The quiz bowl team is an organization that isn’t talked about much at Van Buren High School, often overshadowed by the other extracurriculars. After a monumental tournament win at Riverdale High School on Jan. 29, though, they are certainly doing great things. This victory is taking them to Minneapolis, Minn. on the first weekend of May to compete in the Small School National Championship Tournament.
Mrs. Teaman, librarian at Van Buren, has coached the quiz bowl team for 10 years. “It’s exciting for all of us,” she said, feeling proud of her team’s major accomplishment.
She explained how the tournament in Riverdale was established, saying, “The head of the National Association of Quiz Tournaments for this area introduced himself to the county advisors and he wanted to have a tournament in their format, and the winner of that tournament would move onto nationals.”
According to Matt Cooper, qualifying for the tournament in Minneapolis wasn’t something the team was even aware of. “I was pretty pumped,” said Cooper, enthusiastically. “We didn’t even know that really meant anything until we won our fourth game, and the reader said, ‘by the way, if you win this one, you can win a bid to Minneapolis.’ It was a surprise, but it was a good surprise.”
In preparation for meets, the team usually practices at lunch on Wednesdays and during activity period on Fridays, and will most likely continue to do this as they practice for the national tournament.
“There isn’t a whole lot you can do to prepare for quiz bowl,” said Natalie Risser, senior quiz bowl team member. “It’s a lot of random knowledge about history and stuff like that.”
During practices, the team runs through sets of trivia that may come up as questions in future meets, but questions are generally unexpected. According to Risser, the success of the team is based more on strategy than actual knowledge of the trivia.
“Depending on what you’re good at, your quiz bowl leader might put you in for half of the round and when they call for substitutions, they might take you out,” explained Risser. “And if you plan it out perfectly, you can optimize your chances of winning.”
Teaman agreed, noting the specializations of some of her players. “We can determine when a certain subject is more likely to be asked within a match and put those kids in at that time. But our biggest strength at this point is Matt Bado.”
Bado, senior quiz bowl member, said that he is especially good in the subjects of history and government, which are currently the team’s stronger subjects.
There are still questions as to how the team will get to Minneapolis, as far as transportation and funding. According to Teaman, the team will most likely travel by train and fundraising will need to be done to come up with the means to travel.
Besides that, the quiz bowl members are excited about their accomplishment.
“Our big goal is to have fun,” said Cooper. “We have a lot of good conversations, pretty nerdy conversations, when we’re together.”
And like they have been for the entire season, Bado said that at Nationals the team simply plans to, “Just go and do the best we can.”