New year for PSC Brain Bowl

Home Features New year for PSC Brain Bowl


Bradley Campbell

The Corsair

“What is the name given to the uprising against the British in the spring of 1916 in Dublin by the nationalist society that favored an independent Irish republic?”


“Bloody Sunday?”

“Sorry. Anyone else?”

You don’t know either?

Don’t worry; those kinds of questions are best left to Pensacola State College’s Brain Bowl team. (The answer, by the way, is “the Easter Rising.”)

The week-long tryout process that took place recently on the Pensacola campus, which saw 18 students vie for a spot on this year’s team, tested players’ stamina as well as their wits. Only the top five players made the cut for this year’s roster.

John Curtis, Dan Haycraft, Sebastian Hoyos, Tyler McArthur and Ben Brustad compose this season’s elite troop of trivia practitioners.

The 2011-2012 Brain Bowl squad returns with three players from last year, one with prior experience and one member making his Brain Bowl debut.

Kenneth McAferty, Brain Bowl head coach, will be taking the reins for the 28th year.

“We have three players returning from last year’s team. John, Sebastian and Dan are all coming back,” McAferty said. “I think this team is going to be better than last years.”

With the team locked and loaded, it’s time to focus and hone in on their skills before the first tournament Oct. 21 in Gulf Shores, Ala., hosted by Faulkner State Community College. Twenty-eight teams are expected to participate in the first tournament of the year and the competition will be fierce.

Brustad, this year’s mathematician and a first-year player, prepares for Brain Bowl just like he does for tests, “Which is to say, minimally. I find that when I don’t study beforehand, I’m more focused.”

Brustad also has a strong supporting cast of teammates to learn from.

“I believe I’m the only new member, so I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from everyone else,” he said.

Although there is plenty of optimism surrounding this year’s team, the season could prove to be challenging in a lot of ways. One of the most challenging aspects will be getting the team to function as a cohesive unit.

“A new season is always fun, because even though we have a couple of guys returning, we have a new mix of players, and so getting them to play together and play as a team is one of the fun aspects – to see if we can do that,” McAferty said.

There is more than just getting the players to function as a team.

“Another one is to see what our competition is going to be like this year. It always changes,” said McAferty.

This year’s group looks to repeat the success of Pensacola State’s 2002 tournament champion Brain Bowl team. A lot of things are going to have to fall into place to repeat that team’s triumph, but things are definitely looking up as the Pirates’ Brain Bowl team enters the new season.

“New teams come up to the top, and we hope that we’ll be one of those,” McAferty said.


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