Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



Fusion Energizes LLNL’s Nerd Bowl II Team

Nerd Bowl Logo

Last year, LLNL’s two teams in Nerd Bowl I fell short of their goal to bring home the inaugural flag football tournament’s coveted trophy.

This year, the teams have fused into one unit—the Lazer Cats, largely made up of NIF & Photon Science employees—that is primed to make a strong run for glory in Nerd Bowl II, scheduled for Jan. 26 and featuring teams from Sandia National Laboratories/California, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and Facebook.

More importantly, the Lazer Cats crew will enjoy the comradery of playing ball, just as they have during their twice-weekly lunchtime practices.

Zhi Liao Grabs a PassZhi Liao of LLNL’s Lazer Cats hauls in a pass against Facebook’s flag football team during Nerd Bowl I in 2018. Credit: Ray Iaea

“I’m going to tell them, ‘Let’s just have fun and let it fly, don’t overthink it,’” says Lazer Cats quarterback Jason “Sizzle” Laurea, a NIF&PS photographer and Web developer.

For Nerd Bowl I in Menlo Park, the Lab sent two teams, the Lazer Cats and the Nasty Neutrons, with 17 players representing NIF & Photon Science, Environmental Safety and Health, Weapons and Complex Integration (WCI), Engineering, Computation, Livermore Information Technology, and Public Affairs.

The Lazer Cats took second place, reaching the title game against Facebook’s champion Cache Money. Sandia’s Ballistic Thunderbirds captured third place against the Nasty Neutrons.

This year’s 20-person Lazer Cats roster includes returning stalwarts Alejandro “Tiny” Aguirre, Gabe “Loud Mouth” Davalos, Gino “Guns” Aluzzi, Jeremy “Q-Tip” Thomas, and Zhi “Money” Liao.

Jason Laurea Hurls a PassQB Jason Laurea throws over a fierce pass rush during Nerd Bowl I in 2018. Credit: Ray Iaea

Joining them from the Neutrons are Laurea, Brian “Gangsta” Heidl, Jacob “Babyface” McCormack, John “The Swan” Jett, Mark “The Butler” Meamber, Justin “Crypto” Shinn, and Nolan “Muscles” O’Brien.

The Cats hope to be energized by new players Aaron Potash, Brandon Dempsey, David Lancaster, Henry Hui, James Wickboldt, Jason Powell, Julie Wurzbach, and Nick Konradi, who have yet to earn nicknames.

Three-quarters of the players work for NIF&PS, but the team also includes members from Environmental Safety and Health, Livermore Information Technology, and Public Affairs.

Nerd Bowl II is scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m. on Livermore High School's football field, 3011 Fourth St., Livermore, followed by the championship round at 3:30 pm. The tournament is open to the public and spectators are welcome.

If you can't be there in person, check out LLNL’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts (@Livermore_Lab) for live score updates, photos, and video from the tournament. Follow the hashtag #NerdBowl. The final game of the series will be broadcast on the Lab's Facebook page live at about 3:30 p.m.

Click here to watch LLNL’s Nerd Bowl II challenge video. Click here to see the tournament bracket.

—Benny Evangelista

Follow us on Twitter: @lasers_llnl