Wednesday December 12, 2012

WILLIAMSTOWN -- On the eve of their final exams, three Williams College students have emerged as champions of the second season of "Schooled: NESN’s College Face-Off."

The seven-episode season, which premiered on NESN on Oct. 30, had teams of three each representing eight different New England colleges that competed in brain-teasing trivia and puzzles.

The Williams College team -- consisting of Senior Lysa Vola, Sophomore Marty Clarke and Freshman Alex Kling -- brought the Berkshire liberal arts school to victory against the returning champs, Providence College, during the season finale, which aired Tuesday night.

Williams advanced in previous episodes by beating Amherst College and Harvard University.

They were not asked to participate last season. Each of the three players will be awarded with a $5,000 grand prize and luxury box seats at a Red Sox game in the spring.

"I was more excited about that than the money, but that’ll probably change when I actually get the check," Clarke said. "It’ll probably sit in the bank, or my girlfriend might get something nice. People might get some nicer Christmas presents."

The contestants had to keep the outcome of the show secret from their friends and family so as to not spoil it.

"We didn’t have the money, so it wasn’t that tough," Clarke said. "Though we were proud, we couldn’t really show it yet."

The contestants said they don’t know when they will get their cash prize.


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At the end of Tuesday’s episode, Kling said he was going to use his money to go to Disney World.

"I wasn’t joking, either," he said after the show. "I went when I was younger and it was the best time of my life."

Just months away from her May graduation, Vola said she’ll use the money to put a down payment on a car and save up for her upcoming wedding after her boyfriend proposed around Thanksgiving.

The finale Tuesday was different than previous "Schooled" episodes. Teams competed in brain-teasing puzzles to win hint cards sponsored by Digital Federal Credit Union. They could use the hint cards for help in the championship round, which was a series of rapid-fire questions on everything from TV trivia, to politics, to philosophy.

Three wrong answers, and the team would get "Schooled" giving their opponents the victory. Williams and Providence were tied with two wrong answers each, making for a nail-biting season finale.

"That was our signature move - tie it up and make them anxious," Vola said.

Kling fired off quick answers when host Michael Showalter asked what RAM stands for (Random Access Memory) and who competed in the first televised presidential debate (John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon). Clarke quickly answered what the longest-running 30-minute TV series is ("The Simpsons").

A Providence team member goofed on a Greek mythology question, who beheaded Medusa, (Perseus) the team’s third wrong answer.

Thus, Providence College was "Schooled" and Williams College was declared this season’s winner. After realizing they won, the trio hugged each other in front of the camera.

After the showing of the episode Tuesday in Bronfman Auditorium at Williams, friends and staff members high-fived and shook the hands of the new "Schooled" champions.

"We proved that the size of a school isn’t a disadvantage," Vola said.

Though the contestants didn’t know each other beforehand, Clarke said, "It’s not a big campus, I’m sure we’ll see each other again."

Angela Schaeffer, a spokeswoman for Williams College, said the win is a "fantastic" achievement for both Williams College and the students.

"This was the first time they competed, and they did so well," she said. "I was impressed with how they came together as a team and respected the other teams."

To reach Adam Poulisse:
(413) 496-6214,
or apoulisse@berkshireeagle.com.
On Twitter: @BE_Poulisse