The Cedarville University team, known as “The Heartland Guards,” includes Ryan Beach, a senior from Randoph, N.Y.; Quinn Brandt, a junior from Dumfries, Va.; and Dane Barnett, a senior from Buda, Ill. A second team with Southwest/Central Ohio connections is “Lift Your Voice.” The team is a husband-wife from Hilliard and brother-in-law from Beavercreek (David Faile, pastor at Patterson Park Church).
Participants competing on the show need a strong knowledge of the Bible and the ability to think well under pressure. With a solid background of biblical knowledge from growing up in the church and attending Cedarville, the team felt equipped for the competition. According to Beach, “We wouldn’t have competed as well as we did without the classes in the Bible minor and our time at Cedarville.”
Rather than winning money, each team plays for a nonprofit charity of their choice. When a team wins a match, it secures $25,000 for its charity. The Heartland Guards selected the Make-a-Wish Foundation because of Barnett’s personal experience with the organization. He was born with a serious heart ailment and later was granted a wish from Make-a-Wish. With such a meaningful connection to the organization, Beach shared, “It was our way of giving back since Dane had been given his wish.”
The concept of competing on the program originated eight months before the November 2013 taping in Los Angeles. The University’s public relations team believed it was a good opportunity to showcase students and Cedarville’s commitment to the Bible. Eight teams (24 students) auditioned in Cleveland at the start of the academic year in September and the Heartland Guards were selected. The students, along with Mark D. Weinstein, executive director of public relations, traveled to Los Angeles for the filming of the show–and have been silent on the team’s accomplishments ever since. According to Beach, “The experience felt totally surreal, but once things started on the set, we got in the zone.”
Beach and Brandt are cousins while Brandt and Barnett are roommates. The three have been close friends since the beginning of their freshman year, and they could not have been more excited to experience this adventure as a team.
According to Weinstein, “Ryan, Dane, and Quinn were good representatives of our university.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,400 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Inspiring greatness for over 125 years, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at www.cedarville.edu.