Strake Jesuit Quizbowl Team Ready for State, National Tournaments

(From left to right: Dylan Hoang ‘22, team captain Kile Stenoien ‘22, Dwight Solano ‘23, and Nhat Tong ’22’.)

Justin Wang ’25

With a historically successful regular season winding down, the Strake Jesuit Quiz Bowl team has been gearing up for state and national tournaments that could make them the most successful group in Strake Jesuit history for this program.

Quizbowl is an academic competition that can be as intense and entertaining as any sport. Two teams of four players each compete head-to-head for 20 toss-up questions, with individual players “buzzing” in when they know the answer. After a player correctly answers a tossup, their team is given three bonus questions, which they can discuss before answering. Questions cover science, history, literature, fine arts, and pop culture or sports. It takes physical quickness, mental endurance, and superior knowledge to win at quizbowl. This year’s Strake Jesuit A-team has done so at a rate unmatched in the school’s history.

Playing in one of the most competitive state circuits in the nation, Jesuit’s top team of Kile Stenoien ‘22, Dylan Hoang ‘22, Nhat Tong ‘22, and Dwight Solano ‘23 has won three out of the four statewide tournaments they’ve entered this year, besting a field that routinely includes top Texas schools like Kinkaid, St John’s, St Mark’s, Greenhill, and Cinco Ranch. Stenoien has been the top scorer of the team, often leading tournaments in total points. Tong is a catalyst for his teammates, providing motivation and encouragement when necessary. Hoang and Solano have provided sizable boosts in key moments of big games. Together, they form a team that GrogerRanks (a monthly ranking of every quiz bowl team nationwide) rates 5th in the country.

As the state and national tournaments approach, Dr. Maier, the quizbowl program’s head coach, laid out lofty but achievable objectives for the team.

“We have high expectations this year,” he said. “Our goals are unambiguous: win our first state championship in program history and place top 10 at nationals.”

Of course, it takes hard work and dedication to succeed. Dr. Maier emphasized the need for continued vigilance towards improving through study. “The A-team has performed at a high level,” he said, “but all team members need to understand that the road ahead is a difficult one. We need to put forth a herculean effort to achieve our goals!”

Team captain Stenoien echoed a similar sentiment. 

“I would say the team has realized its potential this year, but we still have a lot of work to do. Anything can happen,” he said.

The members of our quiz bowl team can usually be found in the library during community time and free periods, improving their knowledge for the next tournament.

Regardless of the team’s success this year, the quizbowl program is always looking forward to the future. Stenoien, Hoang, and Tong will graduate after this year, but there are capable underclassmen ready to take their places.

“There will definitely be some rebuilding next year,” Stenoien acknowledged, “but we have some great freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. With the right guys and the right attitude, we can put together a solid team.”

Dr Maier emphasized that the program always has room for more players, and the benefits of joining are mutual: “Quizbowl is ideal for those motivated to improve themselves intellectually and broaden their horizons. It is great for disciplined and goal-oriented individuals! Come check us out any day after school in 4215 Loyola Hall!”

At the end of April, Strake Jesuit will compete in the state championship, held online this year. The High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT) will be held over Memorial Day weekend at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Two hundred and eighty-eight  teams, and perhaps more, will attend as the A-team looks to cap off a historic season with a top-10 finish and cement themselves in SJQB lore. We are SJ!