Humboldt State University brings back Quiz Bowl champion title

By Dana Kobilinsky

It was 2015 the last time Humboldt State University took home the Quiz Bowl championship title. But at this year’s Quiz Bowl championships at the annual TWS conference in Cleveland, the team reclaimed the title after battling it out against Virginia Tech with a final score of 105-55.

“It’s incredible,” said Humboldt State University team member Alex Lewis. “Humboldt has a long tradition of doing really well at Quiz Bowl, and it’s an honor to be the team that won.”

The teams answered wildlife questions, many of which were also related to host state Ohio and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where the opening night event took place. When questions include a bacterial disease that is also the name of a Ted Nugent song, it must be Quiz Bowl in Cleveland (and the answer must be cat scratch fever).

Questions that stumped both teams included: Who is Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change? (It’s Catherine McKenna) and what odd locations have tube-nosed bats been found wintering in? (The answer: cavities in the snow).

But Humboldt knocked it out of the park on other questions, showing they knew the California Central Coast Chapter was the 2018 chapter of the year and that they could identify an audio recording of a western screech owl.

Virginia Tech also impressed the audience with their knowledge, including the name of the toxin produced by the rough-skinned newt — tetrodotoxin.

Humboldt’s team felt lucky to play against their peers. “It’s an honor to play against so many great teams,” said team member Samuel Vassallo.

Before the final round, Purdue University and SUNY-Cobleskill battled it out for third place, with Purdue taking home the third-place title with a final score of 50-45. The teams answered other tricky questions, including what university faculties last year’s Aldo Leopold Memorial Award winner Wini Kessler has served on. Questions like why the mink frog is known by that name were stumpers.

But the Quiz Bowl event wasn’t all serious. Attendees enjoyed a Council Bowl where current and past members squared off. Answering often silly and complicated questions, the winners were the team made up of past Student Liaison Kristi Confortin, incoming President Darren Miller, outgoing Canadian Section Representative Art Rodgers, Northeast Section Representative Paul Johansen, Central Mountains and Plains Representative Bob Lanka and Vice President Gary White. They beat their counterparts 115-55.

During the Council Bowl, participants were asked some offbeat questions relating to Ohio. How do you say good morning in Japanese? Ohayo. What about identifying rock ’n’ roll bands with wildlife names, like A Flock of Seagulls?

The Council Bowl, as always, provided great comic relief to loosen the nerves of the Quiz Bowl teams.

But while Humboldt’s team may have won Quiz Bowl, in the traditional advisers-vs.-champions match, advisers beat Humboldt 75-20.

Let’s see if Humboldt can keep that well-earned title next year in Reno!

Dana KobilinskyDana Kobilinsky is a science writer at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at dkobilinsky@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about her article. You can follow her on Twitter at @DanaKobi.

Read more of Dana's articles here.


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