BVH Quiz Bowl kicks off season with loss against Otay Ranch


Gloria Ing

Varsity Quiz Bowl members (left to right) senior AjaniOquendo, sophomore Henry Tang, junior Ursula Neuner, junior Lucía Rivera and junior Gerardo Gonzalez hold their buzzers during the match. At this point, their opponents were several hundred points ahead.

Evan Abutin, News Copy Editor

“This country’s Parliament is the oldest legislative body in the world.” After rapidly pressing down on a buzzer, a student replies, “Iceland.”
This is one of the several moments that defined Bonita Vista High (BVH) Quiz Bowl’s first varsity match of the 2020 season. On Jan. 22, the BVH Quiz Bowl team faced Otay Ranch High (ORH) in the BVH library and lost in a 715-265 point defeat.
“Otay has always been a very strong team. I think last year, they might have gotten second, but that was one of the hardest matches I’ve probably ever had. I didn’t think they were going to be that good,” President, secondary captain of Quiz Bowl and junior, Ursula Neuner said.
Before the match, Quiz Bowl’s varsity team spent several months in preparation. According to Joseph Szakovits, Biology Accelerated teacher and varsity coach of Quiz Bowl, ever since late August, the team has dedicated a lunch period a week to practice​—​meaning a total of roughly 12 meetings occurred in precedence to this first competition.
“The majority of [meetings] are buzzer practices, where we practice with a situation similar to in-match​—e​ veryone’s expected to attend those. A smaller percentage of [our practices] were committed to preparing flashcards. We have study materials for [information] that commonly appears on Quiz Bowl-type questions,” Szakovits said.
Gerardo Gonzalez-Martinez, junior and first-time varsity member, feels as if the months of preparation were helpful in easing the nerves before the competition.
“I felt more relaxed and​—​in a sense​—​confident. I wasn’t expecting to get a lot of buzzer time because I am new and I’m not the most involved in the club, but I was confident that as a team​—​everybody supporting each other​—​we would do a lot better than we ended up doing,” Gonzalez-Martinez said.
During the competition, ORH started off with a lead; they quickly attained a score that reached triple digits. Nevertheless, Neuner states that BVH’s Quiz Bowl maintained an optimistic mindset.
“You can never give up in the middle of a match. There is always a chance for a comeback and you just gotta try not to look at the score​—​just keep going. This is a sort of activity where you just need to never change your mentality,” Neuner said.

During the four time-outs designated to each team, Szakovits made it a priority to continue encouraging BVH, despite the score board. He considered it his obligation to instill a sense of hope within the students.
“When you have a match where the other team gets out to a lead, you know that as a coach, it’s up to you to maintain a level of positivity and convey that [you] have a lot of confidence in this group of kids,” Szakovits said.
As the match neared its end, the BVH Quiz Bowl team experienced a few opportunities to rack up more points. Most of these points came from toss-ups, questions both teams can answer to win 10 points. Once a toss-up is correctly answered, a team is given three bonus questions only they can answer.
“My favorite part of the match was when they took out Otay’s [player number] four and we ended up getting two of the remaining four toss-ups, which proves to me that they had a really star player [who was helping them attain a high score]. But ​—​comparatively​—​I think Bonita is going to be competitive this year,” Neuner said.
Cameron Loughney, BVH Quiz Bowl Treasurer and primary captain, was especially significant in helping BVH garner as many points as possible. Szakovits explains how he expressed important leadership qualities amidst challenging circumstances.
“[Loughney] got the majority of the toss-ups that we got. He was one of our only players who was aggressive early. He knew who to listen to, he knew which of our members were likely to know a bonus, he knew who to defer to, [and] I thought he played an amazing match,” Szakovits said.
Some members of BVH Quiz Bowl felt more encouraged due to the fact that the competition took place in home territory​—r​ educing the stress typically associated with such competitions.
“This being my first match, it felt a lot easier to just head to the library [since] it’s a place I already know. It made [the atmosphere] a lot more familiar,” Gonzalez-Martinez said.
Overall, BVH Quiz Bowl hopes to learn from this competition and use it as motivation to achieve future success. This is only one of several matches the team will compete in this year. In their next match, the team won against Eastlake High (ELH) and their next game will be against Mater Dei on Feb. 6.

“​You know, we’ve got a couple of more challenging matches to come up, and my expectation is that we stand up and face the challenge. This first match kind of laid out what that highest possible level of challenge is,” Szakovits said. “The season has eleven matches and we’ve still got ten more, so we move forward from [here].”