Jefferson Academic Team shocks Michigan at ICT in Chicago

Jefferson s academic team capped off another amazing season with a 22nd place finish at the prestigious Intercollegiate Championship Tournament held in Chicago this past weekend. The 32 team tournament featured the top 26 4-year schools who qualified through regional play, as well as the top 6 Community Colleges in the nation. Jefferson ended the year as the 3rd highest ranked Community College in the nation. The 22nd place finish bettered last year s 29th place finish, and currently stands as the best finish for any Kentucky Community College at the ICT. Jefferson has now qualified for the Community College Championship Tournament 3 years in a row, and has qualified for the ICT in back-to-back seasons. Jefferson is currently one of only 3 CC teams to qualify for the ICT in both of the last two years (Chipola and Valencia being the other 2).

Jefferson finished the day with a 5-9 mark, including 4 wins over 4-year colleges. Jefferson s wins came over Michigan in overtime (210-195), Central Florida (285-205), Northwestern (175-160), Lawrence (195-115), and Redlands CC (210-200). The win over Redlands avenged an earlier loss at the CCCT in St. Louis in March. Coach Pete Rodski added That win over Michigan was really the signature win for our college it was the best win we ve ever had in my 17 years coaching the team. Michigan is a top 15 team nationally, they beat us by 300 points last year, and we took them to overtime this year and fought out a win.

Jefferson almost sent shockwaves through the quizbowl community in its very first match of the tournament against MIT, one of this year s top seeds. The teams went back and forth, with Jefferson gaining a late advantage 190-185, but MIT regained the lead 215 190 with one question left. Jefferson answered the last toss-up question correctly to close the gap to 15 points, and needed to only answer 2 of the 3 accompanying bonus questions to secure the mammoth upset. Unfortunately, Jefferson came up empty on the 3-part bonus and lost the match 215-200. Rodski added, We got a really tough bonus question on hypothetical astronomical megastructures. The 3 answers were Dyson Spheres, Alderson Disk, and Niven Ring. I can t fault my team, it was just bad luck, and a really difficult bonus. That opening match let my team know that we could compete with anyone in the nation, and set the stage for our upset over Michigan in round 3. Jefferson finished the tournament with an average point per bonus of 12.96, statistically higher than 12th place finisher Cornell (12.92). MIT finished in 7th place.

Jefferson President Dr. Anthony Newberry made the trip to support the team. It was fascinating to watch them. There must have been 8 or 9 matches that came down to the very last question. To go toe-to-toe with MIT, Chicago, Michigan State, and the University of Washington, even though they came up short in those matches, I was so proud of our students the way they battled these top 4-year academic institutions. The victory over Michigan was truly fantastic. And beating Northwestern and Redlands on the last question helped to take away some of the sting of those earlier close losses.

Individually, Jefferson s top scorer again was Scott Zweydorff, who finished the tournament 23rd overall in individual scoring with 38.06 points per game. Eric Bradley finished in 66th place with 14.19 points per game, Scott Stallings finished 86th overall with 8.39 points per game, and Marion Eicholtz cracked the top 100 (100th) with 3.47 points per game. Joseph Moffet also accompanied the team to Chicago, and got his first ICT experience.

Stanford won the championship, defeating Yale in the finals, finishing a perfect 14-0.

The team is coached by Professors Peter Rodski and Amy Sprinkle, and is open to any Jefferson student without a degree.