History Bowl makes history at Nationals

May 10, 2013 — by Nick Chow and Bruce Lou

The History Bowl team crossed the finish line at the 2013 national tournament, 3,000 miles away in Washington, D.C, with the varsity A team and JV team placing within the top 20 and top eight in the nation respectively. But most importantly, the trip was the culminating experience to a successful season.

The History Bowl team crossed the finish line at the 2013 national tournament, 3,000 miles away in Washington, D.C, with the varsity A team and JV team placing within the top 20 and top eight in the nation respectively. But most importantly, the trip was the culminating experience to a successful season.
All three teams, two varsity and one JV, participated in the five day trip, which began on April 25. Members of the varsity A team included seniors Maggy Liu, Spencer Goldman and Kian Anderson and junior Nick Chow. The varsity B team comprised of seniors Michal Kranz, Nikki Bedekar and Kabir Chandrasekher and sophomore Ethan Ngai. The JV team was made up of sophomores Linus Lu, Bruce Lou, Nitya Sampath and Boyu Pang. 
During the trip, the History Bowl team was chaperoned by US History teacher, Matt Torrens. 
“Mr. T was literally the best chaperone imaginable; he lightened the mood and made us feel more comfortable going into the competition,” Chandrasekher said. 
The actual tournament was on Saturday, April 27. The varsity A team entered the tournament as the ninth-ranked team in the nation. They finished the early rounds with a 9-1 record, but eventually fell against Chattahoochee from Georgia. 
While the varsity B team put their best effort out, they could not stand against some of the stronger teams, including the overall tournament runner-up LASA from Texas. They finished with a 5-5 record, which excluded them from the playoffs.
The JV team surpassed everyone’s expectations, going 5-0 in the morning and 3-2 in the afternoon, placing them 11th seed going into the playoffs. In the playoffs, they barely won against sixth-seeded Richard Montgomery from Maryland, coming out on top by only 10 points, but lost in the quarterfinals to fourth seed Wilmington Charter from Delaware.
One extremely memorable experience the team shared during the competition was watching the History Bowl final, a showdown between Sameer Rai, Bellarmine’s one-man team, and LASA. Rai would go onto to single-handedly win the final for the team Bowl competition, and he would later win the individual Bee competition.
“I learned that Sameer Rai is insane,” Chandrasekher said. “When a one-man team beats the second best team in the country in a match that isn't even close, you know you're watching someone special.”
The tournament wasn’t all that the teams did in D.C. With Torrens acting as tour guide and driver, the team got to experience the rich history in Washington and its vicinity, and even got to visit a local seafood buffet.
The team went to such historical sites such as the Arlington National Cemetery and the many monuments in Washington, D.C. Torrens even drove the entire team to Gettysburg, Penn. to experience the Civil War battlefield.
“[The historical sites] were interesting for us history nerds because we were seeing [places] we learned about in APUSH and our [other history] classes,” Liu said.
The tour was also greatly enhanced by Torrens’ vast knowledge about the surrounding areas, monuments and historical sights.
 “He was really knowledgeable about the D.C. area and told us cool tidbits of information everywhere we went,” Chandrasekher said. “Overall, it seemed like everywhere we went, he was able to enhance the experience just by being himself.”  
Chandrasekher’s favorite part of Torrens’ tour was the visit to the Lincoln Memorial.
“I really liked going to the Lincoln memorial and standing exactly where MLK stood when he gave his "I Have a Dream" speech,” Chandrasekher said. “It was a very surreal experience.”
The end of the trip marked the end of an era for the History Bowl team. Of the current eight varsity members, only two will stay for the next year, sophomore Ethan Ngai and junior Nick Chow. The rest, all seniors, will be graduating.
“It’s been an exciting journey. When we started [last school year] we didn’t have any expectations,” Goldman said. “It’s been exciting to see the club grow from six people to having over 30 people try out.”
Liu believes the team’s growth from the previous year has been enormous, and it bodes well for the future.
“The growth has been insane and that’s because we picked up some really good players,” Liu said, “Though most players are graduating our JV team is still there. We’ll be better next year.”
 
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