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Ankara coach Ray Esack,left, shares the joy of winning the 2007 DODDS-Europe Academic Games in Hambachtal, Germany, on Friday with his team, from Esack's left, Sally Neumann, Kaan Kadlioglu, Christopher Wilson, co-MVP James Snow and Casey Miller. In background is tournament director Bamma McCoy.
Ankara coach Ray Esack,left, shares the joy of winning the 2007 DODDS-Europe Academic Games in Hambachtal, Germany, on Friday with his team, from Esack's left, Sally Neumann, Kaan Kadlioglu, Christopher Wilson, co-MVP James Snow and Casey Miller. In background is tournament director Bamma McCoy. (Rusty Bryan / S&S)

HAMBACHTAL, Germany — Being familiar with diverse subjects such as Marxist jargon and the prose of American novelist Willa Cather helped Ankara, Turkey, dethrone Heidelberg during Friday’s championship of the 2007 DODDS-Europe Academic Games.

A cool head helped, too.

“We tried to stay relaxed,” said Ankara senior James Snow, voted co-Most Valuable Player of the 19-school quiz bowl along with Heidelberg sophomore Randall Bryan. “We tried to make it fun.”

If “fun” involves coming up with the right answer before an opposing panel of four students can, responding to questions covering math, science, history, politics, music and more, the Ankara students had a blast.

Ankara, the smallest school to make the final eight in the annual Department of Defense Dependents Schools compeition, was undefeated through the double-elimination portion of the two-day event, which began Thursday at a resort complex near Baumholder.

Ankara completed its run to the championship Friday with a comfortable victory over eventual third-place finisher SHAPE in the semifinals and the victory over Heidelberg in the final. Ramstein placed fourth.

“We tried not to be too concentrated,” said junior Sally Neumann, a three-year veteran of the event who’ll be back to help Ankara defend its title in 2008. “We wanted to stay calm.”

After the two teams stayed even in the early going, Snow put Ankara ahead to stay at 70-60 by supplying the term “bourgeoisie” to a question on Marxist terminology. Neumann padded the lead by identifying a passage from Willa Cather’s “My Antonia.”

By the time question 35 of the 40 allotted for each game rolled around, Ankara was up 140-115. But Heidelberg, which reached the final with a 210-80 losers-bracket final victory over SHAPE, mounted a furious rush in the late going.

Correct answers are worth 10 points each, with each fifth question including a bonus question.

Ankara’s experience in the competition paid off when it mattered, according to senior Kaan Kaglioglu, the team captain.

“This time, we came here not caring whether we were going to win or not,” said Kaglioglu, like Snow a two-year starter here. “We just came to do our best and have fun.”

Neumann said beating Heidelberg was her team’s most enjoyable game, although collecting another Big Schools’ scalp also was well up on her list.

“It was fun beating Kaiserslautern (in a playoff game that eliminated the Red Raiders),” she said. “They had beaten us in the pool-play round.”

Ankara’s other panelist in the title round was sophomore Christopher Wilson, in his first try here. Casey Miller served as the alternate.

Snow’s co-MVP award is a trans-Atlantic dream come true, according to Ankara coach Ray Esack.

“His older brother (Alex), now at Vassar, wanted badly to win it here three years ago,” he said. “He’ll be thrilled to hear James won.”

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