Pop the Champagne and Pass the Dictionaries! Brain Bowl Team Wins 7th National Championship

Pop the champagne and pass the encyclopedias! Valencia College’s brainiacs have done it again!

The college’s Brain Bowl team has won its seventh national championship.

On Feb. 25 in Minneapolis, Valencia’s Red team brought home the gold, by winning the National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) Community College Championship Tournament (CCCT).

The winning team consisted of: Aidan Bohan-Moulton (second year), Melisa Nicolas (second year), Jack Ogozaly (first year), and Miguel Hernandez (third year).

Valencia traditionally takes two teams — the Red and Black teams — to all tournaments. The Black team also earned a berth in the CCCT and finished 10th out of 24 teams from around the United States. That team comprised Calice Newkirk (third year), Elena Torres-Ponce (second year), Joseph Pajuelo (second year), Brittany Van Epps (first year), and Arjun Singh (a dual enrolled student who is a senior at Olympia HS).

Valencia had some standout performances from Aidan Bohan-Moulton, who was the #5 overall scorer in the tournament, while Arjun Singh was 13th .

The Red team beat longtime arch-rival Chipola College, a two-year state college in Marianna, Fla., in the final on the last toss-up question. Valencia’s Red team was behind by 10 points, when the moderator asked a question about “a quantity measured in physics.”  The last words of the clue were to “name this quantity measured in farads,” at which point Valencia’s Melisa Nicolas  buzzed in correctly with “capacitance.”  Valencia then earned 20 points on a bonus question about Norse myth — and won by the slimmest of margins, 10 points, noted Brain Bowl coach Chris Borglum.

To bring home the title, “Jack Ogozaly led Red team scorers in the final match against Chipola, including crushing a toss-up (question) on Frederick the Great after only hearing the clue that ‘this ruler wept after a childhood friend was executed,’ ” said Borglum, who doubles as an English professor at Valencia’s Winter Park Campus.

Borglum has coached Valencia’s Brain Bowl team for 24 years and is assisted by Valencia math professor Damion Hammock, a former Valencia Brain Bowl player.  Borglum is a former Brain Bowl player too — having played at the University of Florida from 1987-93.

The Brain Bowl teams will compete in the Florida College System Activities Association tournament at the end of March, then the NAQT Intercollegiate (where Valencia will play against heavyweights, including Ivy League teams) and the college will be hosting a tournament in early May.


Pictured in photo: Left to Right:  Damion Hammock (coach), Melisa Nicolas (Red team), Aidan Bohan-Moulton (Red), Brittany Van Epps (Black team), Miguel Hernandez (Red), Arjun Singh (Black), Jack Ogozaly (Red), Elena Torres (Black), Chris Borglum (coach). 

Not pictured:  Calice Newkirk (Black), Joseph Pajuelo (Black)