2007-08 Minnesota High School Quiz Bowl League

[ Northern Division | Eastern Division | Southern Division | Western Division | Staff | Standings ]

The 37th season (at least; our old records are somewhat incomplete) of the Minnesota High School Quiz Bowl (MNHSQB) league will begin October 25, 2007 and continue through February 7, 2008. Playoffs will be held two weeks later on February 21, 2008.

The league operates thanks to the continuing sponsorship of Macalester College; the organizers greatly appreciate its support of Minnesota's talented high schoolers and are pleased to be associated with such a prestigious college. Macalester has also generously volunteered to provide the space to host the Eastern Division games.

Last year's results, including a playoff bracket and complete team and individual statistics may be found online.

Quiz Bowl:

Quiz bowl is a competitive activity in which two, four-person teams score points by answering questions more quickly than the other. This particular league is for high school teams in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, but quiz bowl is played throughout the U.S. (and, increasingly, the English-speaking world) by players of all ages (from elementary school on up to masters). The questions reflect the knowledge that educated people should have about the world and are drawn from academic curricula, current affairs, and popular culture.

Basic Structure:

Schools register one or more teams at the beginning of the year. Those teams are divided into four pools of roughly equal talent. Over the course of the year, each team will play twelve games against other members of its pool. Each team will play four of those games on each of three Thursday nights designated in advance. Games begin around November 1 of each year and continue until the middle of February with breaks for the major holidays. After the regular season is complete, the top teams from each division advance to single-elimination playoffs for the title.

Each division plays its games on different Thursdays; teams are assigned to pools based on the dates their coaches and players are available, their physical location, and the need of the tournament director to balance the sizes of the pools.


This league will be run according to NAQT's High School Eligibility Rules. Essentially, all high schools (public, private, magnet, charter, religious, etc.) are eligible to compete in this event and no prior qualification is necessary. Teams from home school collectives are also welcome. If you have a special situation, feel free to e-mail the eligibility committee in advance for a ruling.

There is no formal geographic requirement for participation; outstate schools and even schools from different states are welcome if they can make the scheduled games. Historically, however, the league has been dominated by schools in the Twin Cities and their suburbs.


If you would like to participate in the 2007-08 season, please e-mail R. Robert Hentzel.

If you're interested in competing in quiz bowl but did not get into the league in time, the Minnesota Quiz Bowl Alliance (of which MNHSQB is a member organization), hosts single-day Saturday tournaments throughout the year. Those Saturday tournaments are also open, of course, to schools that do participate in the league.


The 2006-07 season saw 98 teams from 37 schools participate; this was an increase of ten teams over the 2005-06 field. We anticipate a similar growth in participation this year.


Competition will take place in four divisions.

The four pools of play will occur on:

Division Location Competition Dates Qualifiers
Pool I (West) Minnetonka High School 10/25, 11/29, and 1/17 Minnetonka A (11-1)
Wayzata B (11-1)
Orono A (10-2)
St. Louis Park A (9-3)
Pool II (South) Burnsville High School 11/1, 12/6, and 1/24 Eden Prairie A (12-0)
Chaska A (11-1)
Edina A (9-3)
St. Thomas/Visitation A (9-3)
Pool III (East) Macalester College 11/8, 12/13, and 1/31 De La Salle A (12-0)
St. Anthony Village A (11-1)
Benilde-St. Margaret A (10-2)
Armstrong A (9-3)
Pool IV (North) Armstrong High School 11/15, 1/10, and 2/7 Irondale A (11-1)
Simley (11-1)
St. Paul Central (11-1)
Rosemount A (9-3)


The cost of a school's first team is $300. The cost of each subsequent team is $150. Checks should be made out to "MNHSQB" and mailed to:

R. Robert Hentzel
9400 Columbus Ave. S.
Bloomington, MN 55420


Each game will include 18 minutes of competition time broken into four phases.

The first "warm-up" phase consists of short tossup questions worth 10 points each with no bonuses.

The second phase will have longer tossups that are worth 10 points each (or 15 for a very quick answer) and which, if answered correctly, earn the team a chance at a bonus question worth 30 points. Players must answer tossups individually, but teams are encouraged to consult on bonuses. The first and second phases together will be allotted 9 minutes with no stoppage of gameplay between them.

The third phase will consist of lightning round questions. The team with the lower score will choose from three topics and then have one minute to answer as many of the ten parts of the lightning round as possible. After that has been completed, the other team will have a chance to convert any parts that the first team missed (in 30 seconds). Then the second team will choose from among the remaining two topics and repeat the process.

The fourth phase will last 6 minutes and will consist of tossup and bonus questions, just like the second phase.

A sample packet is available for perusal.

Unlike in NAQT, there is no penalty for interrupting a question before it has been completely read.


The formal rules are available online.

Team Composition:

Schools may form each night's teams from any combination of eligible players. On any given night, a player may compete for only a single team (e.g., West High School A), but that player may compete for a different team on the next night of competition.

A team may have more than four players, but only four may compete at one time. Teams with more than four players may substitute before or after the lightning round, before overtime, or during a time out.


The top four teams from each division by win-loss record will advance to the playoffs. If teams are tied for fourth place, a tiebreaker round consisting entirely of short tossup questions will be used to determine which advance. If teams are tied within the top four, the ordering will be determined on the basis of points scored per tossup heard over the course of the entire regular season.

No more than one team from each school will qualify for the playoffs; only the top-finishing team from each school will be considered when playoff berths are allocated. If one or more tiebreakers are necessary to determine the playoff teams from a division, multiple teams from the same school may participate in those tiebreakers if their record qualifies them to do so.

The teams will be seeded into this single-elimination playoff bracket.

The playoffs will take place February 21, 2008, at Burnsville High School. They will begin at 6:00 p.m. and end at approximately 10:00 p.m. Teams may leave after they have been eliminated.


The top two teams will have their registration fees for the 2008 NAQT High School National Championship paid by the league. In addition, all 16 of the playoff teams will qualify to attend the national championship.

In addition to earning the chance to compete at the national level, the playoff teams will each receive a team trophy. The members of the winning team will receive individual trophies, and the top eight scorers, top sophomore scorer, and top freshman scorer from each division will receive individual trophies. Scoring awards will be determined by points-per-tossup-heard with a minimum of 100 tossups heard. All players, even those on schools' second teams, are eligible for the individual awards.

Taping and Broadcast:

Some of the games played in the Southern Division (at Burnsville High School) will be taped by that school's AV club for later broadcast . DVDs of the school's games will also be provided to the participating teams.

Every school competing in the Southern Division is guaranteed that its first team will be televised at least once.

Some of the playoff games (including both semifinals and the final) will also be taped. Participating students will be asked to sign a broadcast waiver.

Slightly different rules will be in effect for televised rounds (e.g., how protests are handled, when substitutions are allowed, etc.) These will be codified and announced before the first game is taped.


The pairings for each division's first night of competition (i.e., first four games) will be seeded by the league organizers to give each team an approximately equivalent schedule. The pairings for the second and third nights will be determined on a power-matching basis so that each team will play four others of about the same strength, hopefully two with slightly better records and two with slightly worse. As a general rule, teams will not play the same team twice during the regular season nor will they play against other teams from the same school.

Game Night Schedule:

Games will begin at 6:00 p.m. and last until approximately 9:00 p.m. Each site will have a central location where teams can gather before matches begin to practice, eat dinner, or converse. It is hoped that teams will arrive by 5:45 so that they have a chance to hear any last-minute announcements before gameplay commences. Teams that have not arrived before 6:15 p.m. will forfeit their matches until they arrrive.


Spectators are welcome to watch any of the games at any of the sites. No prior communication is necessary; just show up!

Question Security:

This tournament will use questions provided by National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC. We are using a custom set derived from Invitational Series #71A and have purchased geographic exclusivity for Minnesota. It is the responsibility of participating teams to make sure that they have not attended (and do not plan to attend) another tournament anywhere in the country that is using the same packet set. Teams can find explanations of geographic exclusivity and their responsibility in maintaining question security on NAQT's website. Teams can also look up the sets assigned to past and future tournaments. Teams with questions about exclusivity or security should contact NAQT at naqt@naqt.com.

The short version: If you never leave the state to play quiz bowl, you have nothing to worry about. If you do, e-mail Robert Hentzel and he'll let you know if you have anything to worry about.

Preparing for the Tournament:

Teams that are completely new to quiz bowl and/or NAQT questions may be interested in purchasing NAQT's New High School Package and in reading its online article about starting a new high school team.

Teams may be interested in checking out the free You Gotta Know articles that give brief overviews of answers that come up very frequently (for example, "You gotta know these French kings."). They may also be interested in frequency list study guides, which were NAQT's best-selling preparatory material last year.

If you would like to purchase practice material to prepare for the league, please contact Robert Hentzel for advice on which questions would be most appropriate for your team. In particular, the entire set of 18 rounds from the 2006-07 season is available for $35.

Further Questions:

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact R. Robert Hentzel by e-mail or phone (952.888.2277). Running quiz bowl tournaments and writing questions is his full-time job and there's very little that he enjoys discussing more...

Created 2007 February 25 by R. Robert Hentzel