New team seeks to get off the ground

October 12, 2018 — by Jeffrey Xu

Quiz Bowl gets started.

The Saratoga Quiz Bowl B Team, composed of juniors Grant Chen and Michael Tang and seniors Anuj Changavi and Sarah Meng, won first place at the novice competition at Saint Francis on Sept. 22.

The D Team placed ninth, C Team placed 12th and the E Team placed 23rd out of a total of 43 competing teams.

According to the official rules of the novice competition, only students who had never been to nationals could compete, preventing all members of the A Team from competing.

Overall, senior captain Kiran Rachamallu, who is on the A Team, was impressed by the outcome.

“I am really proud of what our team achieved,” Rachamallu said. “Our [B Team] won the tournament. This was really good, considering all but one [of the members] started playing in the middle of last year.”

He said that the other teams also performed well, especially considering that they were composed of mostly new members.

Junior captain Shivam Mani said that the team had started recruiting efforts in early September, having held an informational meeting as well as several lunch practices in history teacher Melissa Hesselgrave’s room. She is not the adviser, however, since according to Mani, Quiz Bowl has no official adviser. This is because Quiz Bowl is not an official campus club, but rather, more of an after-school activity.

In addition to lunch and after-school practices on campus, the team has also been holding Saturday practices at both the captains’ homes: Novice practices at Mani’s house, and advanced practices, which include teams A and B, take place at Rachamallu’s.

Mani said that the team has seen several new recruits, with promising individuals including sophomores Rohan Kumar and Nirmik Tambe. Mani also said that there is now increased gender diversity on the team.

“We are trying to also increase our gender diversity, as 95 percent of the team has usually been male,” Mani said. “But this year, we're seeing more girls joining Quiz Bowl, which is always great to see.”

Mani said that the teams were not chosen based purely on the skill and speed of players, but rather in such a way that each team would have good coverage of all the Quiz Bowl topics, including literature, science, history, arts and more.

“For teams, it’s not as simple as putting all the good people on A team, and and putting all the rookies on a C, D or E team,” Mani said. “We try to make sure our players cover a breadth of topics so players on a team don't overlap.”

Both captains hope to see improvement from new and old members create an even stronger team this year.

“I am really excited to see what the future holds,” Rachamallu said. “I think all the new people got the Quiz Bowl ‘bug,’ so hopefully, they will be motivated to study and improve.”

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