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Quiz Bowl: Competitive Trivia

For those who love trivia, quiz bowl may be the perfect extracurricular activity. Quiz bowl is a jeopardy-like trivia game where teams of four compete against each other to gain the most points by answering the questions correctly. These questions can be related to math, science, literature, and almost any other topic imaginable. 

Each quiz bowl match typically consists of three to four rounds: a tossup round, followed by a speed round, and the final round varies in question type depending on the tournament.

Grace Piotrowski (’23), Sarah Dixon (’23), and Ellory Clason (’23) celebrate after correctly answering a question.

A tossup round contains pyramidal-style questions, meaning that the question starts off broad, making it very difficult to answer, but as the reader reads more of the question, the details become more specific, making it easier to answer the question. The first team to buzz in using individual buzzers gets to answer the question. However, if the team answers incorrectly, the question goes to the other team to answer. If a team answers a question correctly they receive ten points; if a team answers a question incorrectly there is no penalty as long as the reader has finished reading the question. The only way points can be deducted from the team is if an individual answers the question incorrectly and buzzes in before the reader has finished announcing the question. However, a team can earn more points by answering a question during the power period. The power period is when someone correctly answers the question before the reader is halfway done announcing the question.

A group of students compete against each other to earn the most points in a quiz bowl match.

In a speed round, the losing team gets to pick between two different topics and gets five seconds per question to answer. Unlike the tossup rounds, the questions fall within the same category, are one-word answers, and you get to collaborate with your team to find the right answer. Each ‘set’ of questions consists of ten different questions, all requiring one to two-word answers. For each question, the team can either guess the answer or pass and after the team has been read all of the questions, any questions that were either passed or answered incorrectly go to the other team for guessing. In some cases, the other team also gets their own set of speed round questions with the topic of their choice, but that varies depending on the tournament.

The third and fourth rounds vary depending on the tournament. The final rounds may be an additional tossup round, a tossup round with shorter questions, or a round that starts off with a simple question, and if the team guesses correctly, they will be asked four follow-up questions that are more specific. This round can easily determine the winner of the round. 

Eastern’s quiz bowl team was originally started by Noah Weller, Tyler Dann, and coached by Mr. Donald Tolly. Noah and Tyler are now known as the “grandfathers” of FHE quiz bowl. Two years after the quiz bowl club was founded, Mr. Richard Kelbel took over as the advisor because he “…liked the type of students that were doing [quiz bowl],” and that he “loves how [quiz bowl] is mostly student-led…” Kelbel also mentioned that he has “..kind of a dorky side, so [he] can relate to them.” Additionally, Kelbel mentioned that he liked how quiz bowl can serve as an outlet for students to be competitive and showcase their knowledge simultaneously. 

The quiz bowl team meets every Wednesday after school in Mr. Kelbel’s room. It’s a low-commitment, stress-free zone for students who love to learn.  If you’re even slightly interested, feel free to come try it out!

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