Scholastic bowl’s all-star season

Emma Halman, Co-editor

Sophomore Trevor Darr became involved with the PA Scholastic Bowl team his freshman year after having participated in Academic Challenge throughout middle school. Darr explained that he wanted to “continue with quiz bowl-based activities into high school.”

On Feb. 26, the Scholastic Bowl team finished second at the state competition at Jamestown High School. They had two big wins at the beginning of the four matches but ended up losing to the team from Douglas Freeman High School. 

During the regular season, the team competed in 10 matches against other high school teams in the city, advancing to the regional championship against teams across all of South Hampton Roads. 

This was AP and MYP Biology teacher Jason Tomik’s first year as the full coach of the team, as last year he split coaching with IB History of Europe and 20th Century Topics Judy Petykowski. 

Most of the starters were sophomores and juniors, who Tomik expects to “do really well next year.”

Tomik explained that one “challenging” aspect of this season was that the JV and varsity teams were combined for most of the regular season. This was because only two or three other high schools in Virginia Beach had a JV team, as a result of a lack of recruitment due to COVID-19. 

Still, the team ended up bringing its top six students to compete at states. This included Darr, along with junior Austin Zou, who Tomik describes as the team’s “two bigger point-scorers.” 

As for their strategy during matches, Darr feels that the team tries to “always keep the pressure on in buzzer matches, even risking a few interrupt penalties, in order to keep the aggression and momentum in our favor.” 

Throughout the season, they have also worked to develop a “structure of specialties” that allows them to “try and divide and conquer with studying material.”

Zou echoes this opinion, by explaining, “There are many different subjects to master, and no single person can answer them all. Even though sometimes individuals can have impressive individual performances, just one person is not enough to consistently win matches.”

Darr specializes in history, literature, and pop culture, while Zou is in charge of mostly science and art. 

According to Darr, the team has other “experts” in subjects such as geography, math, and politics, and they “try to keep that balanced with rotations in team rounds.” Overall, the team is strong in areas relating to politics and current events. 

The team rounds are slightly different because they are the only rounds with computational math. So, Zou describes, the team likes “to have several people who are able to do calculations in order to cross-check the work, so we will generally substitute someone who is stronger in math during the team rounds.”

This season, Tomik believes that the team’s biggest rival was Tallwood. Sharing this opinion, Darr explains that “the matches from this season that were the most memorable were the two we played against Tallwood,” one in the regular season and one for the regional championship. 

Darr continued, “Those were two of our most solid all-around matches and that showed in the big margins we put up against our rival and de facto number two school in the division.”

During the regional match against Tallwood, Darr “got really excited over a really obscure fact about James Garfield that came up,” which he is “highly confident” that he was the only person at either school who knew about it. 

Zou recalls his experience during the team’s first match at states as being particularly memorable. He was “very nervous at the beginning, as it was my first time attending the state tournament.”

Despite this, he “put on probably one of the most impressive individual performances of the season, in addition to solid performances from my teammates, and it set the tone for our team for the tournament, knowing that we could defeat a historically strong team by a reasonable margin.”

 Even though the team finished second at states, Darr feels confident for next season because they will not lose anyone from their starting lineup. 

Assuringly, he stated, “The future is really bright for us right now, and that’s something to get excited about.”