Trivia Showdown: Roachez v. The Great Gang


Emma Lingo

Two trivia teams go head to head in a battle for the history books.

“It’s always intense, the trivia.” Simao Drew, English teacher, said. 

Every Friday for about 15 years, Drew has held a trivia match in his classroom. In August, he kicks off the year-long trivia tournament with a promise of extra credit for the winning team. Students have gotten more invested in the tournaments over time, emailing him suggestions for trivia categories late at night and over the weekends, Drew said.

“I really opened a can of worms when I told them they could email me suggestions for categories,” Drew said with a laugh. 

The games encourage competitiveness, and this year one heated rivalry has stood out among the rest: The Great Gang vs. Roachez. The two teams in Drew’s fifth hour AP Literature and Composition class have a reputation as fierce trivia players.

“They sure are something,” Drew said. “They take themselves, and the game, very seriously.”

According to Becca, Roachez member, the rivalry started first semester when the two teams emerged as the most intense players and successful in their class. 

Catherine McCandless
The Great Gang is made up of seniors Holden Ave, Alex Talir, Matthew Wilton and Clark Woodruff. Logo design by Alex Talir.

“There’s just extra tension when you’re the two teams that answer the fastest,” Becca said. “The rivalry came naturally.” 

Both teams have logos they have discussed printing on sweatshirts and posters. The Roachez revealed their logo to the class during last month’s trivia match. Trash talk followed. 

“[The Roachez logo] has nothing on The Great Gang’s logo,” Alex, The Great Gang member, said from across the classroom. His teammates agreed.

As Drew pulled up his trivia slideshow, the teams warmed up. Matthew and Alex, The Great Gang members, practiced raising their hands with speed as Mary Grace Heartlein, Roachez member, stretched her arms. 

The first category is revealed: Dungeons and Dragons.

First question: “What does D&D stand for?”

All four members of The Great Gang raise their hands in unison, easily securing their first points of the day. However, Lane of the Roachez is the fastest and only player to raise her hand for the second question, putting Roachez back on par with The Great Gang. 

The Roachez are accused of cheating by Drew as they answer more and more obscure questions about the game, but Lane assures him she only knows the information since she’s a “nerd” and “actually plays the game.” 

The teams go back and forth, Roachez and The Great Gang are the only teams to collect points during the Dungeons and Dragons round. Lane answers the Dungeon Double and earns 1,500 points for Roachez. The Great Gang, audibly upset, (“Oh my God,” Holden said. “That was unfortunate,” Clark winced.) hype themselves up for the next category swapping uplifting comments; “We’ve got this.”

Catherine McCandless
The Roachez consist of seniors Fiona Cseri, Becca Daye, Lane Fox, Mary Grace Heartlein and Claire Zickel. Logo design by Mary Grace Heartlein.

The next round: Kid Rock. Teams scramble to answer questions about The Wiggles and Alvin and the Chipmunks. Some light-hearted insults are exchanged between Holden and Lane. 

“Go home Lane!” Holden snapped after Lane stole a question about “Christmas Song” by Alvin and the Chipmunks.

“Answer faster,” Lane said. 

The teams are tied right in time for the Final Trivia round where they can each bet up to all of their points on a single question. 

The category: Last names.

The question: “Reminding you of speed and luxury, this is one of the 10 most common Italian last names that goes back to the Latin name for iron.” 

The teams huddle as Alex and Mary Grace write down their answers to hand Drew. Alex encourages The Great Gang to bet all of their points, confident they know the answer. Drew eggs them on, pointing out they’re in second place as of now–behind Roachez. 

Matthew and Clark, Alex’s teammates, whisper together and then agree to put everything on the line–all 1,489 points. Roachez bet 1,000 of their 7,540 points.

Roachez answered with “Fiat” and The Great Gang answered with “Ferrari.”

The answer: “Ferrari.”

The misstep cost Roachez 1,000 points and gifted The Great Gang double their points, securing their victory.

The game is officially over. But Clark, The Great Gang member, asks Drew how many questions they got correct compared to the Roachez. Drew tells him the teams tied, each answering six questions correctly. This prompts both teams to demand a tie-beaker. 

A couple of trivia slides later, neither team has a clear lead. They have been going at it since class started and have 15 minutes before the bell rings.

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“Alright guys,” Drew said. “We’re going to move on. Please get ‘The Tempest’ out.”

“What?” Mary Grace said, throwing up her arms in protest.

“Really?” Fiona, Roachez member, said. 

The class echoed their disappointment, with cries of “why,” “but” and “just one more slide.”

But class must go on. 

Until next week that is, when the Roachez and The Great Gang are back at it again. 

Team Breakdown by Emma Lingo