By Eric Villanueva ’11
At lunch and after school Mondays and Wednesdays, exasperations, excited
shouts, laughs and buzzes echo in a cacophony off the vaulted ceilings of Piper 117.
Brophy’s nationally-qualified quiz bowl teams scrimmage each other in these meetings in preparation for a tournament at ASU April 2, and the national championship in Atlanta this summer.
The 10 members of the “A” and “B” teams tense their fingers on red square buttons atop small black boxes, listening to practice questions about literature, pop culture and current events read by co-moderator Mr. Patrick Kolb.
When answering, the black boxes emit a mechanical buzz and a yellow, bulbous light illuminates.
If the question is answered correctly, the team earns 10 points, plus five power points if it was answered quickly. The team is then read three bonus questions, which could give them another 30 points.
“We didn’t do as well as we usually do, but that’s sort of how a round would go,” said Jordan Bruner ’13, the unofficial captain of both science bowl and quiz bowl. “In a competition it would be much quieter and the other team wouldn’t be talking or trying to answer.”
Quiz bowl and science bowl share their rules and team members.
They both resemble the popular game show Jeopardy, except that contestants work in teams—and answering “What is” or “Who is” is not required.
“Most kids do both,” Bruner said of the two groups. “They kind of go together.”
However, it’s only been since 2005 when Brophy science bowl first went to nationals that quiz bowl has been on campus.
On the national stage, Brophy learned that other nationally-ranked science bowl teams used quiz bowl as practice, according to Ms. Cheryl Lenox, co-moderator of the two clubs.
“And I said, ‘That’s great, but there are no (quiz bowl) teams in Arizona,’” Ms. Lenox said.
So Brophy introduced quiz bowl to other Arizona high schools and encouraged them to form teams.
Today, with monthly regional tournaments at ASU, Ms. Lenox said she has no doubt that Brophy brought quiz bowl from a national level to Arizona.
Many students who are in both clubs now enjoy quiz bowl more for the variety of questions, according to Bruner, a sophomore who joined science bowl and consequently quiz bowl his freshman year.
“Ninety percent of the kids will tell you Quiz Bowl is more fun because there’s less rules and you have pop culture questions,” Bruner said. “It’s definitely fun to have classical music in one question and then hockey in the next one.”
But whether it’s science bowl or quiz bowl, Ms. Lenox said it still comes down to overall knowledge and, most importantly, speed.
“It’s about being smart and quick and understanding the rules and implications of what’s unfolding instantly before you,” she said. “It is about speed. That’s how you win.”
In order to develop speed, members must dedicate themselves to practice and, foremost, to learning, according to Ms. Lenox.
Fortunately for Brophy’s team members, they really don’t have to outside of their classes.
“They really don’t have to do a lot of independent study because the coursework they have here at Brophy is so good,” Ms. Lenox said.
When they’re assigned a chapter in class, members strive to learn everything about it and all the little intricate facts so they can answer quickly for bonus, she said.
“Everyone may know the author of a certain book, but the person who actually read it, the first clue they give (in the question) is going to be some little detail that only a person who would have intimate knowledge about it would be able to answer rapidly,” Ms. Lenox said.
Bruner added members don’t have to be academically perfect students, but that dedication to classes is important.
“You don’t have to have a 4.5 (GPA) to join, but the kids who will join and be good at it will be the kids who are taking the time to do well in classes,” he said.
This year 30 students, mostly underclassmen, came out for both science and quiz bowl and were put together into three teams to compete in both bowls.
Since 2005, Brophy science bowl hasn’t sent a team to nationals, but a team of four freshmen and one sophomore placed fourth in the regional science bowl tournament Saturday, March 5 at Glendale Community College.
Bruner said the young contingent bodes well for Brophy’s future successes in science bowl, which reflects in his goals for next year.
“But, especially with the exact same team returning next year, I’d definitely like to win and go to nationals,” Bruner said. “I had a great experience with that in middle school and would like to do it again.”
In quiz bowl, Brophy is one of the top teams in the state, qualifying two of their three teams to the National Academic Quiz Tournament nationals in Atlanta where only 200 teams nationwide advance.
Bruner, who is on one of the nationally-qualified team, said he wants Brophy to be one of 32 teams nationwide to go into the playoff rounds.
The “A” team consists of Brendan Fries ’11, Wesley Fullmer ’12, Ivan Iotzov ’12 and Ashish Sridhar ’12 and Bruner.
The “B” team is made of Conner Wareing ’12, Nehal Samra ’13, Raj Vatsa ’14, Michael Sanchez ’13 and Kapil Kanagal ’13.