Tuesday. In a tenacious battle, the students once against triumphed by a score of 595 to 330. Ed Cohn '99, Jeff Lockman '98, Otavia Propper '00, and Jon Shainin '00 represented the student team; on the faculty and staff side were Professor Tom Blackburn of the English Department, Assistant Professor Tim Burke of History, Assistant Professor Paul Rablen of Chemistry, and Associate Dean Bob Gross. Fred Bush '98 moderated.

The faculty team graciously conceded defeat. Said Rablen, "The students blew us away." Blackburn declared himself "fundamentally hampered by my non-functioning buzzer and the swift digits of the honorable student opposition," but added, "I felt the faculty/dean team earned a moral victory by preventing the students from doubling our score."

Mike Pan '97 and Gena Merliss '97 provided running commentary on Pan's dry-erase board, thus earning them a spot in College Bowl lore. Said Pan, "College Bowl is a game of intimidation. I looked into Bob Gross's eyes, and I saw fear." Other audience members participated in an informal student-only match after the main event. The team provided refreshments in between matches.

In addition to drumming up interest, the match provided an opportunity to play-test questions for the National Academic Quiz Tournament....

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