By ALI AHMED ‘22 and DEVAM MONDAL ‘24
On October 10, the members of the Edison High School Quiz Bowl team faced off in a tense battle of wits and wisdom in their latest match against 36 other teams across the nation in the Thomas Jefferson Novice Academic Tournament (TJNAT). In the day-long tournament, Edison High competed against teams from Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania for the top spot in the bracket. Overall, given the team’s high placing among the competitive field, the Quiz Bowl team is slated for a strong start in this unusual yet competitive season.
Quiz bowl is a competitive game focused on answering trivia questions. From literature to mathematics, science to geography, and history to pop culture, quiz bowl tests its team members’ wits and knowledge. However, the knowledge required for the game goes much beyond the average math or english class. In addition to requiring in-depth knowledge, players must be able to get their answers in first, while risking negative points for answering questions incorrectly.
The quiz bowl team has seen an unprecedented growth in academic excellence and performance. During the coronavirus pandemic, the team has unexpectedly seen a surge of membership.
“I think Edison is heading in the right direction when it comes to the Quizbowl program. Despite school and most activities being remote, the club saw over twenty new members join with most of them attending online weekly practices and tournaments. This many new members to the club has led to something that has been lacking for a long time: competition,” Co-president Yash Mandavia ’22 said.
This competitive environment, Mandavia continues, leads teammates to study and strive for success. Given the high level of engagement among the club, Mandavia and his teammates are enthralled for the potential future prospects of the club.
Agastya Kalagarla ‘24 views his club experience favorably. He believes that “this team has a very bright future, as there are a few established juniors, and freshman/sophomores with a very bright scope in this team.” This new dedicated set of freshmen, along with veteran sophomores and juniors, lead to bright prospects for the future of the club.
The team’s most recent tournament, held by the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, took place on the online platform Discord. In place of buzzer systems and in-person conferring, communication is replaced with voice calls and chat-buzzes. Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented students from attending tournaments in-person, the quiz bowl community surmounted these challenges by transferring most operations online. Rather than a hindrance, online tournaments have allowed under-funded teams to attend more tournaments without footing the cost for transportation and registration. Given the new online format, Edison’s Quiz Bowl team now has the opportunity to participate in more tournaments than ever before.
The EHS Quiz Bowl Team performed relatively well this tournament, with the A Team, consisting of Mandavia, Ali Ahmed ‘22 (captain), Arnav Chinchankar ‘22, and Vinay Menon ‘23, placing a respectable fifth place —the highest they have ever placed. In addition, the A team placed highest in its playoff bracket, winning an overall 8-2 record.
Chinchankar scored an impressive forty points per game, ranking him 28 out of the 138 competitors participating in this competition. In addition, the B and C teams placed nineteenth and twenty-ninth respectively. These teams largely consisted of sophomores and freshmen gaining experience for the future, playing well against the tough matchups from other states.
New members are also excited to join the thriving nationwide community of quiz bowl players.
Overall, the Edison High Quiz Bowl Team aims to compete in the National Academic Quiz Tournaments National Tournament, hosted this year in Atlanta, Georgia. The team would also like to improve as a whole, ensuring that players can enjoy themselves while improving upon their weaknesses. Given the rapid improvement of the team, the presidents hope to make the Edison High School and the Edison region as a whole a powerhouse for academic competitive achievement. Through determination, wit, and dedication, the team hopes to put Edison High School on the map in the 2020-2021 season.