Cheyney University Honda Team Qualifies for Prestigious National Championship Tournament in CA
February 15, 2017
(Pictured l. to. r.) Stephen Adasonla, Meghan Sowersby, Meredith Morrison (Captain), Jesse Lucas, and Dr. Clyde Ledbetter (Coach), Cheyney University's 2017 Honda Campus All Star Challenge (HCASC) Varsity team which took 3rd place in regionals earlier this month, will head to the national HCASC competition in California in April.
"Congratulations, Team Cheyney, you're going to LA!" That was the email that Dr. Tara Kent, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania's Associate Provost, recently sent, notifying Cheyney University's Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) Varsity team that they're going to Nationals.
The reality came today when HCASC representatives sent out a press release announcing all 48 teams who made it to the big stage and Cheyney University's name was there.
Cheyney's quiz bowl team will take on the nation’s brightest students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from across the U.S. in California this April, highlighting their academic prowess in a series of brain games. The fast-paced Jeopardy-like rounds of play, test students on all types of trivia and knowledge.
The national competition will take place Saturday, April 8th through Tuesday, April 11th in Torrance, CA. Earlier this month, Cheyney's HCASC team competed in Regionals at the University of the District of Columbia. While the top two teams from the seven regional competitions automatically made it into the national contest, CU's team came in third and had to wait it out to see if they'd get a spot in the national tourney.
This year, Honda added an online voting component, allowing four teams to make it in that way. Cheyney supporters voted for several days, pushing CU to the top four teams, solidifying Cheyney's spot in nationals, and earning the opportunity to compete for the title of “National Champion” and a $75,000 institutional grant from Honda.
Last time Cheyney's HCASC team made it to nationals two years ago, they came in second in the nation, earning Cheyney a $25,000 grant. Meredith Morrison, the captain of this year's Cheyney team and the only senior, was on that runner-up team in 2015 and wants desperately to win top prize this year.
"Two years ago, I was the only new kid on the team," Morrison reflects. "My teammates--Rich, Josh, and Holland--left me with a high from winning second. I want to leave this team with the pride of winning first. I want to end on a high note. I know we can take the gold. We have the drive, the focus, and the knowledge base to out-perform any team we face." Confidence, she asserts, will be the key.
Sophomore Meghan Sowersby, who was on last year's team, wants to win it all, too.
"I was so excited when I saw that Cheyney made it into the Great 48," exclaimed Sowersby. "I can't wait to compete with the other teams and show them what the first (HBCU) can do. To prepare for nationals, I've started to expand my knowledge on black history and black culture. I'm doing this through research, flash cards, making posters and just drilling into my brain the names and accomplishments of notable people in the black community. I'm using this strategy with my other categories, like religion, history, and geography."
Junior Jesse Lucas is on the Varsity team again. He also represented Cheyney at the Black College Quiz Bowl last year, another brain-teaser, knowledge-based national HBCU competition. Stephen Adasonla is the only new member of the team. All four students are Keystone Honors Academy Scholars and very coachable.
"Cheyney University has an excellent new coach, Dr. Clyde Ledbetter, and a hardworking team. They practice at least twice a week, they study the material, and they enjoy the competition," shares Dr. Kent. "They have a winning combination: leadership, knowledge, and drive. I’m certain they will represent Cheyney University well at the national competition."
"I'm proud of the hard work of our students. Their achievements as a team have less to do with coaching and more to do with individual drive and scholarship," insists Coach Ledbetter. "Our strategy remains the same. We will try to beat the other teams on the buzzer and rely on our knowledge bases after that. Over the next few weeks, we will focus on reaction time and drilling on geography and history."
“Earning a seat at the National Championship Tournament is no easy feat, and we congratulate each and every student for displaying the drive and determination necessary to do so,” acknowledges Steve Morikawa, Vice President, Corporate Relations and Social Responsibility, American Honda. “Over its 28-year history, Honda Campus All-Star Challenge has become a multi-generational community event, and we look forward to hosting the students and providing their families with an opportunity to watch them compete in California.”
The final round of the 2017 National Championship Tournament will be live-streamed on Monday, April 10th starting at 12:00 EST on HCASC.com.