Nationally Ranked, But Eager for Newcomers: A Look at the Quiz Bowl Team

Graham McFarland ’19

With all the noise surrounding the success of the soccer team and the triumph of the rugby team, students could hardly be blamed to not acknowledge the Strake Jesuit Quiz Bowl team. Regardless, the same students would be misguided if they were to ignore their success.

No, Quiz Bowl doesn’t have quite the flashy theatrics that draw much attention to athletic competition and the only physical display is buzzing in. However, Quiz Bowl competition does demonstrate remarkable intellectual prowess, prowess that is often the product of hours upon hours of work and study.

Dr. Maier, who helps run practice and motivates competitors to learn material, likens their process to “gaining shortcuts” to achieving knowledge. He elaborates, positing that players gain study skills that can help them in their classes. More casual students can find this to be a major draw; while most extracurriculars can take a toll on a student’s performance, Quiz Bowl can actively help in study habits for classes and exams.

To prepare, players do not simply study broad subjects and general trivia. The team will strategically take a student’s strong point and build upon this. Say a student is a history buff. Quiz Bowl takes this casual historian and molds him into an aficionado of the past. This is not to detract from the fierce competitive side of Quiz Bowl. Back in February, the team took first in a Texas tournament, defeating St. John’s and Katy Taylor, both of whom are highly ranked. Katy Taylor, in fact, is the highest ranked team in the country but suffered two losses to the Strake Jesuit team in this tournament. The team is ranked third in the state (Texas being the best and most competitive state in the nation), but has displayed that it can take down any opponent.

Quiz Bowl competition doesn’t just demand a hungry mind that seeks to expand its knowledge on a given subject. Tournaments can be exhausting, with run times sometimes going all day. Each round is only 20 minutes, but just getting through the preliminary stage demands enduring 7 to 8 rounds.

This may all seem a bit daunting to anyone interested. Extracurricular studying to prepare for the mental fatigue of an all-day contest? But rest assured, the Quiz Bowl team accommodates new players very nicely, rather than just throwing them into the thick of things. No, you likely would not be slotted in on the team for the upcoming national championship (the team consists of only 4 players, while the program as a whole consists of over 20 students), but you would get some exposure to a new circle and quickly learn some helpful study habits. The Quiz Bowl team is eager to take in new recruits with a positive attitude towards learning, so consider joining in when the fall semester starts up again in August.