Country Day Quiz Bowl Team to compete in Nationals

The Quiz Bowl team, led by junior club president Samhita Kumar, qualified for the 2022 Small School National Championship Tournament after a strong performance in the 2021 Sacramento Fall Tournament on Oct. 23. 

The five competitors representing Country Day — senior Nihal Gulati, juniors Kumar, Adam Akins and freshmen Saheb Gulati and Ryan Xu — plan to compete in the in-person national competition in Chicago April 22-24, the first time in the school’s history since the club was founded in 2019. 

Quiz Bowl is an academically-based contest structured similar to the American game show, “Jeopardy.” Two teams of four students representing different schools go head-to-head answering questions on topics such as literature, sciences, music, sports and pop culture with the objective of accumulating as many points as possible to win against the opposing team. 

Players earn points by answering “toss-ups,” which are multiple-sentenced questions that provide sequentially easier key hints as they are being read. Each individual player is allowed to buzz in and attempt to answer the question at any time. For each correctly answered toss-up question, the team is awarded 10 points and gets a chance to earn up to an additional 30 points in the three-part bonus questions that follow. 

“Our team has high bonus conversion which contributes to our overall points,” Akins said. 

“We do have a problem when it comes to interrupting the buzz. If you buzz before the moderator finishes saying the question and you’re wrong, you lose five points. So that’s what we need to work on,” he said. 

In addition, Kumar said there is still room for improvement for buzzer speed and reaction times.

Still, Kumar said she and the team have improved dramatically since she started the Country Day club as a freshman.

Kumar and the Gulati brothers were first introduced to Quiz Bowl in sixth grade at Winston Churchill Middle School. 

“I started Quiz Bowl because I enjoyed it in middle school and I wanted people at Country Day to be able to enjoy it too! It’s a lot of fun, and I wanted to continue participating,” she said. 

In their first year, the former Country Day Quiz Bowl team with alumni Spencer Scott, ’20, and Kumar also qualified for the Small School National Championship Tournament.

However, when the team was ready to go with booked airline tickets and hotel accommodations, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, forcing the team to cancel the trip. 

This year, however, the team will finally be able to compete in person. 

Kumar said Country Day has a strong team this year and has high hopes for their upcoming performance in Chicago.

“We’re going to study and hopefully bring back Country Day a first place,” she said. 

But, Kumar’s main intention and goal for the team remain clear.

“Regardless of how we do, I just want to make sure everyone has a good time,” she said. 

Competitive Quiz Bowl is not easy, and Kumar is proud of the team for how far they have come. 

“They are passionate, intelligent, and have lots of fun when they are competing.  They also are representing our community with grace and dignity, and the amazing leadership is wonderful to see,” said club advisor Michael Unti. 

The Quiz Bowl Club meets weekly on Friday during flex in Room 25.

The club is open to everyone, and all types of knowledge can help the team. Akins said he scored 15 points just by knowing the last name of Fox McCloud, a character from the popular video game Super Smash Bros.

“Even if it seems intimidating, you are smart enough to take part and we would love to have you. It’s a lot of fun!” Kumar said.

— By Garrett Xu

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