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History Bowl team makes history with trip to nationals

Matthew+Driskill+%E2%80%9918%2C+John+Regidor+%E2%80%9918%2C+Roman+Peregrino+%E2%80%9918%2C+Jabriel+Andrade+%E2%80%9918%2C+Michael+Gray+%E2%80%9920+and+Dominic+Borrego+%E2%80%9920+competed+for+Archbishop+Riordan+High+School+at+the+National+History+Bowl+Championships+for+the+first+time+in+school+history.
Matthew Driskill ’18, John Regidor ’18, Roman Peregrino ’18, Jabriel Andrade ’18, Michael Gray ’20 and Dominic Borrego ’20 competed for Archbishop Riordan High School at the National History Bowl Championships for the first time in school history.

Matthew Driskill ’18, John Regidor ’18, Roman Peregrino ’18, Jabriel Andrade ’18, Michael Gray ’20 and Dominic Borrego ’20 competed for Archbishop Riordan High School at the National History Bowl Championships for the first time in school history.

Francine Zelaya

Francine Zelaya

Matthew Driskill ’18, John Regidor ’18, Roman Peregrino ’18, Jabriel Andrade ’18, Michael Gray ’20 and Dominic Borrego ’20 competed for Archbishop Riordan High School at the National History Bowl Championships for the first time in school history.

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We were never supposed to be here. No History Bowl team in Riordan history has ever competed at the National Championships. In order to qualify, our team needed to win three games in a Northern California tournament. Our division was one of the most difficult in the country, and our team had the least amount of experience in the competition. We were never supposed to be here.

At the beginning of the year, our team was downgraded from a full time to a part time club and not given a budget. Without a budget, we wouldn’t even been able to attend competitions to qualify. We were never supposed to be here. We fought for that funding, and we fought to qualify. After all that, we still needed to pay for our trip. It was going to cost $6,000 to stay on budget for the whole trip, a Herculean effort for our team. We were never supposed to be here.

We worked for months trying to put things together. We talked to the administration and tried to scratch up the money any way we could. When not fundraising, we were studying for the event itself. Hours a day, our team would quiz ourselves, read over facts and stories and try to commit as much information to memory as possible. A few weeks before we were set to leave, the funding came through. Nationals was on. We were never supposed to be here. But here we were.

I know I will never have a feeling quite like History Bowl Nationals. I was blessed with a body of a twig, yet the athleticism of a water buffalo. So, going to National Championships for athletics was never in the cards. History Bowl, though. History Bowl was something I was good at. History Bowl was a place that I and a few other individuals could shine in competition and represent the school on a big stage.

Discounting a single meeting I attended in freshman year (where I was blown out of the water and learned that I truly knew nothing about high school history), I joined the team in earnest during junior year with a number of my friends. Because of some external factors, I couldn’t attend competition for much of the year, so our team didn’t know what talent we had. We just needed a chance.

I was finally able to go to a competition at the end of the year, in the final tournament. Our team was very raw, and had little training, yet myself and Jabriel Andrade ’18 were able to lead our team to two wins, and almost pull out a dramatic third win against Valley Christian.

While we left the day feeling like we could have done better, we were content. We knew we had the potential to qualify for nationals the next year. Jabriel and I would improve and we would find new members to improve our supporting cast.

We just needed to get there. Those members came from surprising places. John Regidor ’18 was on the team with us and took strides to earn a spot on our team. Matthew Driskill ’18 and Matthew Ko ’18 went from being part time members to fill time contributors, filling in gaps in history that no one knew. Finally, sophomores Dominic Borrego and Michael Gray stepped up to the plate and became dedicated members of the team. It was this group that was able to go to Saratoga High School and gut out the mythical third win that sent us on our way to the national championships.

Nationals was truly an amazing experience. We went up against some of the top schools in the nation, and performed well. As the first team in Riordan history to even attend Nationals, just being there was no small feat. Yet, in our first grouping, our team went 3-2, vaulting ourselves into the top half of the 180 team competition. While we ran out of gas in the second grouping, going 1-4 with all four losses falling within 50 points, we left with our heads held high. We were proud of what we had accomplished in DC. We represented Riordan High School on the biggest stage and it will be a memory I will never forget. We were never supposed to be here. But we were.

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History Bowl team makes history with trip to nationals