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Quizbowl team ranked first in state

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

Grace Tadajweski l Editor-In-Chief

After being ranked first in the state for the 2022-2023 season, the school’s Quizbowl team anticipates the first league match on Oct. 17 against Ephrata.

Despite the first league match only happening on Oct. 17, the Quizbowl team has been busy preparing by studying and competing in various non-league tournaments. The Quizbowl A-team is comprised of seniors Zac Brutko, Samuel Joffy, Daniel Peelen, and Tyler Steffy.

“It feels pretty great to be ranked number one,” said Brutko. “We were highly ranked last year, so the jump to first feels well deserved and is certainly a point of pride for the team.”

Last season, the team finished off the regular season with a ranking of third in Pennsylvania. The team did not lose any members to graduation, and, as an effect, now holds a strong first place ranking along with key experience.

“It (being ranked first) feels awesome,” said Steffy. “Of course, the credit should go to Danny as we’re the wheels to his car, but we’re all uniquely combining our skills in a way that makes our ranking a well-deserved one.”

The team’s first place ranking has not put a stop to their goals as they hope to extend their success far beyond the state. The team aims to win states and improve their finishing at nationals, with Steffy even noting that the team aspires to finish in the top ten through lots of effort.

“We lost leagues on the last question last year, and we don’t want that to happen again,” said Peelen. “If we can win leagues, a state championship is very fathomable if we play to our best abilities.”

The Northeast Regional Championships in New York City and nationals in Atlanta both offer opportunities for the team to display their hard work. At nationals, the team is one of about 30 teams that have a non-zero chance of winning nationals.

“My biggest hope is that we can run the table in the league and win a league championship because if we win a league championship that means we’re really doing things right,” said coach Shane Thomas. “It’s been a long time since we’ve won a league championship, so that would be really meaningful to me.”

However, the team does not have to stray far from home to compete against challenging competition as three of the top four Quizbowl teams in the state belong to the Lancaster-Lebanon League, according to Thomas, one of the most competitive in the country.

“As a team, this season is all about making the most of what we have,” said Brutko. “We didn’t lose any members of our A-team from last year, so the plan is to compete at the highest possible level and win whatever we can.”

Although he competed on the A-team last year, this season, junior Reed Fretz has taken on the role of leading the B-team with hopes of greatly improving the B-team to lay a strong foundation for next year. Fretz aspires to have the B-team finish within the top ten in the state.

“I’m looking forward to a lot of growth from some of our younger players like our B-team players,” said Thomas. “I’m hoping that our B-team really makes some big steps forward this year because they're going to be our A-team come next year, and they need to really start thinking about the future too.”

Fretz mainly focuses on pop culture, he would like to improve his knowledge in the current events and geography realm.

“My individual goals are to become more confident buzzing in and to build a stronger B team this year,” said Fretz.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Joffy’s strength lies in science. Joffy would like to improve upon Biology as he believes it to be one of the team’s biggest weaknesses.

“My individual goal is to get better at the categories I am already good at,” said Joffy. “Our team has someone covering every topic, so each of us just has to get better at their specific niche.”

Steffy would like to improve upon history and religion. Like Joffy, Brutko will also be focusing within his area of expertise, pop culture and sports, to “fill the gaps in the team’s knowledge.”

“I would like to increase my ranking at nationals this spring,” said Steffy. “Last year, I finished at around the two-thirds mark of all the national players, so I really want to expand on that and get into the top 50%.”

Similarly, Peelen would also like to move up on the nationals’ ladder as he would like to advance to the final individual players’ national championship. Last year, Peelen placed 30th.

“We’re already a very strong team; I think our biggest area of improvement is our depth of knowledge,” said Peelen. “Being able to deal with harder questions is newer territory, and if we want to make a playoffs run at nationals, we will need to be prepared for such material.”

The team has never been ranked first in the state before. Peelen acknowledged that their ranking is accompanied by pressure but also is a positive reminder of the team’s growth after having been close to number one for the past two seasons.

“Over the course of the season, I am most looking forward to doing the best that we can at every competition we have and hopefully placing highly at the national competition in May,” said Brutko.

With the A-team entirely comprised of long-time senior friends, the teammates want to ensure that they make the most out of their last Quizbowl season. Steffy highlighted how he enjoys having a good time with his friends while seeing each other learn and teach about their passions.

“I’m looking forward to having fun playing Quizbowl and seeing just how good we really are,” said Fretz.

Along with being able to have in-person matches, the team will also be able to travel further distances for tournaments. Peelen hopes to compete against some of his friends in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

“I am most looking forward to having league matches be in-person again,” said Joffy. “We haven’t been able to do that since the 2019-2020 season. In-person matches work much better for Quizbowl than online ones over Zoom.”

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