2024 Benjamin Cooper Award Winners – Congratulations Tracey Hickman and Ben Weiner!

The Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence is proud to announce the winners of the 2024 Benjamin Cooper Awards!

A photograph of Tracey Hickman in a light-colored shirt and gray pinstripe jacket against a blue background.

The Benjamin Cooper Academic Ambassador Award is awarded to Tracey Hickman, of Murray State College (Tishomingo, OK) and Oklahoma Quiz Bowl Camp. Tracey’s dedication to tournament direction and outreach has expanded pyramidal quizbowl across the state of Oklahoma.

Tracey has served as the tournament director of the NAQT Oklahoma State Championship since 2014. In the decade since, his tireless outreach work has expanded the field from six teams from four schools to 54 teams from 36 schools across the state. As the director of Oklahoma Quiz Bowl Camp, he has taught more than 200 different students, most attending multiple times, about quizbowl every summer since 2016. He has also led the quizbowl teams at Coalgate High School and Murray State College to impressive showings on the national stage as their founder and coach. Coalgate qualified for every NAQT Small School National Championship since 2018 and peaked with a 5th-place finish in the Very Small School division, while Murray State has placed 4th and 3rd at the NAQT Community College Championship Tournament.

A photograph of Ben Weiner in a blue shirt against a blurred green natural background.

The Benjamin Cooper Young Ambassador Award is awarded to Ben Weiner, of the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN). Ben’s service as a writer, tournament director, and logistics coordinator has continued to develop the state of Minnesota’s reputation as a quizbowl powerhouse. We also thank Ben for his service as tournament director of the PACE NSC in 2023 and 2024, while still an undergraduate and recent college graduate.

Ben has taken on numerous roles during his time in quizbowl, from serving as president of the UMN quizbowl team, PACE’s Vice President of Tournament Direction, and a prolific writer for the annual ACRONYM pop culture set with Play Quiz Bowl. But the most rewarding part of his work is giving back to the Minnesota quizbowl community, whether it be through organizing and hosting tournaments with the UMN team, spending his Thursday nights staffing the Minnesota High School Quizbowl League, or cooking up fun and canon-pushing pop culture questions for ACRONYM. It’s difficult to find a weekend in which Ben is not participating in some quizbowl event as a player, coach, staffer, organizer, or some combination of roles. Ben graduated from Wayzata High School (Plymouth, MN) in 2020 and from the University of Minnesota in 2024. Ben will begin pursuing his M.D. from the University of Minnesota Medical School this fall.

Tracey and Ben will be formally recognized at the 2024 PACE NSC next month. Please join us in congratulating them!