Samo’s Academic Decathlon (Aca Deca) Oceans Bowl Competition Team and Quiz Bowl Competition Team are both headed to the east coast for nationals this year.
The Oceans Bowl Competition Team, which competes with other schools to answer trivia questions about ocean science, came in first place in the Los Angeles Surf Bowl (a regional competition and qualifier for nationals) on March 3. The Quiz Bowl Competition Team came in third place on March 10 during their regional competition.
The Ocean Bowl Competition Team will be traveling to Baltimore, Maryland for the 2012 National Oceans Bowl Competition on April 25, while the Quiz Bowl Competition Team will be heading to Atlanta, Georgia on May 26 for the National Quiz Bowl Competition.
According to Aca Deca adviser Ingo Gaida, the teams often win regionals and move on to nationals. Gaida said neither the Oceans Bowl Competition Team nor the Quiz Bowl Competition team have ever won nationals, but he says the teams are much stronger this year than in years past.
“This might be the best team we’ve ever had for Ocean Science, and we might be able to win nationals,” Gaida said. “Quiz Bowl is not quite as strong, but I think we can probably place in the top 20 out of the 200 schools competing. I think winning Ocean Bowl nationals would be really exciting for students, because it’s not often that you can say you’re the best in the country at something.”
The Oceans Bowl Competition Team is comprised of seniors David Shabsovich, Chris Karba, Dana Ritchie and Zane Dufour and junior Marissa Kudo. The Quiz Bowl Competition Team is made up of seniors Sean Crane, Will Wolf and Tommy Neale and junior Dexter Blackwell. According to Gaida, the teams have devoted the entire year to competition preparation.
“We’ve been doing practice after school pretty much every day for the past three or four weeks, and in class they’ve been practicing all year,” Gaida said. “They also study outside of class, and have packets of information that they have to memorize and are tested on.”
According to Shabsovich, the highest-scoring member of the Oceans Bowl Competition Team at regionals and an Aca Deca member since his sophomore year, the team could win nationals this year.
“We definitely have a good chance at winning,” Shabsovich said. “It was difficult to win regionals in the sense that it was very high pressure and you couldn’t tell which questions were going to be next, [but] we definitely knew more than the other teams there. It was a matter of whether we messed up or got really hard questions. There were definitely some questions that we had no idea what the answers were near the end, but we ended up pulling through.”
According to Shabsovich, the teams have worked hard to prepare for nationals.
“We’ve each been studying every night until early in the morning, and we’ve been having after-school practices for two to three hours every day,” Shabsovich said. “Soon we’ll be having all-day practices, and Gaida’s been providing a bunch of materials for us. We want to make sure we know everything. I’m just really excited and I really want to win.”
According to Quiz Bowl Competition Team member Sean Crane, the team is stronger this year than in previous years, but will likely not win the national competition.
“We have a really strong team this year and we all know each others’ strengths and weaknesses,” Crane said. “However, we don’t have much of a chance of winning at nationals as Ocean Sciences [does], partly because other schools have so much more preparation for Quiz Bowl than we do because they don’t do anything else.”
According to Kudo, both teams have benefitted from the closeness of their members.
“I don’t feel very different being the only junior. We practice together all the time, so I never really think much of it,” Kudo said. “I think after being in the class for so long we’ve all grown pretty close. I love everyone on the team and I can’t imagine any team more deserving of this win.”
Kudo is optimistic about how the Ocean Sciences Competition Team will perform at nationals.
“Chances are extremely high that we’ll win,” Kudo said. “Everyone wants this really badly and we’re ready for whatever Baltimore brings. I really can’t put into words how it would feel to win. It’s way more than anything I could describe.”