Northern Michigan University's quiz bowl team recently competed in the Intercollegiate Championship Tournament, the premier national event at the collegiate level. It defeated squads from Harvard, Amherst, Tufts, Boise State and Santa Fe en route to a 5-6 record. The team finished 15th among 31 teams. NMU's Jakob Lippert placed 2nd in individual scoring out of 128 total players, averaging 66 points per game.
“That is roughly the equivalent of scoring about 33 points per game in basketball,” said NMU Quiz Bowl adviser Michael Joy. “Jakob proved that he is one of the best quiz bowl players in the country. During his time at NMU, he has scored over 10,000 points in tournaments. This puts him at the top of the career-scoring list among all players since the team's founding in 2009. The team had a strong finish in the preliminary rounds. That meant they were in the second-to-highest bracket for the playoff rounds, so they had a tough set of afternoon games.”
National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC sponsors the Intercollegiate Championship Tournament. According to its website, NAQT invites the best schools from its nationwide to the year's most competitive weekend. The 2021 event was held virtually.
“Normally we travel to the tournaments and face other teams across the table, but all of this year's games were played over Zoom,” said Lippert, a junior German and history major from Green Bay. “It was a noticeable difference. There seemed to be a little less pressure playing over Zoom, but I definitely missed playing in person.
“I am really proud of how we did. We won all the games we should have and had a really good showing. I also enjoyed a lot of questions I got asked. It felt good to answer those. I just really try to go out and have fun.”
In addition to Lippert, other team members included: Brett Mattson, a senior Spanish and English major from Ironwood; Ella Uren, a senior anthropology major from Negaunee; Mackenzie Pierson, a junior chemistry major from Westland; Deleena Simon, a junior history and political science major from Minneapolis; and Andrew Semak, a senior history major from Oxford.
Mattson is the only graduating player, so Joy said NMU will return a strong team for the fall.
“This group of six students has spent hundreds of hours over the past three years working to prepare for a return to the national championship tournament,” Joy added. “The pundits would probably not have picked NMU to defeat squads from Harvard and Tufts and finish in the top half of the tournament, but that's exactly what happened. I'm very proud of the team.”
For more on the National Academic Quiz Tournaments' national championship, click here.