History Bowl competitors win tournament

January 27, 2015 — by Kevin Chow and Michelle Leung

From decimating the Washington High School team on Dec. 7 to defeating the Piedmont Hill High School team on Jan. 25, the Saratoga team has not lost a single game in the History Bowl tournament this year.

The neutral drone of the moderator’s voice, the ringing of the buzzers and the answers that fly through the air all mark the gathering of students in room 701 as an official History Bowl tournament. But the Saratoga History Bowl A team is far from nervous — they make a few jokes, eat some donuts and lounge in their desks.

After all, from decimating the Washington High School team on Dec. 7 to defeating the Piedmont Hill High School team on Jan. 25, the Saratoga team has not lost a single game this year.

Twenty teams from schools around the Bay Area competed in the eight-hour History Bowl competition, one of three regional NHBB tournaments, on Jan. 25.

The Saratoga A team, which consisted of seniors Bruce Lou, Ethan Ngai, Boyu Pang and Nitya Sampath, won the tournament. The younger Saratoga teams also performed well at the tournament.

For sophomore June Kim, the highlight of the game was interacting with her teammates and learning from them.

“I love them,” Kim said. “They’re so great and they make me want to do better, and even though I suck, they encourage me to do better. I see them as role models. They’re great. I love them so much. Amen.”

Lou said that he had hoped to score 500 points per game, breaking his national record of 492 from the last tournament in Moreau Catholic High School. Although he did not meet his personal goal, instead averaging 475 per game, he considered the tournament a success.

“Today was the first time we played with our full A team,” Lou said. “I’m pretty impressed by everyone. I think this is a pretty solid team for Nationals.”

National History Bee and Bowl Northern California Coordinator and president of Berkeley Quiz Bowl Ankit Aggarwal said the Saratoga A team has “the spark and the drive” to allow them to win at Nationals.

“The first time I met the team was in the winter of 2013, when I saw them emerge in a major way,” Aggarwal said. “It impressed me a lot how much they’d evolved over the previous seasons.”

The History Bowl team will compete in one more regional tournament before going to Nationals on April 27. They placed second last year, and Lou said that he hopes to “sweep the tournament, win the bee and defend my [United States History Bee] title.”

Aggarwal said he believes the Saratoga teams have a solid future.

“All indications point to the fact that [the A team is] going to be first seed nationally,” Aggarwal said. “Statistically, Saratoga A has been the best team nationwide. As a veteran myself, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stronger team.”