Matt Bollinger played for the University of Virginia, during which time he became the best active player in college quizbowl and won four national titles. He is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time (second or third only to Andrew Yaphe and possibly Jordan Brownstein). A member of the St. Anselm's class of 2010, he is proud to have been included among both the nicest and the meanest players in quizbowl, according to lists created by Ryan Westbrook.
His undergraduate career featured numerous key matches against Yale's Matt Jackson as part of the Jackson-Bollinger rivalry. Outside of college competition, he has notably won or edited all but two Chicago Opens since 2012.
In 2021, Matt announced that he would be eligible to play for Georgia Tech at the 2022 ACF Nationals.
Bollinger is also known as an editor, having produced widely-acclaimed sets like the 2013 Chicago Open, the 2015 VCU Open, and the 2017 ACF Nationals. He was the Editor-in-Chief of ACF for the 2020-2021 season and Communications Officer for 2019-2020.
After his high school teammate Aidan Mehigan became good at quizbowl, Matt went on an enormous study binge over the summer of 2009, which paid off when he was the second highest scorer at the 2010 NSC (where his team placed fourth). With Chris Ray, Eric Mukherjee, and Dominic Machado, he played on a team that won the Saturday event of VCU Open 2010.
In his freshman year at Virginia, he played with Will Butler, Sam Luongo, and David Seal on a dangerous team that won that year's Mid-Atlantic SCT and Penn Bowl. When a sundering of the fellowship resulted in UVA fielding depleted teams at both nationals, Matt led Virginia to a low finish at ICT and a better, top-bracket finish at 2011 ACF Nationals.
In the 2011-12 season, Virginia lost Will Butler but acquired two star recruits in Evan Adams and Tommy Casalaspi. Matt led this UVA team to a 1st place finish at the 2012 ICT and a 2nd place finish at 2012 ACF Nationals; the same year, he was the high scorer on the winning team at Chicago Open.
When Virginia failed to take home either major title in 2012-13, he, Evan, and Tommy embarked on a successful program to avenge themselves on the quizbowl community. In the 2013-14 season, Bollinger led UVA to a national title sweep. In the process, Matt scored more powers individually than any other team at the 2013 ICT; he also led the field in scoring at the 2014 ACF Nationals. He was only the second person (after Andrew Yaphe in 1999) to both be the lead individual scorer and play on the winning team at both ICT and Nationals in the same year, as well as one of only three people to be the lead scorer at both tournaments in the same year at all and four to win both awards in a career.
In August 2014, Bollinger surprised the community by announcing his return to Virginia for a one-year graduate degree from the School of Commerce during the 2014-15 year , extending his collegiate playing career for that long and leaving other contenders scrambling. During that year, he led UVA to a fourth-place finish at ACF Nationals and a fourth national title at ICT.
In 2015, Bollinger repeated as the leading scorer at the NAQT ICT, becoming only the third player (Andrew Yaphe and Matt Weiner) to win multiple scoring titles at the ICT.
In spring 2022, after several years out of school, Bollinger enrolled in an online masters program at Georgia Tech, which he led to a victory at 2022 ACF Nationals while once again becoming that tournament's top scorer. He was ineligible to play 2022 ICT due to his work on the questions as a set editor.
Writing and Editing
Matt was a writer for, and the Chief Editor of, HSAPQ. Of the tournaments he has worked on, he is most proud of NASAT 2012, Chicago Open 2013, and VCU Open 2015.
While an active player, Matt was the subject of a number of quizbowl running jokes, most of which were popularized by Mike Cheyne; few have survived the ages. These include:
- "That's a word, Mike Sorice!" -- Occurred during the NSC All-Star Round, when Bollinger responded to a bonus part on "hapticity" by inexplicably telling moderator Mike Sorice that it was a word.
- "Zeppelins" -- Occurred after Matt insisted that a NASAT tossup on zeppelins written by Mike Cheyne was extremely difficult to answer. "Zeppelins" were briefly used facetiously as benchmark of absurd difficulty.
- "Rizzoli and Isles" -- A reference to the unpopular TNT program. Carsten Gehring and Mike Cheyne have begun referring to Bollinger (Rizzoli) and Evan Adams (Isles) by this name. Evan Adams' decision to attend UVA for law school meant that this joke lasted slightly longer mileage. (n.b. - the debut of the similarly-titled TNT show Franklin & Bash naturally led to a brief search for quizbowl figures to arbitrarily assign the roles to. Results were inconclusive.)
- "True knowledge of the Pig War" -- Resulted from a long and tortuous argument about a NASAT tossup on "the United States-Canada border", in which Matt hypothesized that his teammate Jacob Wasserman was somehow going unrewarded for his long years of studying a minor nineteenth-century border conflict, or something. Briefly used refer to any hyperbolic complaint about a question's failure to reward "real knowledge".
- Matt is also noted for his tendency to blush, a fact he was unaware of until an IRC conversation in which he claimed not to know what his own face looks like. He also once accidentally gave $11, rather than the $2 he presumably intended to give, to a panhandler at the Richmond Five Guys while staffing CULT; this resulted in an abortive, though highly amusing, attempt to chase the panhandler down the street to retrieve his ten-dollar bill.
- ↑ Re: Where Are You Going Next Year? (Collegiate 2021) by The King's Flight to the Scots » Wed Oct 20, 2021 6:06 pm