The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


Quiz Bowl dominates national competition

With a nearly flawless record, the Quiz Bowl A Team demolished the competition and even tripled their opponent’s score in the championship match, dominating the Small School National Championship.
CHAMPIONS The team poses after winning the SSNCT championship.

A 16-1 record to finish the season. In the championship match, they tripled the score of the runner-ups.

Such a dominant run is unheard of—especially at a national-level tournament.

The group of four spent countless hours studying key terms, recounting old questions and analyzing potential competitors.

But for the Quiz Bowl team, there wasn’t much competition to begin with.

On April 27, the Quiz Bowl team swept every team they faced at the Small School National Championship Tournament (SSNCT), taking home first place after dealing a crushing defeat to Alabama Cyber Tech A. The team consists of four seniors: captain Aditya Shivaswamy, Vardhan Agnihotri, Ethan Bosita and Sohum Sukhatankar. 

Last summer, this same group finished 8th in the High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT)—the best the school has ever done. These past couple of months, they’ve won every local meet. Since the beginning of the season, they knew they were strong, and possibly the best. Morale was high. Expectations were even higher.

“This group of seniors had placed third last year at (SSNCT), so they knew that they had a good chance of winning this event,” Director of Academic Information Systems and club sponsor for the Quiz Bowl program Paul Mlakar said.

On the first day of the tournament, they played a round-robin with 10 other teams. When they went back to the hotel that night, their record was perfect. With some opposing teams getting blown out by over 500 points, the Lions made it known that they had improved since last year’s bronze finish. They were aiming for gold.

“For most of the day, we were basically running over everyone,” Bosita said. “We destroyed any illusion they had about having a shot at winning the championship.”

Sukhatankar was the team’s leader in points, placing 11th overall in individual points.

But even these academic powerhouses needed someone to support them off the scenes, keeping track of statistics and tendencies. A stabilizer. A coach.

“My role is to keep their heads in the game,” Mlakar said. “Call timeout if we need to. Calm them down if we need to. Cheer them up if we need to.”

With the combination of their coach Mlakar and the intellect of the seniors, the team went undefeated in qualifications. The squad bulldozed through the competition in the playoffs and made their way to the finals, where they faced Alabama Cyber Tech. After a rough start, the Lions had lost their first match in the whole tournament to the Alabama team, but the team came back stronger in the second match. The second match was a resounding victory, 660 to 210 in favor of the Lions, and it solidified the St. Mark’s Quiz Bowl A team as the clear champion with a 16-1 record.

“We took a tough loss last year,” Sukhatankar said. “This year, we learned not to get overconfident, so it was really nice to go back in there and come out on top.”

As the A team battled for first place, the St. Mark’s B team also did exceptionally well, ending up in the battle for third place in the playoffs. The B team came out on top and secured third place, ending with a record of 14-3. 

“The B team’s expectations weren’t as high so they were pretty excited to end up in third place,” Mlakar said. “The B team’s only losses on Sunday (were against) the A team.”

Buoyed by their dominant win at SSNCT, the Quiz Bowl team is preparing for their next national competition, the High School National Championship Tournament. They will travel to Atlanta from May 24 to May 26 to compete among 320 teams from across the United States, aiming to perform better than their eighth place finish last year.

But, the future of the program for next year is uncertain. Having such an experienced group of seniors maximizes the potential of the team, but the end of this season marks an immense loss for the Quiz Bowl program. Seven seniors are graduating, and compared to these seniors, the underclassmen still have many more hours ahead of them just to catch up. 

“At St. Mark’s, there are always talented prospects,” Mlakar said. “Yes, we certainly don’t have underclassmen yet that are at the same level as their current seniors. But none of these seniors were at the level that they’re at when they were freshmen and sophomores either. So the potential is boundless—they’ve got to have that drive and put in the work.”

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About the Contributors
Doan Nguyen, Staff Writer
Ronit Kongara, Staff Writer