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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

SJVC Visalia’s PA Team Takes First Prize at CAPA Medical Challenge Bowl

November 19, 2014

SJVC Visalia PA students took top prize at the Medical Challenge BowlVisalia’s Physician Assistant team took the top prize at this year’s California Academy of Physician Assistant (CAPA) Medical Challenge Bowl held during the October 10-12 conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Palm Springs.

“It was a nail-biter,” enthuses Monica Urmson, Administrative Assistant to the PA Program and competition attendee.

Physician Assistant programs from Stanford University, Loma Linda, Touro University, USC and Western University provided strong competition for SJVC’s team of seniors who practiced for battle at least two months before stepping into the ring. Friday drills with their team coach, Andrey Sidorenko, sharpened their knowledge, teamwork and strategies to a fine point.

At the end of training, team members Chris Seitz, Alyssa Miller (team captain) and Gill Gilliam, along with team alternates Joel Mapes, Sonia Ceranek and Kevin Miao, were ready to throw down with the best of them…especially their long-term rival USC.

The competition was held at the hotel’s swimming pool area where teams sparred before a panel of three judges. Over a thousand spectators surrounded the Bowl’s arena, taking refuge under table-top canopies, and hanging off pool-side room balconies, as they cheered and jeered support and defeat.

Each heat consisted of ten questions of ten points each. Incorrect answers resulted in a ten point subtraction.

Wearing team t-shirts “Saving the best for last,” SJVC first took on perennial rival USC and put them all the way down with a 50 to -30 score. “Every year it is us and USC, but this year we took them out in our first round,” says Monica.

For the Championship round, it was first-heat winners Stanford University, Touro University and SJVC. Tension and adrenalin were running high. Stanford was bumped out with less effort than anticipated; then it was just SJVC and Touro left to determine top dog.

SJVC proved victorious with a narrow margin of 50 to 40 over Touro. “I’m so proud of these guys!” says Coach Andrey Sidorenko. “I knew they could do it.”

This is the third state-wide win for Team SJVC, out of ten California Medical Challenge Bowls in which they have competed. SJVC’s PA program received a $250 prize, and each team member was awarded a $100 iTunes card. Each year the winning college gets their name and year of win engraved on the Challenge Bowl cup, which they get to display until a new year’s winner takes top spot. Then, there are the bragging rights.

“We got congratulations all weekend at the conference,” says Monica. “People would stop us in the hall and tell us they were rooting for SJVC. They said we were fierce and savvy competitors every year.”

The Medical Challenge Bowl is a great venue for PA programs to strut their stuff. But it is also a nice accolade for competing team members to drop onto resumes for a future job search, as well as affirmation of their program success.

“This was a special win for me because when I applied to PA schools I didn’t have a Bachelors Degree yet, so this was the only program I could apply to,” says PA team member Chris Seitz. “Without this program at SJVC, I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to even be in a PA school today.”

Winning this state event qualifies SJVC for entry into the American Academy of Physician Assistant’s national competition coming up next spring. “Now off to win the nationals at AAPA!” affirms Coach Sidorenko.

Both SJVC Visalia‘s PA team and their fervent cheering squad are ready to go.

SJVC’s Physician Assistant program will close in the Fall of 2015, after its last cohort of students completes the program. The College is not enrolling any future cohorts of students for its PA program. Click for more information.

If you are interested in finding institutions that are enrolling students in a Physician Assistant program accredited by ARC-PA, please visit the ARC-PA website.