The Lehigh Quiz Bowl team prepares in a room at the 2024 Booster Shot tournament. The tournament included 13 different teams from different colleges, including Ivy League universities. (Eddie Furher/ B&W Staff)

Trivia trekkers: Lehigh Quiz Bowl competes at Columbia University


Founded in fall 2020, the Lehigh Quiz Bowl team has grown from holding online trivia practices over Zoom to competing against Ivy League Quiz Bowl Teams.

On Feb. 24, Lehigh Quiz Bowl competed in the 2024 Booster Shot tournament at Columbia University. Two teams went to the competition, each consisting of three students. 

The Lehigh A team included Edward Fuhrer, ‘25, Miles Jaffee, ‘27, and Steven McPhillimey, ‘26. The B team included Will Hollister, ‘26, Claire Wilson, ‘26, and Emily Farley, ‘27. 

This year, the team is primarily composed of first-year and sophomore students, with some upperclassmen members as well. 

President Steven McPhillimey, Vice President Claire Wilson and Secretary Will Hollister are all sophomores who have been a part of Lehigh Quiz Bowl since they were first-year students. 

The club welcomes students from all backgrounds to join their team. Wilson said they have students with a range of different interests, which helps them have a more balanced team at tournaments. 

In the packets of trivia questions that the team uses during practices and competitions, there is a vast range of topics, but there is usually a common distribution focused on literature and history questions. McPhillimey said around 20% of the packet is related to science and math, while the remaining questions are related to pop culture or different niches. 

He said having a diverse team helps them cover more topics and increase the chance of winning in a tournament, but the Lehigh Quiz Bowl team also prioritizes creating a fun environment for everyone involved.

“Sometimes, especially on Fridays, we like to have some more fun,” Hollister said. “One time we did a pizza packet where all of the questions were related to the history of pizza. We’ll do middle school packets because those take five minutes for everyone to get through. But it’s like a lowkey version of an actual competition match.” 

To accommodate as many members as possible, the team practices three days a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. McPhillimey said they practice at different times to make it accessible to members with different schedules. It is not required to attend every practice as a member of the team.

Hollister said a typical practice consists of three to four people playing trivia, while another team member reads through and studies a packet of questions from an older competition. 

Wilson said the team welcomed several first-years this past fall semester, and the older team members have helped these newcomers who might not know about Quiz Bowl to develop buzz strategies of their own. 

“The entire vibe of the club is very conducive to mentorship,” Wilson said. “A lot of the people we get, some of them have done Quiz Bowl before in high school. But a lot of them — I’d say probably half — are completely new to it and are just trying it on a whim.”

The team aims to attend one tournament per semester, and in the fall semester, they competed at a beginner-level tournament, McPhillimey said. The Booster Shot tournament was the first intermediate-level tournament that the team has attended.

“As we get closer to tournaments, the packets we read will tend to match the tournament,” McPhillimey said. 

According to the Quizbowl Resource Center, at the Booster Shot tournament, the 13 teams were split into two brackets: The Bracket of Knowledge and The Bracket of True Belief. The other schools competing included Columbia, Rutgers University, Yale University, Princeton University, Bard College and even a high school team from Hunter College High School. 

At the tournament, the teams competed in seven rounds, with the top four teams from each bracket making it to the playoff round. The remaining five teams from the playoffs then moved onto the consolation bracket. 

The Lehigh A team placed fourth in their bracket and competed in the playoffs, but ultimately ended up in eighth place. The Lehigh B team placed sixth in their bracket and did not make it to the playoffs, but they placed third in the consolation bracket and 11th overall in the tournament. 

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

Leave A Reply