JV History Bowl team places 5th nationally

May 14, 2018 — by Mathew Luo

Sixteen members from the school’s the History Bowl team traveled to Washington, D.C. under the guidance of history teacher Matt Torrens late last month.

The JV A team included sophomores Grant Chen, Sean Chen, Jason Hong, Sathvik Kaliyur, Jeffrey Ma and Brandon Wang; the JV B team included sophomores Vincent Cheng, Stephanie Ma and Connor Oaklander and freshman Winston Liu and Nirmik Tambe; the varsity team included senior captain Tiffany Huang, junior captain Kiran Rachamallu and juniors Sarah Meng, Anson Tong and Anuj Changavi.

Segregated by grade, all three teams qualified individually for the national tournament at three earlier regional tournaments.

The varsity team went 3-2 in the preliminary matches and 5-0 in the bracket matches, but lost a tiebreaker to Gilman High School and was eliminated from the tournament. The JV B team went 2-3 in the preliminary matches, 2-3 in the brackets and did not make the playoffs.

“A lot of our matches were really close, where we lost by only 10 to 20 points,” Cheng said. “It all came down to nerves and buzzers.”

The JV A team went 5-0 in preliminaries, 5-0 in brackets, before their fifth-place finish. Kaliyur said that their worst loss was 460-130 against Adlai Stevenson High School from New York, which was “one-man-carried” to first place.

The national History Bowl tournament was held in conjunction with four other tournaments: the U.S. History Bee, the History Bee, the Geography Olympiad and the Geography Bowl.

Because the tournaments were not held concurrently, many Saratoga students chose to partake in multiple events. Oaklander placed 16th nationally in the Geography Olympiad and Hong placed ninth nationally in the History Bee semifinals.

In addition, Torrens won the national History Bee and Bowl Coach of the Year award.

This year’s finish has been the best since 2015, when the Saratoga varsity team won first place at nationals. Rachamallu attributed the strength of this year’s finish to the presence of many strong members and the well-rounded composition of the teams.

“We have a person to cover every aspect of history from ancient history to world history to art history to political history,” Rachamallu said. “It makes us different from many other top teams, almost 40 percent of which have to rely on a single person.”

Rachamallu said that next year, the History Bowl team will work on team cohesion. Additionally, Rachamallu is concerned about the lack of new members on the team. Although the team will only lose one senior to graduation, the lack of new freshmen this year will soon compromise its strength.

Despite their strong collective scores, sophomore Grant Chen said that the History Bowl team runs mostly on individual passion for history. The History Bowl team only practices together for two hours weekly.

Nevertheless, the team is still tightly bonded. Members share inside jokes in the hallways and play Protobowl, an online Quiz Bowl client, in the library.

“When someone else might just browse the internet, we play Protobowl and read Wikipedia,” Chen said. “When we meet, we don’t just practice. We share jokes and memes as well.”


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