The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Alexandria City High School Quiz Bowl Team Back in Action

Introducing the school’s own trivia sports team 

Abigail Ernst

Editor

The State award-winning Alexandria City High School trivia team is back in action for another season. The VHSL sports team was created in the 2000s and has been coached by AP Literature and Credit Recovery teacher Matthew Zahn for the past seven years. 

The team is currently undefeated and officially qualified for the National Academic Quiz Tournament, which will be held in Atlanta in May of 2022. 

The team consists of approximately 25 members, though not all compete. The team takes part in two different regional competitions within the Patriot district as an official VHSL sport, and on It’s Academic.  

It’s Academic is a television show that airs on NBC Saturday mornings at 10 am, where teams compete against other private and public schools from across the DMV. The show works with three team members representing each school answering three sets of trivia questions. It is an independent tournament-style competition show. 

However, COVID has limited students from gaining quiz tournament experience by filming the show virtually. Normally, the show would be filmed in the NBC television studio. 

“Post-COVID, we have not gone back to filming in-person, so instead of competing against other teams live because of connectivity issues, they gave us a set of questions, the other team a set of questions, and another team a set of questions,” Zahn said.  

With the district competitions, four players are competing together at once, and subs are allowed. In total, the team will play 2 games against 5 other schools, 10 games in total. The game is played in three rounds: a 15 question toss-up round, a 20 total team-directed question round, 10 questions for each team, and finally another 15 question toss-up round. In the 20 questions round, teams are allowed to steal if the opposing team answers incorrectly. 

The team competitors for a particular competition are decided because of what content the students know best and how often they show up to practice. 

Zahn said, “It helps that the people who have been playing for the longest and show up the most, tend to be people that have a complementary knowledge sense. I have to think about if we are going to have 3 people, I don’t want 3 people who are all good at humanities, but no science. It’s whether their knowledge base compliments each other.” 

To practice, students go during Lunch and Learn on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. They play with official question sets and use a website called BuzzIn.live to see who answers the questions first. Also, once a quarter, the students play against the teacher trivia team, Team Awesome. 

“I think that it’s just a place that if you’re nerdy and you haven’t felt like there’s a place where you fit in, this is the place. This is like sports for nerds. We certainly have athletes, right, we have kids who pretty much do every sport, but it’s a different side of you. And if you’ve worked hard to know a lot of things, there aren’t a lot of places in life where that’s valuable. But this is one of them,” Zahn said.  

Most importantly, the athletes have fun. Senior team member, Nicole Feldman said, “I think my favorite [memory] has to be when there was one question about verbs and as a lot of the team take German (like it’s an insane ratio) we all looked at each other smiling because we had just learned the term for it (the answer was modal verbs).”

“Getting involved is really easy! We meet Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays during lunch and learn to play trivia and chill in Mr. Zahn’s room! It’s a great time and I highly recommend it (if you think you won’t get questions right you’d be surprised),” Feldman said. 

Support the team by watching their competition on It’s Academic that airs on January 22 on NBC4 at 10 am. Additionally, the VHSL regional and district matches are on the same day as well. 

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Alexandria City High School Quiz Bowl Team Back in Action