FAMU Wins Honda’s National Quiz Bowl Championship

Florida A&M University's quiz bowl team.
Photo Credit: College Bowl Company Inc.

For the eighth time in school history, Florida A&M University’s quiz bowl team won the 27th annual Honda National Quiz Bowl Championship in Torrance, Calif.

The team received a $75,000 grant for the university for going a perfect 5-0 in the Louis Armstrong division of the competition. 

“I am very proud of this team,” Coach Vivian Hobbs said. “This is the best team I’ve ever coached.”

Hobbs is a retired FAMU professor and former Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges director.

Hobbs ensured the team was knowledgeable in every subject area ranging from humanities to pop culture, before entering the competition.

“We have to be prepared in all subject areas, because we do not know what they are going to ask us,” Hobbs said. “You have to know everything and it is my job as the coach to figure out a way for my team to know everything.”

A part of the elite eight HBCUs, FAMU competed against 48 Historically Black College and Universities.

The winning team included four players: team captain and fourth-year history student from Gainesville Kimberlyn Elliot; third-year engineering technology student from Miami Travian Albert; physics student from Spartanburg, S.C. Dominique Berry; and first-year health services management student from Birmingham, Ala. Imari Nalls.

The team spent four months preparing. Elliot said as the team captain, she felt most of the load.

“I feel all of the pressure,” Elliot said. “As the captain, it is my responsibility to know everything that my teammates don’t know.”

Nalls added that she first felt nervous in the beginning of the competition.

“I was really nervous,” Nalls said. “In my first game, I was shaking really badly. Once I got into the feel of things, I calmed down. I had to let myself know that I can do this.”

Berry said that they did not rely on the Internet to prepare for the competition; instead they chose to read books.

“It is better to get your information from a published book instead of online,” Berry said. “There are a hundred different sources on the Internet and you’ll never know which is right.”

Berry and Albert addressed overcoming stereotypes as two African-American males in the field of higher learning.

“In the black community, a lot of times athletics is what is highlighted,” Albert said. “I feel good being a part of an organization promoting black academic excellence, because that is what is really needed in the community.”

Berry added that it is good to show that African-Americans can prevail in other areas other than sports.

“I think it is important to be able to see that we’re capable of more than just dominating a physical environment,” he said.