Andover Quiz Bowl Competes in High School Quiz Show: Season Fourteen

Pictured above is Claire Wang ’23, Jaeho Lee ’24, Nicholas Donnellan ’23, and Roger Lu ’23 discussing a question together.

Andover’s Quiz Bowl team — composed of Claire Wang ’23, Nicholas Donnellan ’23, Roger Lu ’23, and Jaeho Lee ’24 — competed in the High School Quiz Show (HSQS) for the first time in five years. The team went head to head against Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in the  qualifying round, but ultimately fell 440-400 to be eliminated from the tournament. 

HSQS is a televised, single-elimination game show that tests Massachusetts high school students on various academic and pop culture trivia. To enter the tournament bracket, the team scored among the top 16 teams in the state on a 50-question written test, called the Super Sunday Quiz. 

As Co-President of Andover Quiz Bowl, Lu recounted the process of preparing for the competition. Additionally, Lu expressed appreciation for the joint effort that went into expanding the knowledge and skills of the team.

“We have weekly meetings every Monday and we practice a lot during those meetings. We go through packets and it’s basically a simulation of a normal quiz bowl game. We ask each other questions and we learn from all the questions that we don’t get right. ​​Right before the game, we [used] this online website called Protobowl, which is like an online simulation of quiz bowl. It’s overall a very collaborative environment where we challenge each other and try to gain as much information as we can,” said Lu.

During preparation, the team had to navigate through various competition formats and familiarize themselves with the buzzer system. According to Donnellan, these challenges were a way for teammates to push their limits and get out of their comfort zone.

“You’re not just with the other team, but you have a whole audience there [while competing], so there’s a lot more pressure on you. It was also very interesting to have rounds that have different themes and different rules. There were some [rounds that were] individual, some where you could converse with your team, some where you couldn’t buzz until the question had been read fully. You had to think about Quiz Bowl differently and you also had to tie in your strategy and your questions in a unique way,” said Donnellan. 

Although the team competed in person on January 23, the game show episode was not aired until March 25. Jaeho Lee ’24 discussed the experience of shooting the episode for television, which also included doing makeup backstage and filming introductions to release on social media.

“There weren’t enough Andover kids in the studio audience, and they had to put in random employees to cheer for Andover. It was interesting to see the hosts face-to-face. There were signals to stand here, stand here, do this, do that. It was pretty chill [since] it wasn’t live, so we could also shoot multiple times,” said Lee.

Although Andover was eliminated in the qualifying round, Lu expressed pride towards how far they had gotten, especially after initially convincing the rest of the group to take such an opportunity. 

“In the beginning, we weren’t considering this at all, but I’m really proud of where we had gotten, especially in the speed round. A lot of people were complimenting our team on how we did because we got five questions right in a row really quickly. Even the other team was like, ‘Oh, wow, they’re doing really well this round.’ Overall, I think we got to a slow start, but we had a really nice late game comeback,” said Lu.

Claire Wang ’23, the other Co-President of the Andover Quiz Bowl, valued the opportunity to compete because it drew attention to the activity and increased accessibility to the competition. Wang emphasized that anyone is capable of participating in Quiz Bowl if they are dedicated to their practice. 

“You don’t have to grind and read every single book or study a lot. If you just consume a lot of content or live life, you will have a lot of knowledge that you would need for quiz bowl, so it’s actually a lot easier than most people would think. These questions that are put on TV were a sign of how actually most people could probably answer them if they spent more time,” said Wang.