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April 26, 2005


From: Colorado Springs Gazette - Colorado Springs,CO,USA - Apr 26, 2005


WASHINGTON - After matching wits with nine teams in two days, Colorado Springs students seemed as relieved as they were disappointed Monday when they were eliminated from a national contest for the deaf and the hard of hearing.

Their tired expressions suggested they were ready to relax after months of factspewing practice and competition.

The team from the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind lost three matches Monday, ending any chance it had to gain that night's finals of the Academic Bowl for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

"We're keeping positive," Tye Lovato signed before the last match. "We're not getting depressed about it. You compete for the trophy, but also to have fun."

Maryland School for the Deaf won the national championship, with Seattle's Roosevelt High School the runner-up. Colorado tied for sixth.

The Colorado Springs school won the national championship last year, and this year's team had a record of three wins and two losses after the first day of competition Sunday.

Monday began on a promising note when Lovato and four teammates took a 48-29 victory over Massachusetts' The Learning Center for Deaf Children.

Austin Balaich, a junior and the only returning teammate from last year's championship team, earned two points for a wild guess that proved correct. Teammates laughed when they learned that Dogbert actually was the name of the dog in the popular comic strip "Dilbert."

A combination of right answers to questions about pop culture, literature and gemstones put the team on top.

But opponents in the next three matches proved more masterful at the fundamentals of timed trivia: speedreading, fast reasoning and an arsenal of general knowledge.

Maryland crushed Colorado 42-14.

One Maryland student, who an interpreter said was a speed-reader, dominated the first round in which the first student to push a buzzer gets the first crack at an answer. Joshua Feldman buzzed in on some questions within a second of seeing them.

Amy Flynn, a senior who in addition to being deaf is almost completely blind, said afterward that she was frustrated by not getting a chance to answer questions for which she knew the answers.

Flynn was allowed to use a computer monitor directly in front of her to read the questions, which for the rest of the contestants were displayed on a screen in front of the room.

For Lovato, a senior, the end of his team's competition meant it was time to to tour Gallaudet University and talk to advisers. He plans to attend the university next year.

Gallaudet is the world's only liberal arts college specifically for the deaf and the hard of hearing, and it hosts and sponsors the academic bowl championship.

Still, moving on doesn't mean his academic bowl experiences are over.

Immediately after the last match, Lovato flagged down a volunteer and signed, "Who do I see about volunteering next year?"


Copyright 2005, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved.