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Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 12:15pm

A team of Mercy undergraduates won the regional Student Bowl at the annual spring meeting of the Greater New York Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). On May 30, the team will represent Mercy and the regional chapter at the national ACSM Student Bowl in Minneapolis, MN.


Do you know which enzyme accelerates the reaction breakdown of phosphocreatine in order to synthesize ATP? Egypt Vlymen-Williams, Zenon Jimenez, and Rob Deese do. They are the three seniors from the Exercise Science program in the School of Health and Natural Sciences who make up Mercy’s ACSM Student Bowl team this year. (The answer is creatine kinase or creatine phosphokinase.) By answering almost every question correctly and strategizing well, they outpaced the competition from four local colleges — Manhattan College, Lehman College, Queens College, and York College — to win the 2018 regional ACSM Student Bowl.


[Mercy’s Exercise Science] program really prepared us,” explains Vlymen-Williams. She describes hearing about a Mercy team that was very close to winning the regional Student Bowl a couple of years ago, which made her want to close the deal this year. “We've been studying all along,” agrees Jimenez. “It's one of those things where we said either we know it or we don't. Fortunately, we're individuals who have thrived in this program. So we went in there confident.”


The Student Bowl is a Jeopardy-style game that tests students’ knowledge of sports medicine and exercise science, including applied anatomy, strength and conditioning, exercise physiology, and pathophysiology. All the questions are similar to those that students will answer on ACSM’s Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP-C) exam. While the regional competition involved 25 questions in 5 categories, the 12 regional teams competing at the national level will answer a total of 50 questions in 12 categories.


As the team prepares to head to the national competition in a few weeks, Vlymen-Williams says that she might do a little studying since “nationals looks a little more in depth than regionals … but I feel like we've prepared for this.” Jimenez is most focused on finishing strong in my final semester. Just being there is the win.” However, he does admit with a chuckle that he has “a yearning desire to crush everyone at nationals.”


Mercy professors Dr. Allison Williams — the sponsor of Mercy’s Student Bowl team—Dr. Patrick Davitt, and Dr. Astrid Mel will attend the national conference as well and cheer on the team at the competition. “The win is a personal achievement for the students,” explains Dr. Davitt, who is also the president of the Greater New York Regional Chapter of the ACSM. “And it’s obviously wonderful exposure for [Mercy’s] program, but it also speaks to the reputability of our program: that we're teaching [students] everything that's expected of them to know within the field of health and fitness.”


By winning the regional Student Bowl, the Mercy team secured “bragging rights” and all-expenses paid trips to the national conference. At the national competition, they will compete for a trophy and complimentary ACSM certification exam registrations (which cost approximately $250 per student).


Regardless of what happens at the national competition, the students are looking forward to an exciting year as they prepare for graduation this month and then the next steps in their careers. Vlymen-Williams is applying to medical school, Jimenez will begin graduate school at Columbia University’s School of Nursing in June, and Deese has a summer internship with the University of Buffalo’s Strength and Conditioning team. Their win at the regional Student Bowl is testament to their hard work at Mercy and to the confident professionals they are becoming.