Victorious in Honda tournament

The Florida A&M University Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Team held a campus tournament, in which students competed for one of 12 slots on the national championship team.

Every year American Honda sends 64 teams from HBCUs to compete in the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Tournament. HCASC is a student academic competition with up to $50,000 in prize grant money.

Out of the 14 teams competing, this year’s winning team was, “The Sound of Silence,” which included group members: Gabrielle Mcmahan, Josh Ellis, Reginald Mcgee and Matthew Cocking.

“We put in a lot of effort and I can see it paid off,” Mcmahan said.

Dr.Vivian Hobbs, a professor in the English department, has served as the team’s coach for 19 years.

Hobbs said her coaching experience has been one of the most exhilarating things an academician can experience.

“During the years of playing, we have brought in over $425,000 to the university for scholarships and have won 6 national championships,” Hobbs said.

Gabrielle McMahan, 21, a business administration student from Springfield, VA., has been a member of the team since her freshmen year.

Mcmahan said her participation in this team has opened many doors.

“Being a member of this team has been one of the best things I’ve done since entering college,” McMahan said.

“I have learned a lot and gained many good friendships.”

McMahan was one of the FAMU students who competed on the game show Jeopardy! in April.

Every year the team hosts a campus tournament to recruit new members.

Hobbs said she goes from match to match looking for potential.

“Once the winning team is selected, the team meets every Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. to play the game and assess which areas need improvement,” Hobbs said.

Hobbs said one of the team’s greatest assets is having administrative support.

“Dr. Ammons has been a champion of the team for many years,” Hobbs said.

“He travels with us and stays the entire time of the tournament.”

According to Hobbs, the team spans across all majors at the university and all academic schools have been represented.

Hobbs said the players are taught and trained to give back.

Dr. Kyron Williams, a professor in the physics department and a former member of the team, currently trains students to help prepare for the competition.

“I feel like this is my chance to give back,” Williams said.

After being away at Princeton University for two years, Williams said the team continues to get better.

“I have definitely seen growth and improvement,” Williams said.

The team will begin in Orlando, March 26-29, 2009.