Rather than studying for midterms or attending holiday parties, the quiz bowl team spent their weekend at the Ransom Everglades National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) Invitational. Although the team has yet to know if they gained enough bids for the national competition, they did take home a third place trophy, among other recognitions.
In an attempt to earn enough bids to qualify for the national competition, the quiz bowl team split up the talent from their A team, which won second place at another competition last week, across three more teams. This way, more Heritage teams could earn points and collectively acquire more bids than if they were all on the same team. However, the Cypress Bay High School quiz bowl team fielded an unexpectedly strong A Team, stacked with their power players, ruining Heritage’s strategy.
The day began with the first of six rounds at 10:15 am. Heritage took four teams into the competition, each comprised of four students. Competing against 11 other teams, all four Heritage teams made it to the top four. The Heritage A team, composed of senior Talha Pala, sophomore Albert Lu and senior Kevin Yeung, with captain senior Aaron Thaler, lost in the quarterfinal round to the Ransom Everglades A team. The Heritage B and C teams, made up of seniors Eric Bazail (captain), Olivia Lloyd, Trishala Kumar and junior Annabella Lugo; and seniors Shayaan Subzwari (captain), Paul Yermish, Isabel Chamberlain and Emily Namm, respectively, faced off for third place. Team B won the third place playoff, while team C dropped to fourth.
The bid results are still pending, and quiz bowl vice president senior Aaron Thaler hopes to put together enough for the national competition in Atlanta later in May.
“As a senior, I’m blessed to have grown close with my fellow seniors and been a mentor to the underclassmen,” Thaler said. “I’m beyond proud of how far they’ve come since last year.”
Several quiz bowl members received individual recognitions. Bazail and Subzwari came in first and second place, respectively, for individual points scored, with a mere two-point margin separating them. Sophomores Albert Lu and Jose Ramirez were also among the top twelve individual scorers.
“I had a great time with Albert on my team, and he actually outscored me, which made me very proud,” Thaler said. “But when we lost in quarterfinals, I realized I’d just played my last round of high school quizbowl ever, as I won’t be able to go to nationals even if we qualify because I have an eye surgery the day before the competition.”
Thaler hopes that quiz bowl has as much of an impact on other members as it did for him.
“I cried a little bit after our last game, but they were mostly tears of joy, as I’ve had an incredible time competing and growing with my team. I’m definitely going to take these experiences with me and hopefully compete in quiz bowl at the collegiate level,” Thaler said.