CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- "This character is known by a number of names including Hawkeye and The Deerslayer. For 10 points name this adopted member of the Delaware tribe who appears in five volumes of the Leatherstocking tales."
"In one of this man's plays a character asks, "What are we doing here? That is the question" and answers it with the play's title."
"Yeah: What are we doing? Waiting for Godot."
It was just another day in the practice trenches for the George Washington High School Quiz Bowl team, which has been having itself a rather good year.
The team has been ranked in the top 40 among more than 1,500 teams in a set of international quiz bowl rankings that also includes teams from Canada, China and Singapore.
The seven-member GW team is hoping for even better results as the year unfolds.
"We would like to be at least top 16 at Nationals and there are two national tournaments and we would like to get to that level in both," said team captain Ryan Humphrey, taking a break from a team practice one recent day at the school.
"No team from West Virginia has ever made the playoffs, which is top 64. So we would like to move beyond that and move into national caliber finishes."
"And represent West Virginia," added team president Shani Waris.
"Yeah, and represent West Virginia the best we can," Humphrey said. "That's why we've been making a point to go out of state and try to get as much diversity of competition as possible and compare ourselves the best we can with the nation's best."
What makes a good Quiz Bowl player?
"You're either typically a generalist or a specialist," Humphrey said. "You either know one topic extremely well or you do your best to cover the widest range of topics. So, if that's having one person that really knows science or five people that know a little bit about everything it can go either way. Our team's pretty equally balanced. We all pretty much can answer anything in any category."
Other members of the team include Drew Gupta, Arka Gupta, Jess McDaniel, Ahmed Zanabli and Sam McClung, who doubles as captain of the History Bowl team, another part of Quiz Bowl.