Sierra Vista High School sophomore Moses Damena represented his school in the quiz bowl Individual Player National Championship Tournament in Rosemont, Illinois.
Club adviser David Jurvelin, who was at the April 7 tournament, said Moses’ run ended in the first round of elimination matches. He tied for 99th place out of 131 competitors. Fellow Las Vegas Valley tourney participants Eshaan Vakil, from Clark High, placed 21st, and Roy Margallo, of Liberty High School, placed 71st.
Moses, 15, started in the quiz bowl club at Sierra Vista this year, but his advisers said he has displayed more talent and interest in academics than “the typical player.”
“There are a lot of different kids with a lot of different interests,” Jurvelin said, adding, “For academic kids who like school and are academically interested, this gives them a chance to display what they have learned. And it is an opportunity for a different kind of kid to represent school.”
As for Moses, Jurvelin said he “knows his current events, his geography, history. He … has an interest in what is going on in the world.”
Moses said his favorite books are comic books, but he remembers reading a lot of science books as a child. He said he thinks they helped him with science questions in quiz bowl.
Moses said he was “very humbled” to be in the tournament.
“I didn’t expect to get this far,” he said.
The other Sierra Vista quiz bowl adviser, Charlcie Holguin, described Moses as “just brilliant.”
“He is a great kid,” Holguin said. “It is so nice to have him get rewarded in this way.”
Along with the individual competition, quiz bowl students at Sierra Vista participate in team competitions at the city and state levels. This year the team had four students, Jurvelin said.
To prepare, Jurvelin said, the advisers start by getting students used to tournament style and rules. They then start with easy play and questions that gradually get more difficult and obscure.
How it works
Each quiz bowl tournament has a tournament director who is in charge and can designate individuals to make rulings. Each game has a moderator who reads questions, enforces time limits, supervises the clock, determines the correctness of the responses and awards and deducts points. Matches are played using a buzzer system.
Each game has “tossup questions” that are worth 10 points each and multiple-answer bonus questions worth 30 points each. When a team answers a tossup question correctly, it immediately hears a bonus question.
A game consists of two halves, and if the score is tied at the end of the game, an overtime period is played.