Ever wonder who Shiva’s first wife was or where in the world Liechtenstein is? Stuyvesant’s Quiz Bowl team will probably have the answer.
Stuyvesant High School’s Quiz Bowl Team, which participates in trivia competitions, attended the Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence National Tournament at George Mason University on Saturday, May 23 and the National Academic Quiz Tournaments National Tournament at Chicago University on Saturday, May 30.
To qualify for the national competitions, a team from any high school must be in the top ten percent of regional tournaments. Stuyvesant’s team is currently ranked second in New York State behind Hunter College High School.
The members going to the competitions are senior and co-President of the Quiz Bowl team Aidan Bonner, senior and co-President Paul Rozenberg, junior Michael Ruon and sophomore Neil Desai. “[The national tournaments] are both really prestigious and have a lot of great teams, so we’re really excited to participate,” Rozenberg said.
“Quiz Bowl travels around to various colleges and high schools, competing with other high schools in a competition of knowledge ranging from the obscure and esoteric to the simply strange,” Bonner said. “It’s somewhat like Jeopardy, only more difficult, more far-ranging, and in a different format. Questions range from history to physics to calculus to poetry to Pokemon, and everything in between.”
The team generally goes to seven or eight regional tournaments each year. Tournaments take place at large high schools, such as Thomas Jefferson High School, or universities such as Yale, Harvard, or Princeton.
In each tournament, the team is divided into smaller teams of four people who compete against other high school teams. Their main rivals are Hunter College High School and Kellenberg High School in Uniondale, Long Island. In each tournament, there are 10 preliminary rounds in which the team is asked 20 toss-up questions. If either competing team answers a question correctly, they are given the opportunity to answer three bonus questions. Following this is the single elimination playoffs. The winner of the most rounds wins the competition.
“We practice intensely before we have the big tournaments,” Rozenberg said.
The team holds practices three times a week and also holds scrimmages against nearby high schools. “A lot of things you [are asked] in Quiz Bowl you learn in school,” Bonner said. “Reading a book will help you do better in Quiz Bowl. Reading Wikipedia will help you get better at Quiz Bowl.”
Bonner also said that the tournaments have a relaxed feel to them. “There’s a lot of serious knowledge, but we don’t have to wear cufflinks or anything. We have fun at tournaments,” Bonner said.
In addition to giving out the customary trophies, consolation prizes are given out to the teams with the hilariously worst answer to questions at certain competitions. According to Rozenberg, at one tournament a few years ago, a lucky team was ‘Rick Rolled’ and given a CD with “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley playing on it twenty-two times. Other memorable moments include times when Desai gets a question wrong merely for mispronouncing the answer, such as Liechtenstein or the names of Asian countries.
Stuyvesant’s team has seen great success in competitions this year. They placed second at both the Princeton University Fall Tour and the Yale University Spring Tour. The team also recently won third place on Saturday, May 16 in a competition at Chatham High School. “It’s generally been a good year for us,” Bonner said.