Huntsville, AL: Oakwood University is the winner of the 2008 Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC). Oakwood’s Varsity Team, led by Coach Rennae Elliott, Ph.D., chair of Oakwood University’s Department of Communication, traveled to Orlando, Florida, last week to represent the University in the 2008 National Championship Tournament (NCT), which took place March 26-30. Sixty-four Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) were represented in the national quiz-bowl tournament. In 2007, Oakwood's team was featured in USA Today as one of the Sweet Sixteen (top 16) teams of the 2007 National Championship. The HCASC is the first-ever academic competition between students at America's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The HCASC knowledge bowl is open to all 4-year, degree-granting HBCUs in the continental U.S. Over 50,000 students have competed in the program. Each year, 64 schools qualify to attend the National Championship Tournament (NCT). The selection of the 64 institutions involves a review of the level of student participation; quality of promotional efforts; an institution's historical record when attending the NCT; results from the campus tournament in the current season; personnel changes materially affecting an institution's potential preparedness; and other factors that address the need to raise the caliber of the field.
The first and second rounds of single elimination competition ended with the final four teams who competed today for the 2008 HCASC title: Oakwood University, Southern University-Baton Rouge, Howard University and Alcorn State University.
This year brought different faces to the stage. Alcorn State University last made it to the semifinals in 2003, Howard University in 2002 (second place), Oakwood University in 1998, and Southern University-Baton Rouge in 2000 (second place). Oakwood had a tight fight in its Sweet 16 game with Hampton, ending the half behind by five points, but they roared back in the second half and won by a commanding 110 points. Carrying the momentum into the Elite Eight game, Oakwood went on to defeat West Virginia State en route to the Final Four.
Representing a Seventh-day Adventist institution, the Oakwood University team does not participate in competition from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, in observance of the seventh-day Sabbath. Thus, while other teams were preparing and competing, the Oakwood team was attending a local Adventist church in the Orlando area. This meant that the Oakwood team had to double its preparation efforts to remain in the competition. Nevertheless, the OU team won 11 out of 12 matches since Friday, and walked away with the national championship this Sunday afternoon with a 225-220 victory over Alcorn State University. The team will return to Huntsville on an 8:45 a.m. flight arriving at the Huntsville International Airport on Monday, March 31, where a welcome-home band of faculty, staff, and students from Oakwood University will be standing by to greet them.
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