With the added pressure of being the OM host city, the UMSL chapter of the AOSA stepped up their game for the main event. The Lion King theme, paired with the “Hakuna Guttata” t shirts, made for a fun evening as the nation’s optometry schools gathered for the AOSA Optometry Student Bowl XXVIII Powered by Essilor. The event was held in the Loop at the Pageant, and there was quite the display of spirit.

UMSL students Torvin Rajala (’22) and Patrick Stifter (’22) enjoyed the atmosphere. “The Pageant was packed,” said Torvin. “There were a lot of UMSL students up on the 2ndlevel.” Patrick added, “They had a DJ before and after, and that was a lot of fun.” The rising 2ndyear students felt good about knowing the answers to many of the questions in the competition. The convenient location made it possible for a number of UMSL students to cheer on our representative.

For Lacie Spagnola (‘20), this was the third OM she’s attended, but the first time in which she was competing for the coveted Ventura Cup. Lacie (who sported cat makeup for the event) said, “I wasn’t sure I wanted to after winning Mock Student Bowl because it was so nerve racking to think about doing it, but I am so glad I decided to do it.” Attendees of the bowl know how difficult it is to even buzz in first! Lacie was able to buzz in on a question and answer it correctly. “I had fun though and was glad I got to experience it from the hot seat. Hearing my school cheer for me, especially following a correct question was such a great feeling.”

Some changes to the competition, including a “save” option for a previously eliminated school and the written format of the final question, added to the excitement. As for the hardware, ICO took home the Ventura Cup as the winner of the bowl competition. MCO won the Spirit Award, and ICO won the AOSA t-shirt design competition. Lacie didn’t go home empty handed, though. Essilor and other sponsors came through with a travel mug, leather-bound notebook, and an engraved Pan Retinal BIO lens. After such a great experience, surely some current students are dreaming of next year’s bowl already, when OM will be held in Washington, D.C.