Varsity Quiz in Transition Year


Joseph Kimsey

Varsity Quiz team vs. teachers at Valley High School

Bobby Degeratu, Contributing Writer

“No way, we’re gonna be on TV!” seemed to be the general sentiment among last season’s Varsity Quiz participants, who prepared for their TV Semifinal against A-TECH in February after an impressive 4-1 season in the Non-competitive Blue League. Underdogs in the competition, they were selected as the wildcard for their division, going on to challenge the likes of A-TECH and the only opponent that bested them, Silverado. A win in both games secured the coveted trophy, and was followed by endless festivities in the form of an escape room, banquet, and All-Star match.


However, it also meant the end of the road for the seniors who played a huge role in making the season successful, comprising over half of the 2018 team. The remaining team hoped to replicate those results, but it was a task much easier said than done. All took a turn for the worst when the dreaded email reached Coach Ocampo’s inbox:


“Congratulations, Valley HS. You are being promoted to the Silver [Competitive] League!”


A higher league meant much more difficult competition, which would require an even better team than the one that represented the year prior. But problem after problem persisted, from an inability to successfully recruit to clashes with other extracurricular activities. The season seemed hopeless, and talk of not participating in the yearly Kiwanis tournament was arising. However, captain Brandon Martinez and his team were not prepared to give up without a fight, even if it meant winning was not a guarantee.


Varsity Quiz is an after-school club at Valley HS, one that has plenty to offer for all kinds of students. In short, it is academic trivia, in which four-person teams from across the city compete against one another answering questions of varying topics and difficulty. These are completely random and could range from Nevada history to the name of the team that won the 2012 NCAA Men’s title. This makes preparation both necessary yet uncertain, requiring a level of emphasis that students involved with sports or academics struggle to achieve.


Two-time member Ben Davis regards the club as an “intense experience full of twists and never-ending fun,” yet the status of the club is becoming “less and less popular.”


Despite a smaller team and many challenges, winning was not everything for this team of dedicated students. Practices, led by advisers Ryan Ocampo and Seth McCarthy, were lively and energetic, behind the laughter and occasional banter in between questions. Stopping for understanding was frequent, too, in an attempt to maximize the amount of knowledge obtained. Varsity Quiz did not solely host serious preparations, but thus far, two Teachers vs. Students matches also served as a great challenge for the team members and gave them the ability to showcase their expanding skill set. 

Joseph Kimsey
Varsity Quiz team vs. teachers at Valley High School.

“Varsity Quiz is the perfect way to end my day with hardworking, like-minded students,” Coach Ocampo frequently proclaimed. It was a sentiment shared by all of the team members, who constantly supported one another through the sharing of ideas, study techniques, and perhaps a unanimous round of applause when a particularly tough question was answered.


This year’s team was not able to secure a winning record, but the future for Varsity Quiz is bright. The team is still looking to host practices and study for another set of tournaments in January and February 2020. There is even chatter of a school-wide Trivia Night in order to promote the program and serve as a platform for recruitment for next year. All Valley students are encouraged to reach out to McCarthy in Room 101 or Ocampo in Room 241 to learn more about this organization and test their skills for the upcoming events.


“I welcome newcomers to accompany us on our journey,” junior Enrique Duran urges. “It is a challenging yet fulfilling experience that trivia lovers will really enjoy.”