Colgate Prevails in Trivia Competition

A recent Trivia Night at Hamilton.
A recent Trivia Night at Hamilton.
There was a palpable tension in the air during a special mid-week Wednesday night Trivia Competition, as nine of Hamilton’s finest and most dedicated trivia teams took a trip to the Colgate Inn in Hamilton, N.Y., to match wits with Colgate students and faculty members. 

The night’s event was born out of a friendship between Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Paul Ryan ’02, who co-hosts Hamilton’s weekly Trivia Night at The Little Pub, and Regional Advancement Director at Colgate University Doug Chiarello. Ryan was involved in a Hamilton vs. Colgate alumni trivia competition in Boston in November and decided that it would be fun to start a friendly competition between the two schools. 

Ryan sent out a Facebook message several weeks ago to members of the Hamilton College Trivia Night group, asking teams who were interested in participating to email him. With all squared away, Ryan notified participants of the place and time of the competition, and nine Hamilton teams made the trek to the Colgate Inn to represent the school. 

The structure of the game was the same as that of normal Trivia Nights at The Pub. There are four rounds of four questions each, and teams wager different point values for each question in a round. On Wednesday, there was also a 20-point picture round (name the musical artist and identify the country in which they were born), a series of halftime clues about a celebrity (answer: William H. Macy), a bonus round (phrases and expressions that contain the word “summer”), and two final round questions on which up to 10 points could be wagered. The hosts explained that at the end of the game, teams would be ranked from highest point total to lowest point total, and secondary points would be awarded (1 point for first place, 2 points for second place, etc) and tallied so as to determine whether Hamilton or Colgate fared better as a whole. 

After two hours of grueling play, Colgate won the overall title, beating Hamilton by a score of 107 to 64. Colgate’s team, “And that’s how we won Korea,” finished in first place with 110 points. Hamilton’s top three finishers were “Colgate? What’s that? Some kind of fossil fuel scandal?” with 102, “Giant Pandemonium” with 106, and “Dicken’s Cider Box” with 108. 

Although Hamilton’s teams lost handily to Colgate’s, the deck was not stacked in favor of the visiting team. As Paul Ryan explained, Colgate holds a weekly trivia at the Colgate Inn, and in April they had a five-week competition to decide the strongest team out of a field of 20. The 10 teams that competed against Hamilton on Thursday were the 10 highest-finishing teams from that tournament. The teams representing Hamilton were simply the teams who were willing to commit to taking three hours away from studying on the Wednesday of the week before finals. Colgate’s teams were also made up of about 50 percent staff and residents of the town, something that is extremely rare on Hamilton trivia teams. 

There are plans in place to make the Hamilton/Colgate trivia challenge a regular event. Ryan plans for Hamilton to host in the in the fall semester, and the schools will alternate hosting duties by semester after that. With the tremendous interest in Wednesday’s event, it is hard to imagine that future competitions will be met with anything but enthusiasm. 

Students who were at the Colgate Inn on Wednesday were impressed with the competitive atmosphere. James Grebey ’12 remarked afterwards, “It’s great to see students come together for something like this. That so many people would abandon their books tonight and come out here to represent the school really just speaks to the sense of pride we have in our community. It was a lot of fun.”
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