For the last six years, the team from the former Country Day School has dominated the annual territorial Quiz Bowl competition, but this year there was a new winner: the Antilles School Brainstorms, who emerged undefeated after the two-day event wrapped up on St. Thomas.
During the preliminaries on Sunday and continuing into the early rounds Monday, the teams from All Saints Cathedral School and Charlotte Amalie High School were knocked out, leaving the newly formed Good Hope Country Day team, Ivanna Eudora Kean High and Antilles School in the race for the top three spots.
By the time the Quiz Bowl got into the final stretch Monday, Antilles had already won two of its games and was waiting for the third place game between Good Hope Country Day and Kean to finish before they made their way back on stage. In between the rounds, Antilles’ longtime coach, Alan Eberhart, could be seen huddling with his players, talking over strategy before they faced off for the win.
"I try to tell the students not to compete against each other, to listen to the questions and not to make wild guesses. Listening is really the biggest part," Eberhart said about the team’s strategy. "So far, they’ve been doing that and I’ve been really pleased about the way that they are playing and coming together."
Eberhart added that, along with preparing for Quiz Bowl, many of the team’s seniors are also preparing for Advanced Placement exams, getting ready to go on college trips and finishing up a range of other academic activities that he said also helps them in the competition.
"The biggest thing that helps is reading, just reading, which students don’t have time for these days because of all the other things that they have to do, but with everything coming down around the same time, they are already learning the literature and geograpy and those kinds of things, so that is really important," he said.
During the competition, which is broken up into four parts, the students were asked a range of questions in a variety of subjects, from math to American history. By the end, Antilles won with 200 points, while Good Hope Country Day had 180.
Speaking later, Good Hope Country Day coach Annaly Babb-Guerra said her team was trying to rebuild after losing four of its graduating seniors last year. This is also the first time since the two St. Croix private schools were merged that they fielded a combined Quiz Bowl team.
"We’re a young team, but we’ve worked hard in specializing in different things," Babb-Guerra said. "We were focusing on things that would help us toward the end of the match because the questions tend to be worth a lot more, like current events."
The fourth round of play during each match is called "Stump the Experts," which gives students a crash course in world news. During this round, moderator Diana Parker asked about everything from the recent Bitcoin craze to Romney-care.
With Antilles in first place and Good Hope Country Day in second, the team from Kean picked up third. Kean’s final game against Good Hope Country Day ended in controversy, as both team coaches challeged the answer to a 20-point question that the judges, upon initial review, gave to Kean.
Babb-Guerra pressed for a better ruling, since both sides appeared to have gotten the answer wrong in the first place and the judges had to look over both the audio recording of the round, and the video, before deciding to throw out the question. Kean lost 110 to 125.
The annual Quiz Bowl competition, now in its 36 year, was sponsored by the St. Thomas-St. John American Federal of Teachers.