Photograph Courtesy of Charles Meigs
Bruin brainiacs (from left):
Matthew Sherman and Dwight Wynne
Some kids are just different. Take freshman Dwight
Wynne, who was reading at age 2, or sophomore Charles Meigs, who
knew all the world capitals when he was still in training pants,
or junior Matthew Sherman, whose photographic memory earned him
$32,000 on TV's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire before he
was even out of high school.
In April, the trio put their mental muscle to the test at the
National Academic Quiz Tournaments intercollegiate championship
in St. Louis, Mo., and took home the winner's trophy in the undergraduate
division. Meigs was the top scorer in the nation with more than
70 points per game.
The battle of the brains tests knowledge in academic subject areas
as well as sports, current events and pop culture. In the St. Louis
finals, the Bruin trio's familiarity with Madame Bovary
helped them send the University of Illinois packing, 385-200.
Meigs, Sherman and Wynne (pictured from left)
have such vast knowledge at their command that even their
folks are baffled at how they acquired it all. "My husband
and I just look at each other," says Wynne's mom, Rita '77.
The Bruin brainiacs met on the high school quiz-bowl circuit —
Wynne and Sherman competed for Capistrano Valley High in Mission
Viejo and Meigs for Los Alamitos High in Los Alamitos. Each was
drawn to UCLA in part because of the university's highly regarded
College Bowl Club. Members get together twice a week to challenge
each other with fun factoids, like how many triangular sides in
an icosahedron* or the code names for the five beaches attacked
in Operation Overlord on D-Day**.
"We call him a nerd," Nanci Sherman says of son Matthew.
"But we say it with love."
*20 **Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah, Omaha