The final battle of the wits

Quiz Bowl wraps up season with 410-210 victory against Otay Ranch


Evan Abutin

Bonita Vista High (BVH) Quiz Bowl’s starting lineup shares a lighthearted moment between questions. After winning against Otay Ranch High (ORH), BVH finished the season with nine wins and two losses.

Evan Abutin, Opinion Editor

“This empiricist philosopher wrote the ‘Second Treatise of Government.’ ”

A student unmutes and answers, “Waive. John Locke.”

This back-and-forth interaction was a part of the Bonita Vista High (BVH) varsity Quiz Bowl team’s final match of the 2021 season, in which they competed against Otay Ranch High (ORH) on April 16. Although the BVH Quiz Bowl team lost to ORH by a few hundred points in their first match of the 2020 season, they finished this match with a scoreboard of 410-210, securing a 200 point lead.

“I think [BVH] came back to this Otay Ranch matchup, and they approached it the way that they shouldas just another match. I think that attitude is what allowed us to find success,” varsity Quiz Bowl coach Joseph Szakovits said. 

While the victory against ORH brought BVH to a competitive final record of nine wins and two losses, the transition to an online environment was not devoid of challenges. Varsity Quiz Bowl member and senior Jenna Correa explained how the process of answering questions during online matches was different than it was in person. 

“In a regular match, we would sit and note each other’s energy; […] we could easily note who’s going to buzz in or answer the bonus. But here in a virtual setting, we have to make it more apparent. We have to be more vocal with each other and a little more responsive,” Correa said. 

With adaptations like this, Szakovits described how he still anticipated the team to “make the biggest possible mark” this year. His optimistic outlook was due to the large number of experienced competitors who were on the varsity roster.

“I knew [we would see success] because of the large group of seniors that we have this year, including several who have been with us since the beginning. So I knew that this was going to [be a good year], which is not to say that previous years weren’t also terrific […], and it’s not to say there aren’t going to be other great years following,” Szakovits said.

Like last year, ORH was a “competitive” team this year. At the beginning of the April 16 match, both teams were very close—with neither gaining a significant lead over the other. By the time the ninth question was completed, BVH scored 90 points while ORH had 60 points. 

“A lot of our matches have been kind of one-sided, but this one definitely felt a lot more competitive,” BVH senior and varsity Quiz Bowl co-captain Dillan Busk said. “Even though we were ahead the whole time, it was not by much, and we have a lot of respect for the team given [their performance] last year. This match was definitely more competitive and a bit more exciting.” 

As the match progressed, BVH continued to gain a more significant lead over ORHeventually leading by over a hundred points. BVH was beating ORH by 150 points after question 20 was asked by the game moderator. A few minutes later, Szakovits called a time out and replaced the starting lineup with all of the substitutes, announcing “everybody out, everybody in.”

“The most exciting part was really near the end of the match, where Mr. Szakovits decided that he was going to put in the subs, including [myself]. That was pretty exciting for me because this was my last match [of the season], and I just wanted to have a little bit of playtime,” Correa said. 

Reflecting on the team’s victory, Busk stated that he “can’t really think of a specific person” who stood out during the match. He believes that everybody on the team contributed to the positive result of the competition. 

“Our whole team works together very well. That starting lineup […], which we had most of the match, is just very strong. We have a great spread of knowledge across everyone there,” Busk said. 

The April 16 match marked the end of in-season competitions for the varsity members who are seniors, many of whom have been in Quiz Bowl since their freshman or sophomore year. Even though no in-person competitions could be held, the team still maintained a sense of community, according to Szakovits. 

“Everybody gets along. It’s a club that has its own little subculture that I think is very special. Everybody knows each other. There are a plethora of inside jokes within the club, and those things have all built up over the years. I think the dynamic, on a personal level, of working with this group of students is by far the best thing [about coaching],” Szakovits said.

Everybody gets along. It’s a club that has its own little subculture that I think is very special.”

— Varsity Quiz Bowl coach Joseph Szakovits

Since her sophomore year, Correa has been attending Quiz Bowl lunch meetings, bonding with the team and competing in matches. Looking back on the last three years, she pointed out how, personally, one of the most enjoyable parts of Quiz Bowl have been the moments when she was “on fire” in competition.

“It’s the feeling that you get when you’re […] answering a lot of questions, your teammates got you, everything seems to be completely in place. Those are some of the best feelings that I’ve had,” Correa said. 

In the future, the Quiz Bowl team will be competing in an alumni match, where the current members will play against BVH alums who were previously on the team. The date has not been decided, but Szakovits confirmed that several alumni have expressed interest in participating. Wrapping up this virtual season, Szakovits reported feeling “emotional” about the many seniors on the team leaving next year. Nevertheless, he explained how the season was “great,” especially considering the “little slice of continuity” it has offered to everybody.

There was the sense that we were all in this together. At the same time, as a teacher, it was saddening because I kind of felt like we weren’t really able to give the kids the season that they deserved. Obviously, we would have preferred to have a better sendoff for them, but at the same time for what it has been, it has been great,” Szakovits said.