The Brain Bowl Team Suffers a Shocking Loss

Article by Alex Behr

The Brain Bowl Team Suffers a Shocking Loss

The St. Mary’s High School Brain Bowl team placed third at the annual Kanto Plains competition, held at Yokota Air Base on Thursday, October 13th. St. Maur came out on top of both ASIJ and SMIS this year with a total of 710 points, and two of their players received All Star awards for being the top two scorers in the entire tournament. ASIJ came in second with 630 points, and St. Mary’s was third with 500. Although the St. Mary’s team was disappointed by the results, everyone was awed by Kyohyun Koo’s performance at the games. Kyohyun, a senior who specialized in the categories of geography and history, was able to answer a variety of questions in quick succession, earning him a spot among the top ten highest scoring players, and thus an All Star award of his own.

St. Maur also finished in first place at last year’s tournament (which was also held at Yokota Air Base), ending St. Mary’s 33-year winning streak. (ASIJ came third, behind St. Mary’s.) Coach Gardonio, whose very first experience working with the Brain Bowl team was as Ms. Copping’s co-coach last year, knew very well that something about the team’s approach to practices had to change.

But before that, the team needed to hold tryouts to fill in the spots left by last year’s seniors, as well as to provide an opportunity for anyone who wanted to prove himself to be more deserving of a spot on the team than any of the returning members. Of these ten returning students, co-captains Masrur Mahbub and Sebastian Eguiarte and senior Alex Behr were allowed membership without having to go through tryouts, on the basis that they all had at least two prior seasons of experience. Since the Kanto Plains Brain Bowl Tournament rules allowed only twelve competitors per school, this left nine vacant spots on the team.

The tryout process began on the 23rd of August. Cuts were made the very next day, after the second trivia round, and a few well-qualified candidates were pulled out of tryouts early and enlisted on the team. On the 25th, the roster was finalized. Over the course of just three days, the pool of candidates had been reduced from thirty hopeful brainiacs to a well-rounded team of twelve, plus one manager. The 2016 team roster is as listed below:

Name (Captains are in bold, manager is underlined) Grade Experience (including the 2016 season)
Masrur Mahbub 12 3 seasons plus 1 as team manager
Sebastian Eguiarte 11 3 seasons
Alex Behr 12 3 seasons
Cian Brett 12 2 seasons
Kyohyun Koo 12 2 seasons
Tumul Kumar 12 2 seasons
Dylan Thinnes 12 1 season
Kenyo Li 11 2 seasons
Nishant Chanda 10 2 seasons
Shogo Yanagi 10 2 seasons
Taekyun Lee 10 1 season plus 1 as manager
Nishad Govindarajan 9 1 season
Nikita Romanov 9 1 season as manager

The 2016 season was counselor Ms. Callon’s first as a co-coach. A self proclaimed “nerd” and lover of trivia, Ms. Callon joined the team hoping to help make it a good bonding experience for students and because she “likes competition,” though she had heard that Brain Bowl “wasn’t a whole bunch of fun.” “[I wanted] to lighten things up a bit,” she said. Mr. Gardonio expressed similar views in regards to the atmosphere that surrounded the team’s practice sessions, noting that the players seemed to be less uptight this time around. “I think people are enjoying their time much more than last year.  Last year was kind of [like] boot camp.” He elaborated on why this was the case:

I felt that the team could have done much more brilliantly [in 2015] if there hadn’t been one [player who was so] overwhelmingly… good… that most of the players were kind of afraid to actually come forward [and try to answer questions].

Sadly, however, our high team morale was not enough to get the championship title for St. Mary’s. Hopefully, the team can make a comeback with the help of Ms. Callon and Mr. Gardonio and of course the efforts of the bright students that will be returning next school year. Tryouts for the 2017 High School Brain Bowl team will be held during the fourth quarter of this year.