Two Great Neck South History Bowl teams traveled to Washington, DC, for the National History Bee and Bowl (NHBB) National Championships. After more than 10 rounds of answering history tossups, the varsity team finished 17th out of 180 teams while the junior varsity team finished 10th out of 108 teams, the highest place that a JV team from South has earned since the tournament began in 2010.
“We had some hard-fought victories and also had some losses, but overall the teamwork made the tournament an unforgettable experience,” sophomore Andersen Gu, junior varsity captain, said. “We all spent hours studying topics since the beginning of the school year to prepare us for this competition.”
History Bowl is a competition that focuses on world events from more than 3,000 years ago to current times. There are four quarters, each of which has its own format. The first quarter consists of 10 three-to-four sentence-long tossups. The second quarter consists of eight-to-ten tossups with one corresponding bonus for every correct answer given. The third quarter consists of eight one-sentence bonus questions, during which team members can converse on answers. The fourth quarter consists of eight-to-ten tossups, which are power-marked, meaning that if you answer them early, students receive bonus points.
South’s Varsity team, consisting of seniors Lucia Geng, Allan Lee, David Yuan and William Zheng, and junior Anthong Xiang, finished 4-1 in the preliminary rounds, where they continued into the top bracket for afternoon rounds. Although only going 2-3 in the afternoon, they narrowly lost to the highest-seeded team in the nation and lost by only 10 points—
the equivalent to one tossup—to last year’s varsity champion.
South’s junior varsity team, consisting of sophomores Andersen Gu, Samuel Levine, Daniel Lu, Noah Sheidlower and Ethan Vainrib, finished 5-0 in the preliminary rounds, having the fourth-highest point total out of all teams. The team went 3-2 in the afternoon, losing on a tiebreaker question to the top-seeded team in the country. Advancing to playoffs, the team went 1-2, losing by a small margin to the top-ranked team from California.
“I’m proud of how far we got,” Gu said. “With four of five members going to nationals for the first time, we communicated and played like we were a team who practiced together for years.”
In addition to placing high in the bowl, Lee and Gu participated in the National History Bee, with Gu finishing 41st out of 200 students in JV and Lee finishing 13th out of more than 150 students in varsity. History Bee, an individual event, consists of 35 three-to-five sentence tossups on world history. As many as eight of the best history players in the country compete in one room to see who can answer the most correct tossups per round. Lee, who finished 21st in preliminaries, had the seventh-highest quarter-final score, advancing him to semifinals, where he finished 13th.
Lee also placed 21st in the United States History Bee, which is identical in format to the History Bee, but is exclusively on United States history. Vainrib also placed 35th out of more than 80 students competing in the Varsity International Geography Bee as only a sophomore.
After placing highly in both individual and team events, the South varsity team now has hopes of placing within the top 13 nationwide at the High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT) in Atlanta.