Quizbowl Challenges Themselves


The Quizbowl Club took a big step forward in late December by initiating its first annual school wide tournament which pitted 8 teams of 5 students against each other. The series of matches led to a final round when Team Cicale, which consisted of students Spencer L., Doris F., Robert Y., and John W., defeated Team Scarnati, consisting of students Mona Z., Robert S., Josh R., Sylvia P., and Shinyi S.

President Jacob K. and Mr. Scarnati plan to make this tournament an annual event.

President Jacob K., left, and Mr. Scarnati plan to make this tournament an annual event.

“The Quizbowl Club dates back to 2002. It was the result of a Jericho team that won News 12’s Long Island Challenge. After they won, they wanted to establish a club at the school to continue that type of activity,” said  Quizbowl Club advisor Mr. Scarnati.

Although the club was successful in its early stages, Quizbowl president senior Jacob K. remembers the flaws of its early format and approves of the recent changes made to the club.“When I joined Quizbowl in 9th grade, the format was completely different than it is today. Basically, we just put questions up on the screen and everyone in the room randomly answered. We found that [being] tedious wasn’t helping us in the [interschool] tournaments. We had a very young team last year, so we had to find a way to improve the competition and make it more fun. We decided to start practicing the way we play at competitions–splitting the people into groups and buzzing in after questions. The tournament was just a natural progression of events because eventually we needed to spread our roots into the school,” said Jacob.

Team Cicale defeated Team Scarnati by a score of 130 to 35 in the final round.

Team Cicale defeated Team Scarnati by a score of 130 to 35 in the final round.

Following the specific Quizbowl format used in other tournaments, the participants had to answer two types of questions: tossups and bonuses. “Tossups are individual questions when you have to be the first one on your team to buzz in and get the answer right,” said Quizbowl secretary Archana V. “Those require intelligence, speed, and risk assessment. Bonuses are when you can collaborate with your team to come up with one answer. Those require intelligence and teamwork. The questions span all subjects: math and science, history and English, pop culture and current events, arts and music,” Archana added.

Despite this meticulous planning, challenges quickly arose for Jacob and the Quizbowl officers. “One challenge was trying to get people to come,” Jacob K. said. “People only wanted to join if their friends were going to join them, creating a natural dilemma. We basically had to do all of the networking for some of the groups.” But in the end, Jacob K. described an “overwhelming response” in the registration phase, leading to an early closing. Mr. Scarnati said that “it means a lot that kids from outside the club get a chance to see that it’s kind of fun to do this kind of thing. I think it’s going to have a positive impact on membership in this club.”

Mr. Scarnati shared his approval of the tournament and his hopes for the future. “I was very pleased that the initial tournament had 40 participants–that was terrific. I hope that the club and tournament grows larger. We’re hoping to continue it annually and perhaps, in the future, a faculty team will challenge the students as well.” Between the growth of the Quizbowl club, its shattering of initial expectations and the fun that it promoted throughout the school, the in-school Quizbowl Tournament has proved itself to be a tremendous success.


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