by Owen Nguyen '20
Quizbowl is a competition that is similar to “It’s Academic.” Each round there are twenty “toss-up” questions, and two teams consisting of four to six players try to answer the questions first. “Toss-ups” can vary from art to history to literature to science to “trash” (sports, current events, pop-culture, etc.) The hints given at first are obscure and hard, but gradually become simpler until the answer is basically given. When a team gets a “toss-up” correct, three additional bonus questions are read, which that team only can answer. For every “toss-up” and bonus question answered correct, ten points are awarded, but if a team answers a “toss-up” incorrectly, five points are deducted. At the end round, whichever team that has the most amount of points wins.
I started participating in Quizbowl tournaments starting in middle school. One of the biggest tournaments I went to was the national middle school tournament in Atlanta, Georgia. My middle school sent two teams, and both performed very well—one of them finishing 2nd out of over 150 teams.
When I decided to come to St. Albans, I planned on continuing my Quizbowl career. Halfway through last year, I gathered a group of classmates and formed a history bowl team (similar to Quizbowl but only contains history “toss-ups”). With little practice and experience, we managed to be very competitive in every tournament, and even managed to place 3rd in one of the three tournaments we attended. Because of our placement in these competitions, we qualified two teams for History Bowl nationals, which were held in Washington D.C that year.
Our record at nationals was fair, with us finishing around .500, but that wasn’t enough to get into the playoffs. Although disappointed at our result, I felt encouraged and hopeful for next year with a more experienced group.
This year I started an official club with Will Holland ‘20 and we held a couple of interest meetings earlier in the year. We’ve held multiple practices and planned out potential Quizbowl and History Bowl tournaments in the future. Just this past week we attended our first History Bowl competition of the year at St. Anselms. Unfortunately we didn’t qualify for nationals this time, but we were competitive and every game we played was close. We have many more tournaments ahead of us, and I hope that we will do well enough to go to nationals for both of them. The club is set up for success, and I’m looking forward to a great year for us.