Quiz Bowl Combines Competition, Smarts

Answer: An Eagles team, looking for enthusiastic newcomers, that is poised to compete for championships behind a veteran coach and the leadership of its returning members.

If you buzzed in with, “What is the Chaminade Julienne Quiz Bowl Team?” you'd be in control of the board.

But this is not your favorite TV game show; it's Quiz Bowl. In addition to learning how to answer in the form of a question, students also show off their knowledge and quick responses by participating in this popular extra-curricular activity at CJ.

“Quiz Bowl is basically an academic Jeopardy-type of competition,” according to captain Laura Bullock ’15. “We have a team of four people and we compete across a bunch of categories all of which can vary across different time periods.”

Not only do these categories test students’ knowledge, but Quiz Bowl also tests their ability to think and respond quickly. “It’s more than just knowledge, you have to have a quick hand to buzz in in time,” said teammate Nick Nevius ’15.

“The categories we compete in often coincide with what I am studying,” says Bullock, who appreciates learning new things every practice. It's also an excellent resume builder for students and, according to Nevius, “a great conversation starter” as well.

CJ’s Quiz Bowl team competes in tournaments throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton areas with a regular competition every Tuesday and occasional weekend competitions. Last year, the team was crowned co-champions of the Greater Cincinnati Academic League and placed 6th in the regional tournament.

The Eagles have been to the regional tournament 11 consecutive years. Each of those years, Jim Sparrow, social studies teacher, has been coach of the team. Sparrow played Quiz Bowl in college and brought his knowledge of the game to CJ’s program. He even recruited Bullock when she was a sophomore taking his AP U.S. History class.

“Mr. Sparrow was one of my favorite teachers that year and I was good at U.S. History. I thought I could add something to the team,” Bullock said of her motivation to join. "The rest is history."

This year the team is expected to be young, but strong. Eight of their 16 members graduated last year, leaving half a team to fill. And both Sparrow and Bullock agree they'd like to see more female players. The senior captain is one of just two female students on the team, but all students in all grade levels are invited to give it a try.

Practices take place Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays to accommodate student schedules. Students only have to attend two practices a week, but have four practice time options. This allows Quiz Bowl to be flexible for students involved in other activities. “Almost everyone on the team is involved with something else as well,” Nevius said.

The team is actively seeking new members. Quiz Bowl try-outs began this week and another tryout will be held Monday, Sept. 29 at 3:10 p.m. in Room 150. Try-outs consist of a typical round of Quiz Bowl. If the student successfully completes the round, he or she may be asked to join the team.

Like any other Jeopardy game, Sparrow understands that it is sometimes important to “quit while you are on top,” and frequently jokes that after the team wins the regional tournament, he will retire.

“Yep, I will quit at that very moment!" he joked. "Just like Jim Brown and Vince Lombardi, you want to go out while you’re on top."