Diana Shaipi, '24, takes a selfie with her quiz bowl teammates at the national competition in Illinois. Their team competed in the division II section of the competition. (Photo courtesy of Diana Shaipi)

Lehigh Quiz Bowl team ties 26th at national competition


The Lehigh University Quiz Bowl team attended the 2022 Intercollegiate Championship Tournament, hosted by National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT), on Saturday, April 2.

During the event, 64 collegiate quiz bowl teams were tested on their knowledge of different subjects including literature, history, pop culture, physics and science. The tournament was held in Rosemont, Illinois.

NAQT has hosted annual quiz bowl tournaments since the spring of 1997, with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic. 

The 2021 championship tournament was held via Zoom and enacted strict guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Gregory Lin, ’23, discusses practice trivia questions with the Quiz Bowl Team. Lin was one of the members of the team selected to participate in the Quiz Bowl National Championship on April 2. (Alli Kimmel/B&W Staff)

Vice President of Communications for NAQT Jeff Hoppes explained the process of reaching the national tournament and the functioning of the tournament itself. 

“We typically have about 200 teams from around the country that play at the sectionals in February,” Hoppes said. 

From there, the top 64 teams compete at nationals which is typically held in the Chicago area or somewhere with a large airport nearby for ease of travel, Hoppes said. 

Lehigh’s team ‘thought’ their way into this top group.

Each college team has four competing members, as two teams go head to head. 

During a round, the moderator reads a short paragraph that starts with obscure facts, but becomes increasingly easier to understand. Players who guess correctly receive points based on how early they answered, Hoppes said.

There are also two separate divisions that teams can enter based on experience and difficulty. Lehigh’s team competed in the division with less experience, division II.

A sample question from this division provided by NAQT reads, “William Carlos Williams’s ‘In the American Grain’ describes the “destruction” of this city, whose fall is also depicted in Lew Wallace’s first novel, ‘The Fair God.’ The Battle of Otumba followed a 1520 retreat from this city, which became known as ‘La Noche Triste.’ This city was legendarily founded in 1325 on the spot where an eagle eating a snake sat atop a cactus. For 10 points — name this capital of the Aztec empire.”

The answer to this question is Tenochtitlán.

Lehigh Quiz Bowl team member Diana Shaipi, ‘24, said in preparation for the tournament, they got together more often than their usual biweekly meetings to read through practice questions similar to those that would be asked at the championships.

“For the fields that we are weaker in, we pick someone who leads on that topic, which allows us to cover a wider range of fields,” Shaipi said.

Shaipi said she believes the team is able to draw from each person’s strengths. For instance, she is an electrical engineering major so some of her focus topics include physics and literature. 

Will Yaeger, ‘24, also competed at the national championships and is the founder of Lehigh’s Quiz Bowl team, which is less than two years old.

“I think it’s really important for people to be well-rounded and well-informed,” Yaeger said. “I wanted to create a community where people who are interested in various academic disciplines can come together.”

At the tournament, Lehigh’s team went 5-8 and tied with University of Notre Dame and University of North Carolina (UNC) for 26th place. The overall winner of division II was Yale University’s B Team.

Yaeger said some highlights of the tournament included beating Notre Dame in a “nail-biter” game, getting the first six consecutive questions correct against UNC and what he saw as playing more competitively than expected against high-ranking teams. 

“It was really gratifying to be able to pick up some wins,” Yaeger said. “The actual tournament itself was a lot of fun, the questions that we played were interesting and challenging, and we had a lot of fun just being there as a team.”

For the remainder of the semester, the club will continue to meet on Wednesdays and Fridays in STEPS 290 and is looking for new students to join the team. They are considering entering a team in another lower difficulty tournament on April 23.

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