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Third win for physical education students at SHAPE Bowl

Published on May 02, 2022

Third win for physical education students at SHAPE Bowl

SHAPE Bowl team left to right: Sarah Gallagher '23, Cole Paquin '23, Joe Banas '22 and Madeleine McGee '22.
SHAPE Bowl team left to right: Sarah Gallagher '23, Cole Paquin '23, Joe Banas '22 and Madeleine McGee '22.

Eastern Connecticut State University’s Physical Education program continued its tradition of winning the annual Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) College Bowl competition on April 21. The jeopardy-style game tests teams of students from colleges and universities across the country on health and physical education concepts. This was Eastern’s third time winning the national competition in only its fourth time competing.

The team, which competed virtually this year, consisted of physical education students Sarah Gallagher ’23, Madeleine (Maddee) McGee ’22, Joe Banas ’22 and Cole Paquin ’23. The students answered questions on topics including pedagogy, exercise science, motor behavior, adapted physical education and others.

As an opening to the SHAPE conference, hosted this year in New Orleans, LA, from April 26-30, the SHAPE Bowl allowed students to participate in the conference while also continuing their end-of-year studies. “This year's competition was held online for the first (and hopefully last) time, due to the timing of the convention being too close to the end of the semester for students,” said Darren Robert, professor of education.

Cole Paquin ’23, who hopes to become a physical education teacher after graduation, said that preparing for the SHAPE Bowl meant revisiting topics he studied in his first year at Eastern. “Eastern is a smaller school, and the result of us winning helps to show how well professors do at preparing us for our futures,” said Paquin. 

He and his peers agreed that Eastern’s HPE program is challenging, but through the support of their faculty, they feel well informed and ready to enter the field. “This program has provided me with the resources needed to succeed, and if I could start at Eastern again, this is the exact same path that I would choose,” said Paquin.  

Madeline McGee ’22 said that the commitment to preparing for the national SHAPE Bowl shows the passion of Eastern’s HPE students and staff. “Participating in this competition is both an honor and testament to the work ethic put forth in Eastern’s notable HPE program,” she said. “The accomplishment of winning a national competition related to our undergraduate content knowledge attests to the passion and desire we as future educators possess.”

McGee and her peers were asked to compete in the competition by Robert and other HPE faculty. “I was humbled and grateful for the opportunity to represent Eastern and appreciative of our team’s success on a national level,” she said. Like her peers, McGee plans to pursue a career in physical and health education.  

Sarah Gallagher ’23 said that through winning the SHAPE Bowl, she and her peers proved to others how important Eastern’s HPE program is. “Winning this competition gave me and my team the confidence we needed to show everyone that this program is no joke, and we take it very seriously.” She plans to pursue a career in physical education following her graduation from Eastern in 2023. “This program has prepared me for the field I am going into. It has given me the confidence to know that I can be a great teacher.” 

Robert said that along with the confidence that winning the SHAPE Bowl has given his students, it is also an accomplishment that will take them far. “This will be a wonderful topic to discuss when interviewing, to put on their resumes, and to share with their families and colleagues for years to come.”

While students receive a trophy with their win, this year’s virtual setting changed the prize, with each student receiving a year's membership to SHAPE America. Robert said that it was pride that motivated the students to win the competition— “pride in their teams and their own hard work and accomplishments; pride in their profession; pride in Eastern Connecticut State University; and most of all, pride in our physical education program.”

Written by Molly Boucher