By AVINASH ARAVIND ‘23 and JASON ZHENG ‘22
On March 27, the Edison High School Quiz Bowl Club hosted is first-ever tournament—the Eagles’ Academic Spring Tournament (EAST). The event marked a major milestone for the club’s continued growth (see here), coming just after the club’s top team qualified for the High School National Championship Tournament. The tournament was directed by club co-presidents Ali Ahmed ‘22 and Yash Mandavia ‘22, with support from over 25 additional readers, scorekeepers, and general staff, all of whom are currently EHS students. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the event was held virtually using Discord, a platform that has both voice and text channels.
The tournament started at 9 a.m., and the closing remarks were made around 6 p.m. Hunter A from New York City, New York won the tournament, with Ithaca A in second place and JP Stevens A in third place. There was also qualification for the national tournament for top-placing teams in EAST, and the topics covered in the packet ranged from religion to geography. There were multiple breaks throughout tournament day for both players and staff to hydrate and stretch.
The preparation for the tournament was spaced out over a few weeks, where both moderators and scorekeepers worked together during practice rounds. “I believe that the staff training program was very comprehensive and structured,” said staff member Agastya Kalagarla ‘24.
The staff members did not encounter major issues, and a select management team quickly resolved any minor issues. “I remember there was a scorekeeping issue and a TD (Tournament director) was there right away to help resolve it,” said staffer Atharva Inamdar ‘24.
The tournament directors encountered numerous issues while preparing. “Organizing 28 students into a cohesive and functional team poses a difficult challenge to any school, much less a first-time host,” tournament director Ahmed said. But he believed the combined efforts of the club paid off in the end.
In addition, contacting other schools was done through “online forums, standard emails, and Discord outreach,” said Ahmed. Overall, the tournament directors were satisfied with the tournament and its structure.
Not only did the staff agree that the EAST was a success, so did many of the players. In a feedback survey conducted after the tournament, players were asked to give their general thoughts about the tournament, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. 93% of respondents rated their experience at EAST at least a 4 out of 5, with an average rating of 4.25 out of 5.
“The mods [moderators] were very willing to make adjustments to make things better for players and I really appreciated that,” said one player from Ithaca High School in Ithaca, NY. “This tournament was basically the smoothest tournament of the year, no delays, amazing staff, a lot of communication,” said another player from JP Stevens High School.
The EAST staff hoped that this tournament will inspire more students to involve themselves in clubs. Although COVID-19 caused Quiz Bowl to cancel weekend trips to other schools, online tournaments have their benefits. More schools can attend these online tournaments, increasing diversity.
In the end, Quiz Bowl is another one of Edison High’s clubs that adapted to the abrupt changes COVID-19 introduced. The staff at EAST applauded the cooperation of the players and hope to run another tournament next year to build on previous success.