The buzz on Quiz Bowl’s first match


Sofia Murillo

Members of the Bonita Vista High (BVH) Quiz Bowl shake hands with Mater Dei Quiz Bowl members after a their first match of the year. BVH took a loss of 185-335.

Maddie Almodovar, editor in chief

The BVH library is filled with a silence louder than words, as spectators await the familiar buzzer sound, signaling a team’s answer. On Thursday Feb. 16, Bonita Vista High (BVH)’s Quiz Bowl varsity team played their first match against Mater Dei High (MDH). The 35 minute match ended with BVH losing 175-340, though the match did not count towards their league record. 

“This one is more or less a scrimmage, which is why my priority was making sure everybody played because we wanted everybody to get some game time,” Quiz Bowl Advisor Joseph Szakovits said. 

Junior Tai Cassel-Engen, senior and president Giselle Geering, and seniors Daniela Radashkevich, Cyan Schiele and Diego Nava start the match out with Geering in the captain’s seat. The person in the captain’s seat is integral during bonus questions, as the captain serves as the person to shout out the answer after discussion with the team. MDH buzzed in for the first question and gained ten out of thirty points for the bonus questions.

“It’s the first game of the year. It’s been hyped up. Everyone’s really excited to see how it’s gonna turn out and who’s gonna win. So I was a bit nervous. MDH’s team is completely different each year and I didn’t really know what to expect,” Schiele said. 

Schiele is one of the only returning varsity members alongside Geering. However, this match would be the first varsity match for several of the varsity members, including Cassel-Engen. Cassel-Engen answered BVH’s first toss-up, which is the first question that allows a team to answer a bonus question. He “played extremely well” according to Szakovits, despite this year being Cassel Engen’s first year on the varsity team. 

“That makes [me] feel good. I think Mr. Szakovits always tries to be uplifting and I really appreciate that, but I know I didn’t do as well as I could have,” Cassel-Engen said.

There were multiple instances throughout the match where members would answer questions before the moderator finished asking the question. For example, Schiele correctly answered a difficult math question, where the moderator had to pause and double check his unsimplified answer.

“The anticipation of that was totally building up and I didn’t know [if I got it right]. I’m double checking my calculations. I got it right and I don’t see why I wouldn’t be right. And the final release of ‘that’s correct’ was a really great feeling,” Schiele said. 

After Schiele’s correct answer to the math bonus, the score was 150-180. Throughout the match, there were several instances where BVH was a couple points behind MDH. 

“At the end of the second half, I saw we were 30 points down. I was anxious, I really wanted to beat them there and I wish we could have,” Cassel-Engen said. 

Szakovits called a time-out to rearrange the seats, allowing the other varsity members to have play time on the panel. Cassel-Engen was moved into the captain’s seat while seniors Samantha Godshell, Nolan Kuemmerle and Matthew Arca were put onto the panel.

“The purpose of these non-league matches is to see what we have and that’s why I thought it was really important to see everybody today,” Szakovits said. “In any highly competitive league match, not everybody would have necessarily played. I wanted to see what everybody had. I think that it was successful in that regard.”

The match resumed after the time-out and neither team buzzed in to answer the first toss-up given. However, MDH was able to answer the second toss-up and receive the following bonus questions. MDH maintained the lead and won the match shortly after.

“I think there’s things we can improve on, but I think it was an overall good match. It wasn’t an egregious loss at all. It was definitely a close game, especially for the first half. I don’t have any regrets with the game,” Nava said. 

Despite the loss, Szakovits emphasizes the importance of practicing hard in preparation for their next match against Chula Vista High (CVH). The team has agreed to work on understanding when to buzz in and when to wait. 

“I think I could have been a little smarter with the buzzer. There were times where I buzzed in and I knew the answer that corresponds to that question, but I didn’t have enough information to answer correctly,” Nava said. 

Quiz Bowl continues to improve and prepare themselves for the rest of the season, as their following matches count towards their league play-offs. BVH does not think lowly of the loss and acknowledges the idea of changes within the season. 

“I’m excited about the season this year. This match didn’t quite have the outcome that we were hoping for, but I definitely see a lot of potential there. I think we’re gonna get better with each match,” Szakovits said.