Davis High School’s Quiz Bowl team came out of the gates quickly.
In this, the first full year as a club team — and just a month and a half into the season — the Blue Devils already have qualified for nationals in Chicago in May.
The team qualified thanks to a second-place finish at a competition at Mira Loma High School in Sacramento over the weekend.
“This is the first time that DHS has ever qualified a team for nationals,” said DHS senior and team member Julian Fuchs.
And while they will continue competing over the next several months, they’ll also have an additional challenge ahead, he said: Raising enough money for the team to actually go to Chicago.
Given that these are Davis High students, perhaps it’s no surprise that in a competition based on knowledge, they come out near the top.
High School Quiz Bowl is a fast-paced question-and-answer game involving teams all over the country. Students use a standardized format, answering questions that cover the gamut of the high school curriculum, from science to math, art to literature, history to music, with some sports and pop culture thrown in as well.
Last Thursday, when the team gathered for a practice round during lunch at Davis High — with senior Donald Pinckney serving as moderator — their correct answers included Darwin, stoicism, Thomas Paine, refraction, Robert Frost, One Direction and a Shinto goddess.
Each student brings his or her own strength, but early on, they were pretty science-heavy, with many of the team members also competing on the DHS Science Bowl team.
“When it started,” Fuchs said, “everyone just knew science. Now we’re diversified, though we’re still weak on art and religion.”
They diversified by recruiting sophomores and juniors with strengths in areas other than science. Clearly their efforts paid off.
In October, Davis High fielded two teams at the Bellarmine Novice Tournament in San Jose. There, the Davis “A Team,” competing together for only the second time, came in second out of 32 teams.
Fuchs, meanwhile, was the second-highest individual scorer. Over the weekend in Sacramento, he was the top scorer.
Also this past weekend, the A team found itself in a three-game playoff against Mira Loma, but after winning just one of the three games, Davis had to settle for second place.
“Thankfully second place was enough to qualify for nationals,” Fuchs said.
The team has been practicing weekly at school and online on Saturdays.
“It’s a lot of fun, and the questions are interesting,” Pinckney said.
Senior Michael Zhao, who was instrumental in starting the team at the end of last year, says there’s a place for everybody in Quiz Bowl.
“It gives a chance for any person, from any background, to show what they know,” he said. “Even if you’re not academic, you can still contribute.
“It rewards you for knowing a lot,” he added.
“I’ve spent a lot of time learning trivia and now I can put it to use,” he said.
The team will continue competing in the coming months, Fuchs said, and will continue practicing and preparing for the national competition.
“We’ll be pretty busy with Quiz Bowl for pretty much the rest of the year,” he said.
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy