Quiz Bowl team, lacking key players, nevertheless places fifth at state tournament

April 24, 2019 — by Rohan Kumar

Playing without two key players — juniors Jason Hong and Brandon Wang — the Quiz Bowl team placed fifth in Northern California at the National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) States competition at Bellarmine on April 20.

After a 4-0 record during the morning preliminary rounds, the A team qualified for playoff rounds. After winning the first two of the five playoff games, Hong and Wang left due to time conflicts.

Other players that had to leave in the afternoon for junior prom were placed on the B team, which consisted of juniors Grant Chen, Sathvik Kaliyur, Alvin Liu, Jeffrey Ma and Michael Tang. Ma typically plays on A team and is the team’s main Fine Arts player.

The remaining players, seniors Sarah Meng and Kiran Rachamallu and sophomores Christine Zhang and Rohan Kumar, won two of the remaining three games against Harker and Saint Francis, losing only to Bellarmine.

With a 4-1 record in playoffs, the team played in a three-way tiebreaker, where they lost to Monta Vista and placed fifth overall.

Senior captain Kiran Rachamallu thinks the team would have made it to finals with their key players, but may not have won.

“It definitely was educational because it showed that even without our best players, Saratoga still has pretty good depth [of knowledge] and could still beat good teams,” Rachamallu said.

It was also a new experience for Kumar and Zhang, who played at the competitive level for the first time.

“This was the first time they were exposed to higher levels of Quiz Bowl, so it hopefully gave them a taste of what to expect in the future so that Saratoga can continue its tradition of having good teams,” Rachamallu said.