First time for HKIS High School Quiz Bowl Team compete in NAQT US High School National Championship Tournament

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HKIS Quiz Bowl Club: 2020/21 Season Recap and Looking Ahead to the National Championships

On May 29 and 30, the HKIS Quiz Bowl Team will be competing in the NAQT US High School National Championship Tournament. This will be the first time that HKIS participates in this prestigious event, which pits 224 of the top academic quiz teams in the world against one another. We will be well represented by Danny Han, Marvin Wong, Andrew Lenk, Jonathan Ngai, Carolyn Rong, and Sid Raykar. Good luck!

For several years now, HKIS has run a successful quiz bowl club, made up of a diverse group of students, who participate in a range of buzzer style knowledge competitions. Over the years, we have competed in a variety of competitions, such as Mind Over Matter, the International History Bee and Bowl (IHBB), and the National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) Quiz Bowl.

The Quiz Bowl tournaments have particularly drawn our attention, as they require expertise in a wide variety of fields and have allowed us to compete both in Hong Kong and abroad. These tournaments are fast-paced buzzer competitions in which teams of four players compete to answer questions that cover academic subjects like literature and science as well as the broader world of popular culture and current events.

In spite of Covid putting a damper on our ability to compete in person, our quiz bowl club decided to host our first online novice tournament, the HK Fall Novice Invitational, with the hope of developing a larger quiz presence both here at our school and throughout Asia. The event was a resounding success and speaks volumes about the work put in by our HKIS quiz bowl club captains, senior Danny Han, senior Marvin Wong, and junior Jonathan Ngai.

Following this event, Mr. Michael Harvey, of Concordia Shanghai, decided to host an entire online Asian Winter League. Matches were played once a week in the evening, through Zoom, against teams from China, Singapore, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Korea. We entered two teams (1 into the main field and 1 into the novice field). The novice team learned a ton about quizzing and had a blast along the way. 

Our A team was captained by Danny and also was made up of Marvin, Jonathan, senior Andrew Lenk, and sophomore Sid Raykar. They played extremely well throughout the tournament, boosted by strong performances by Danny, Marvin, and Sid. After many weeks of regular matches, they earned the top spot in the playoffs and made it to the finals against Seoul Foreign School. 

As the tournament director, Mr. Harvey noted, HKIS was “led by arguably the best individual player in Asia, Danny Han.” As an icon of quizzing in Asia, this comment from Mr. Harvey speaks volumes about Danny, who has poured his time and energy into the HKIS quiz club over the past several years. The finals match was a back and forth affair, with HKIS barely ahead at 285-280 with two questions left. With a couple dozen Zoom spectators on the edge of their seats, Danny put the team on his back and answered the final two questions (earning extra points because he buzzed in so quickly) to win the tournament. It was a very exciting match and a fantastic tournament put on by Mr. Harvey and his team of students.

With the Asian Championships ahead, our team looked to build upon the success of the Asian Winter League. This event took place over the weekend of April 10th/11th and we entered three teams, as our own club continued to grow. Pitting 31 teams against each other over two divisions, we had some standout individual performances by junior Carolyn Rong, senior Chris Wang, and sophomore Finley Liu. Unfortunately, our A team stumbled on day one of the tournament and as a result, were not able to duplicate their winter league result. Our three teams ended up in 13th, 14th, and 28th place, out of 36 teams.

With the year mostly in the books, our team would normally look ahead to next year. However, having won the winter league tournament, we had earned the opportunity to take part in the US High School National Championship Tournament on May 29th and 30th. This prestigious event pitting 224 of the top academic quiz teams in the world against each other, is one that we have never attended as a team. However, since the event is being run online this year, we are able to attend without needing to worry about the logistics of making a trip to the US. In addition, we have a strong team that truly has a chance to make some noise in the tournament, made up of Danny, Marvin, Andrew, Jonathan, and Sid, as well as Carolyn.

We surely have an exciting and daunting task ahead of us, as we prepare to compete in the middle of the night. We are also excited to be joining Singapore American School, Korea International School, and Seoul Foreign School as the only schools in the competition that are based outside of the US!

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