For Ten Points…

IMSA Quiz Bowl at Illinois Masonic State | Source: IMSA Quiz Bowl

It was 2 to 1. I was three questions deep in this round against a player from Fremd, and I was off to a bad start.

The moderator moves through the next question… “This country contains the provinces of Sabah and Sarawak…”


The sharp buzz breaks through the tense atmosphere… It was me. I had finally snagged a competitive buzz against this fierce adversary. This thrill of racing another person with a finger on a simple handheld device has kept me in Quiz Bowl for so many years. 

“Malaysia?” I utter with a slight twinge of anxiety.

“That is correct,” said the moderator.

I let out a brief sigh of relief, having won that buzzer race. Geography was among the few categories where I could consistently steal answers from stronger opponents. Unfortunately, this was a round that I could not win since I was facing such a strong player.

Welcome to Scobol Solo 2023, a 1v1 tournament against individual players from mainly Illinois schools. This begins the Quiz Bowl at IMSA, a hectic yet memorable season. Scobol Solo is only one tournament in a field of other tournaments in a typical season. Want to go national? IMSA has HSNCT (High School National Championship Tournament), PACE (Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence), and Reinstein Varsity. Want to go state-level? IMSA has NAQT (National Academic Quiz Tournaments) State and Masonic State. Each major tournament has its own set of unique rules, adding a bit of spice to each match as teams have to adapt to different rules and expectations.

It is another competitive season as Scobol Solo 2023 passes us. Next tournament? IHSSBCA Kickoff at Auburn High School in Rockford. It is an especially important tournament since this tournament allows us to qualify for the ever-so-important HSNCT held in Atlanta in 2024. We all ready up our buzzes in preparation for future adversaries. But what do we do… 

Quiz Bowl, Scholastic Bowl, or Academic Bowl, depending on how your old schools referred to this activity, is a team-based competition where teams of 4 or 5 compete against other teams of 4 or 5 and battle it out to see which team has the better knowledge base. IMSA has a particularly competitive season ahead. After losing three of our best players last year, IMSA’s seniors are left with the massive pressure to maintain the glory of the IMSA Quiz Bowl against our biggest rivals: Barrington, Rockford Auburn, Buffalo Grove, and Waubonsie Valley. 

According to Stephen Walsh ‘24, one of the co-captains of the Quiz Bowl team: “Once the college grind is over, the real work – the QB work – can finally get going. We had a bit of an early L (especially for me) at solo, but I think we’re all resolved to work hard and make a comeback.”

As for myself, Nathaniel Huang ’24, the other co-captain of the Quiz Bowl team: “I think that Quiz Bowl will still remain action-packed like previous years, but this will be a challenging season in particular. We lost a large chunk of our firepower, especially in fine arts, history, and literature. I’m most afraid of facing the usual national ranking teams: Barrington, Rockford Auburn (though they are also recovering from having lost two of their best players), and Buffalo Grove, but I’m also intimidated by certain players from teams such as Evanston, Naperville North, Carbondale, Stevenson, Walter Payton, and Northside.”

Now, as the IMSA team readies their buzzers for another ding to sound, the pressure awaits. It is up to IMSA’s co-captains to successfully lead the team to a refreshed legacy to guide the underclassmen to more future victories. They are not alone. They have the support of fellow juniors and sophomores who have great dedication to the team. This item will give them the luck to make it through each successive competition.

For ten points, name this animal that was once taken as a random item to Scobol Solo 2022 but is now the unofficial mascot of Quiz Bowl. 

ANSWER: Blåhaj, prompt on shark <Miscellaneous: Nathaniel Huang>

As the co-captains like to say, best powers and buzzes!

About the Author

Nathaniel Huang
Hi there! I'm Nathaniel, a senior-year staff writer currently living in 1505 C-Wing. You can probably find me in a quiet corner, listening to various music, watching a Twitch stream, looking at either a map, a painting, or some music compositions, or practicing for Quiz Bowl.

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