Andover Quiz Bowl Team Proceeds to Quarterfinals

After what began as a close competition, Andover Quiz Bowl pulled ahead of Mansfield High School with a final score of 400 to 225 points. This victory secured Andover’s position in the quarterfinals of “High School Quiz Show,” a televised academic game show programmed on WGBH 2.

This latest match, which was filmed in January, was aired on March 10.

This was Andover’s first round in the show’s competitive bracket. On the team are members Anna Cambron ’18, Eric You ’18, Vincent Fan ’20, and Lasal Mapitigama ’21.

Prior to their appearance on the television program, the quiz bowl team had competed in other tournaments across the country. Never before, however, had the team participated in a televised event with a studio audience.

Second-year team member Vincent Fan ’20 expressed his initial apprehension for this new format, citing how different it was from what he had become accustomed to.

“Before the round actually began, it was honestly a bit nerve-wracking because at usual tournaments it’s just a moderator and two teams, without any audience, so the sheer amount of people [at the show’s filming] was a bit of a shock. But once Billy [Costa, the show’s host,] started asking the questions, it was basically like clockwork for us: press the button when you know the answer, and try to get as many right as possible,” wrote Fan in an email to The Phillipian.

Bill Qin ’19, who sat in the live audience, was impressed by the team’s ability to excel under pressure, especially given the charged atmosphere in the WGBH Studio.

“I feel that they really earned it. Knowing them, they’re very smart people… It was really impressive to see them under that new pressure and to still be able to perform at their best,” said Qin.

The team’s success is due in part to their practice sessions. Team member Mapitigama detailed how a combination of practice and general knowledge has propelled the team forward.

“We practice twice a week. At these practices, we read questions from prior tournaments to each other. Outside these practices we rarely study exclusively for quiz bowl. This is where we mainly differ from other schools. A lot of schools study solely for quiz bowl…  whereas our knowledge is more general,” wrote Mapitigama in an email to The Phillipian.

With this general knowledge comes the team’s basic strategy of playing to each other’s strengths, especially as the four team members have gotten to know each other over the course of their matches.

“We’ve grown to know what we are good at individually, so certain team members are more risky in certain subjects. For instance, I play it very safe in science because I know Eric and Vincent are very good at science. However, I am aggressive in history because that’s my strongest area,” wrote Mapitigama.

Susan Esty, Director of Wellness Education and another audience member at the filming, was impressed not only by the extent of the knowledge exhibited by the team but also by their composure, which was all the more important given the intense atmosphere of the televised match.

“I think that group of students who participate in Quiz Bowl is incredibly impressive. The breadth of their knowledge was particularly evident when we went to WGBH Studios, and their poise was incredible…  It’s hard to describe actually what it was like in that atmosphere with the studio audience and Billy Costa and the lights and cameras and everything. Our [Andover] students represented us so well,” said Esty. 

The quarterfinals of “High School Quiz Show” will air April 14. Fan is looking forward to both the competition and the ability to meet new people.

Fan wrote, “Besides making a whole lot of friends in school, I’ve also gotten to know a lot of the quiz bowlers at other schools in the area through various regional tournaments, and they’re honestly all great people and really fun to talk to.”