IHS Quiz Bowl Hits Milestones in NorCal Tournament


Members from all three teams that competed in the NorCal Quiz Bowl Tournament. Arjun Bothra (12), who led the competitive division team, is top center, and Michael Zheng (10), who led the standard division team, is top right.

IHS Quiz Bowl made Irvington history in the recent NorCal Quiz Bowl Tournament held on November 14 by placing third in the competitive division, qualifying the team for the national tournament. The team also placed second in the novice and standard divisions.

“We weren’t really sure how it was going to go, but we placed high enough that we qualified for the national tournaments and that’s the first time we’ve done that at Irvington,” said Arjun Bothra (12), the leader of the competitive division team. 

The team has been preparing for this year’s tournaments since March of this year, even during the lockdown. They retained many of the same players from last year but had several new sophomore members.

“We’ve been really consistent with our practices for months at this point, ever since [schools] shut down. We’ve been doing around two practices a week, through the summer and everything. And a lot of our players are very invested in this. People put a lot of time and it pays off,” said Arjun.

The tournament took place on Discord and went on for over 7 hours. Two of the IHS Quiz Bowl teams stayed on for longer when they qualified for the final rounds.

“This [tournament] in particular ran a lot smoother than the other ones,” said Arjun, “The people who ran it were very competent with Discord and we were surprised that it was on Discord because usually, they do it through Zoom or Google Meet. But they managed to do it really well.”

Michael Zheng (10), who led the standard division team, mentioned that using Discord came with some minor inconveniences when it came to the buzzer system, but overall the event went smoothly and efficiently.

“They used the chat for buzzing when usually tournaments use a website. So it was a bit confusing at first, but then when they actually played, it wasn’t that bad. They’re just like some accidents that happened along,” Michael said.

To prepare for their next tournaments, Quiz Bowl will be continuing their regular training sessions.

“We’ll probably just continue where we’re at because I think in terms of how much people practice, we’re on the higher end,” said Arjun, “We offer around four hours a week that our members can show up, and it’s pretty low intensity. We spent a lot of time together working on this stuff, so we’re on a pretty good trajectory here.”