Like watching Jeopardy!? Quiz Bowl is the even faster-paced team version, buzzers included.
Stuyvesant’s Quiz Bowl team, Team TriBeCa, attended the Hunter Mirror of the Fall Novice Tournament at Hunter College High School on Saturday, October 29. Opposing schools came from the New York City area. The team had an undefeated record at the tournament.
Quiz Bowl is a national trivia game for high school students. Tournaments start with 20 toss-up questions in each hour-long round between two teams of four players each. There is no set number of rounds per tournament or time limits for each round. The team that answers a toss-up correctly is then given the chance to answer three related bonus questions.
Quiz Bowl questions are varied in subject, as they cover a typical high school curriculum as well as current events, sports, and popular culture. At the Hunter tournament, “there was plenty of art, there was history, there was some geography, there were mathematical concepts, and there was lots of science,” junior and Quiz Bowl co-vice president Bernard Stanford said.
“It’s fun to play. There are categories for everybody. I went on Saturday and there just happened to be, by coincidence, a question about LeBron James and he’s my favorite basketball player,” senior and Quiz Bowl co-vice president Clifford Chao said. “There’s something for everybody in Quiz Bowl.”
The competitors representing Stuyvesant were seniors Chao and Tangent Cheng, juniors Alex Li and Dhrupad Mamun, and freshman Alexander Oltarsh, none of whom had previous Quiz Bowl experience. The tournament was a special novice tournament for new Quiz Bowl players who had never competed before. Since Stuyvesant had more than the required number of members present, the teams were changed each round.
“Everybody got a chance to play and they definitely enjoyed themselves,” Stanford said. “It was a success. At first, they weren’t used to the format but we got used to it pretty quickly and we started doing better.”
Team TriBeCa won all seven of its rounds. In total, there were only seven rounds because the competition ended early due to impending inclement weather. It was originally set to run to around 6:00 p.m., but was stopped by 4:00 p.m.
The team started off the tournament playing against Bergen County Academies. It was their hardest round of the day since they were evenly matched and the players had to adjust to the competition atmosphere. “The first game was pretty close. It was decided right at the end but then the rest was pretty easy,” Chao said.
There were a total of 24 teams present. Teams came from high schools in areas outside of New York City such as New Jersey and Long Island.
During the season, the Stuyvesant Quiz Bowl teammates meet twice a week for practice. In preparation for upcoming tournaments, they organize mock rounds. The mock rounds are less formal than actual tournament rounds as they are geared more towards learning the material.
“It’s really just the luck of the draw because sometimes you’ll know something and sometimes you won’t and the questions are different every time,” Oltarsh said. “The teamwork is important because some people know a lot of things in certain subjects, but some people don’t. If there’s a person who’s really good at history and another that’s good at science, that’ll work.”
Team TriBeCa is aiming to go to 10 tournaments in the upcoming Quiz Bowl season. They are hoping to qualify for the High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT) held by the National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT). Teams qualify based on their performances at NAQT tournaments throughout the season.
“In the past,” Stanford said. “[Stuyvesant] did very well so I’m confident that now we can again replicate that success.”
The Stuyvesant Quiz Bowl team, founded in 2005, came in 21st place out of 160 teams at the HSNCT tournament in 2007.
Social studies teacher and Quiz Bowl faculty advisor Matthew Polazzo believes Team TriBeCa is well prepared for the upcoming season. “They’re really smart, motivated kids. It seems like they’re going to do great,” Polazzo said.
The team is also aiming to make Quiz Bowl a larger presence in the Stuyvesant community by organizing StuyBowl, a Stuyvesant-themed Quiz Bowl tournament. The Quiz Bowl team has never held an event like it before. Questions will be Stuyvesant-related and examples of potential question topics include SING!, Principal Stanley Teitel, and notable alumni.
“We have a much larger club [this year] and we’re going for much more visibility,” Stanford said. “We’re being much more engaged [in the Stuyvesant community].”