(Updated 4/11/2013) In 1975 the Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim joined what very large neighbor to its south? “India!” shouted a student from Morgan State University, winning the university its second championship at the 24th Annual Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC), an academic competition challenging the wit of the best and brightest students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) around the country.
After two days of fierce competition the four member team- Captain Craig Cornish, senior, history major; Kyle De Jan, senior history major; Micheal Osikomaiya, junior, English major and James Hayes-Barber, sophomore, electrical engineering major- emerged victorious after 10 games of questions covering world history, science, literature, religion, art, social sciences, African-American history and culture and pop culture.
Morgan’s victory game was played against Florida A&M University as the two teams battled it out for the national title in a best 2-out-of-2 finals. The final two teams emerged from eight competing divisions advanced to the “Sweet 16,” a single-elimination playoff.
Morgan captured the top prize of the competition winning $50,000 in university grants. Second place winner Florida A&M won $25,000 and the remaining “Final Four” teams Oakwood University and West Virginia State University received $15,000. The other top eight schools received $15,000 in grants. HCASC awarded all 48 of the participating schools with grant money.
During the event-filled weekend, for students, alumni and friends of the university, Morgan President Dr. David Wilson provided a play-by-play of the competition via social media as the team progressed forward.
“We won!!!” was the final post on Wilson’s Facebook page on April 8 along with a photo of the team with the winning trophy. Students responded with congratulatory comments showing their Bear pride.
“Their game face and ‘we got this’ stance during the competition was inspiring...and intimidating!.” wrote Alison Park-LoGrande on the photo.
“Congratulations MSU! I knew we could do it,” wrote Wilbert Walker.
Communications professor Dr. Oluwatosin Adegbola has coached Morgan’s Honda Challenge team for the past five years. Each year the team has placed in the top 10 winning grant money back to the university.
Adegbola said she expects a strong commitment from the team, which meets more than 10 hours a week and often on holidays and breaks. She said she scouts out specific students for the team who have a wide knowledge of subject matter who can be groomed for the game.
“I studied the game myself and wanted to know what subject matter it would be impossible not to know and win,” said Adegbola.
The HCASC has brought together the top HBCUs for the fierce competition for nearly 25 years. It is the only annual academic competition between the nation’s HBCUs bringing together more than 100,000 students and awarding more than $7 million in grants.
“The Honda Campus All-Star Challenge provides a one-of-a-kind outlet for students to flex their knowledge and intellect in an intense but friendly rivalry,” said Steve Morikawa, assistant vice president, Corporate Community Relations, American Honda Motor Co. “Beyond the competition, the Challenge gives HBCU students an opportunity to connect with like-minded students, build friendships and establish networks that last beyond HCASC.”