The Official Blog of the 2013 NAQT HSNCT

May 26, 2013

Congratulations LASA

Filed under: Uncategorized — Harry @ 3:00 pm

LASA A, from Austin, Texas is your 2013 HSNCT champion!

Sunday liveblog

Filed under: Liveblogging — Harry @ 7:13 am

Here is the Sunday liveblog. It should start in about 15 minutes from this post.

They playoff bracket. A team in the winner’s bracket moves to the loser’s bracket with a loss; teams in the loser’s bracket are eliminated with a loss. The bracket should be updated throughout the day.

Remember to tweet results with the hashtag #hsnct.

May 25, 2013

Saturday wrap-up and Sunday preview

Filed under: Match Recaps — Harry @ 11:46 pm

The first day of competition is over, and the field has been reduced from 256 to 97 teams. Let’s take a look at what happened today and what it might mean for the playoff rounds tomorrow:

  • LASA has some incredible depth. Getting the top overall seed is one thing, but they managed to also have three teams seeded in the top 16. LASA C, which went 8-2 today, consists entirely of freshmen and sophomores.
  • Ladue is the real deal. They had the highest PPB of the tournament (24.33), and the only team they lost to was one they beat earlier in the day. They, along with LASA A, are the two favorites to win it all tomorrow.
  • Bellarmine, on the other hand, had a disappointing 7-3 performance, with losses to Dorman (by 430 points), Arcadia, and St. John’s. They did have the 9th-highest PPG and PPB, so all is not lost for them. No 7-3 team has won the title since the current playoff system has been adapted, though.
  • Blair had a really good day, thanks partially to the contributions of their science player Sam Zbarsky. He hadn’t played much all year, but the 30 PPG probably pushed them to 9-1.
  • Belvidere North wound up with a lucky schedule. The only 8-2 or better team they played with Cistercian, and in their 9th and 10th games, they played teams with one fewer win. They’re a good team, but I doubt they’re fourth in the nation as their seeding states.
  • The top five teams struggled with negs. Only two of the top eight teams last year had more negs in the prelims than any of the 9-1 teams. This could cause some issues, when a neg streak could end a team’s chances at taking the title.(Special thanks for Matt Jackson for pointing this out.)
  • Of the past seven HSNCT winners, four finished Saturday 8-2 and three finished 9-1. No 6-4, 7-3, or 10-0 team has won since 2005. This would suggest LASA or Ladue has the best chance, but a team like Dorman or Cistercian are still reasonable candidates.
  • This year’s bracket of death is probably the group of five teams that includes Montgomery Blair, Bellarmine, and East Chapel Hill. Only one will make it out while the others are consigned to the loser’s bracket
  • Just because a team has a certain record does not mean they aren’t better than teams with higher records. Dorman has put up 30 more points per game and 3 more points per bonus than Belvidere North. One would expect the former to go further in the tournament, though the latter has the help of an additional bye.

Also, playoff brackets can be found here. See you guys tomorrow!

Saturday Liveblog

Filed under: Liveblogging — Harry @ 7:04 am

Click here for the liveblog! It will start around 9:00 AM.

For new readers: A brief overview of Quizbowl and some Quizbowl lingo.

Format: All 256 teams will play 10 games in 16 rounds against similarly-ranked teams. Those that get 6-4 or better will advance to the playoffs. More details here.

Tweeting: I will be keeping an eye on the hashtag #hsnct. If you have any game results or team updates, post them there.

May 24, 2013

Predictions: Who will win?

Filed under: Pre-Tournament Coverage — Harry @ 9:37 pm

During the regional preview posts, I said that Ladue and Bellarmine would finish in the top 2. Now it is time to look at the two teams in-depth and give a prediction of who will win it all.

Let’s start by looking at the one tournament where players from both teams competed: ACF Regionals. If we take into account common opponents, we get the following:

Team PPG 10/G -5/G PPB
Bellarmine 294.17 11.17 2.17 17.31
Max Schindler 259.58 10.58 1.58 15.28

This does not include the game where they played each other, in which Bellarmine won 215-185. Just by looking at those numbers and nothing else, one would be inclined to pick Bellarmine to take the championship.

One very important thing needs to be considered, though: Bellarmine was playing with what is basically their HSNCT roster, while Ladue will have more than just Max. He will have three teammates. One could argue that Ben Zhang by himself will be able to make up the difference, but I wanted to run a few numbers just to make sure.

At the Mort Walker Invitational, Max Schindler playing by himself got 25.87 points per bonus. Meanwhile, at the Missouri State Qualifier, a full Ladue team managed 26.57 points per bonus. In other words, Max’s teammates managed to get 0.7 out of 4.13 points per bonus that Max was not able to get, or about 17%. This would mean that hypothetically, if there were a full Ladue team at ACF Regionals, they would have answered 17% of bonus parts that had actually gone dead, which would give them another 2.5 points per bonus. This would put them ahead of Bellarmine by half a point per bonus.

Obviously, the above is only a basic approximation and is probably not the most sound, but it does help confirm the initial hunch that a full Ladue team would have done better than Bellarmine at ACF Regionals. It is fairly hard to accurately determine how good Bellarmine actually is, mainly because Bellarmine has hardly played any tournaments this year. While inexperience does not necessarily eliminate a team from contention (see: 2011 State College), I can’t see it helping. Therefore, my prediction is that Ladue will win the 2013 HSNCT, while Bellarmine will finish second. I do think the final will go to a second game, though.

Regional Previews: The West

Filed under: Pre-Tournament Coverage — Harry @ 4:29 pm

The West includes Texas all the way north to North Dakota and Alberta and all points west, as well as China. Seventy-five teams represent this region, including a few with national title aspirations.

Texas

Texas is the second-highest represented state with 22 teams, behind only the host state Georgia. That number includes four that have a good chance to finish in the top twelve.

St. John’s (#2, thirteenth HSNCT)
The former national champions are looking for their first HSNCT title in over a decade, and they just might have the tools to do so. They went undefeated to win the NAQT portion of the Texas Invitational, beating Hunter, Dorman, DCC, and several others in the process. They didn’t fare as well at ACF Regionals, losing to Bellarmine, Max Schindler, and LASA to finish outside the top bracket. They also swept the field at the Texas State Championship, putting up over 20 ponts per bonus on a college set. They have the ability to win it all, but they will have to face a lot of stiff competition to get there.
Prediction: 9-1, third place

Cistercian (#8, eleventh HSNCT)
Cistercian returns most of their scoring from last year’s team that finished tied for eighth. They came in second at the Texas Championship, only suffering two losses to St. John’s in the process. Vimal continues to put up amazing numbers, and Collin has become a good player in his own right. They haven’t played any out-of-state teams, so it will be hard to predict where exactly they fall compared to the rest of the field, but it would only make sense for them to improve on last year’s performance.
Prediction: 8-2, t-5th place

LASA (#9, sixth HSNCT)
LASA is a very hard team to predict. They have two or three teams that regularly beat each other, and it is not uncommon to see LASA B win a tournament. If they make any roster moves like they did last year, it could cause some shakeups. Last year, they surprised everyone except their coach when they finished third place, and this year might be no different. It’s not out of the question to see three LASA teams make the playoffs this year for the third year in a row.
Prediction: 8-2, t-8th place (A team); 7-3, t-21st place (B team); 6-4, 0-1 in playoffs (C team)

Bellaire (#53, sixth HSNCT)
After LASA, there is a fair gap until the next Texan team, Bellaire. They return Kevin Chen, the leading scorer from last year’s 6-4 team, and they pick up a decent support player in Ridge Liu. They tend to put up good numbers, but they have a tendency to buckle under pressure. At the Texas Championship, they lost their last three games to finish sixth despite having the fourth-best bonus conversion of the field. They should be able to make another payoff appearance, but they might struggle to top last year’s performance.
Prediction: 6-4, 0-1 in playoffs

St. Mark’s (#54, fifth HSNCT)
St. Mark’s is returning half of their scorers from last year’s playoff team, and those two are now the meat of the scoring. They are patient on the buzzer, negging maybe once per game. Their performance is rather erratic, having beaten Dorman but losing to the Lone Stars at the same tournament. How they will do depends very much on whether their A game is on at the right time. It will be a difficult journey to match last year’s 33rd-place finish, but with a little luck it’s not entirely out of the question.
Prediction: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs

Seven Lakes (#62, third HSNCT)
Seven Lakes took a huge blow when their top player, Carlo de Guzman, transferred to St. John’s. They have shown some success, having beaten Detroit Catholic Central at the Texas Invitational, but they also lost to Kealing Middle School. They finished tied for fourth at the Texas Championship by virtue of beating St. Mark’s and Bellaire but losing to DeBakey. Provided they don’t lose any games they shouldn’t, they will make the playoffs and maybe even win a game or two.
Prediction: 6-4, 0-1 in playoffs

Oklahoma

Four teams from Oklahoma are attending the HSNCT this year. Teams from this state have historically struggled at the national level, but this year Edmond Memorial has a chance to break through and make the playoffs. They had a respectable 17.8 points per bonus at the Oklahoma State Championship, which might be enough to get them into Sunday play.

South Dakota

After a year’s absence, South Dakota once again has representatives at the HSNCT. Chester and O’Gorman are going, and while they might not win too many games, they should take pride in representing their state.

Colorado

Grand Junction is attending their third HSNCT and their first since 2011. Little is known about them, but they have made the playoffs in their previous two appearances. Don’t bank on them to do a whole lot, but don’t be surprised if they are still playing come Sunday.

Idaho

Once again, Idaho’s sole representative is Treasure Valley Math and Science. There isn’t a lot of competition in that area, but they usually send a fairly decent team. A 5-5 or 6-4 result on Sunday is not unlikely for them.

Arizona

Arizona is sending four teams to HSNCT, including 94th-ranked Desert Vista. They went undefeated to win the Arizona State Championship while having a bonus conversion north of 20. They appear likely to make a second consecutive playoff appearance, though the isolated nature of the circuits out west makes it hard to tell for certain.

Northern California

California is split into two Quizbowl-playing regions: one centered around San Francisco, and one around Los Angeles. Northern California is the smaller of the two but has seen a lot of growth due to the advent of the California Cup. It also contains last year’s national champion.

Bellarmine (#4, fifth HSNCT)
Typically, teams in which one player provides a vast amount of scoring tend to miss expectations at HSNCT. But then again, most teams don’t have Sameer Rai. In April, Sameer by himself won the National History Bowl and the National History Bee. They won ACF Regionals at Rice, beating teams such as Dorman, LASA and Detroit Catholic Central. They beat Max Schindler playing solo 215-185 in a game that saw half of the tossups get negged. Two problems beset Bellarmine, though: That was the only regular Quizbowl tournament that Sameer has attended all year, and last year’s fourth scorer, John Cherian, is not attending. They might have a tough road ahead of them, but I have learned to never, ever doubt Bellarmine.
Prediction: 9-1, top 2

Escobar (#24, first HSNCT)
Despite their newness on the Quizbowl scene, Escobar has dominated Northern California Quizbowl, winning every tournament they have attended as well as the California Cup. Raymond Liu is their best player, though Jonathan Lam is going to be the key to this team. If he plays similarly to how he did at Cal Classic, where he put up 75 points per game, the team may possibly find themselves in the top 12. If he does something similar to the Northern California Championship, where he only got 28 points per game, then they could finish closer to 33rd instead.
Prediction: 7-3, t-21st place

Southern California

Southern California is the larger of the two halves of the state, containing 9 of the 100 top-ranked teams.

Arcadia (#10, ninth HSNCT)
Arcadia has been the dominant force in Southern California this year, posting a combined record of 86-2. Part of that might be related to the strength of schedule, as teams typically do not travel much to or from Southern California. They lost to Escobar 385-300 the one time they played each other. At the Southern California Championship, they put up 23.5 points per bonus, the fourth-highest on that set. They’re also aided by a well-rounded team that has attended many tournaments, so there’s no reason to believe they won’t go far this weekend.
Prediction: 8-2, t-8th place

North Hollywood (#35, third HSNCT)
North Hollywood is a very unpredictable team. At Westview, they beat Arcadia soundly, but also lost to Torrey Pines by 300 points. John Gleb is their main contributor, but he has a strong supporting cast that will put up about half of the team’s points. They’ve got a good team, but there’s a good chance that they will either upset a much better squad or take a silly loss somewhere.
Prediction: 7-3, t-33rd place

Torrey Pines (#51, eighth HSNCT)
On the flip side to North Hollywood’s unpredictable results, Torry Pines is steady as she goes. DoWon Kim leads a fairly balanced team of four that won ATLAS and Westview by beating teams such as Canyon Crest and North Hollywood. They have a bit of depth to them as well, powering about half of their tossups. Negs might cause a bit of an issue, though for the moment they seem to have it under control. There’s a good chance that they will ultimately emerge as the second best Southern California team in the state, only behind Arcadia.
Prediction: 7-3, t-33rd place

Santa Monica (#48, ninth HSNCT)
After Arcadia, Southern California Quizbowl becomes rather muddy. Teams such as North Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Canyon Crest can all beat each other on any given day. Santa Monica may have put up some of the better numbers in the state, but they have had a hard time translating it into results. They finished fourth at the Southern California Championship, and they even missed the playoffs at La Jolla’s tournament. They should still do well against national competition, though, and a playoff appearance is likely for them.
Prediction: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs

Westview (#79, first HSNCT)
Westview could very well profit from getting good at exactly the right time. At the Southern California Championship, they finished second to Arcadia and actually came within 25 points of beating them in the finals. They have a very balanced team, with only 11 points per game separating all four players. It’s hard to tell if that’s a one-time fluke, or if they’re the new real deal. I’m inclined to agree with the latter, though if they have a bad day they might struggle a bit to make the playoffs.
Prediction: 7-3, t-33rd place

Irvine (#60, second HSNCT)
Compared to the two teams right above them, Irvine is fairly new to the world of NAQT. Last year, they finished tied for 21st place in their first trip to HSNCT. Paul Kim is the sole returning member, but his teammates have stepped in and kept the team competitive. At Triton Fall, they went 11-1, beating teams such as North Hollywood and Santa Monica en route to a second-place finish. They appear to do worse on NAQT questions, though, as shown by their 7-4 finish at ATLAS. They are still a playoff team and they should be able to net a victory or two on Sunday.
Prediction: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs

Canyon Crest (#61, second HSNCT)
At last year’s HSNCT, Oliver Ren accounted for just two percent of his team’s scoring and got just as many tossups correct as incorrect. Now he is consistently putting up 100 points per game, if not more, and Canyon Crest is back in the playoff discussion. They have managed to pull off a win against Torrey Pines, but more often than not they have to consign themselves to finish fifth or sixth. They tend to be fairly even with Irvine, but the fact that Canyon Crest relies on a single player might make things a bit difficult at the more challenging HSNCT.
Prediction: 6-4, 0-1 in playoffs

Canada

This year’s sole Canadian team is Ainlay from Edmonton. They qualified by winning the Alberta Provincial Championship, which used an introductory set. They will win a few games, though I highly doubt they’ll make the playoffs.

China

That’s right, a team from China is attending HSNCT. This is actually the fourth trip for Shanghai American, and their first since 2008. Results from there are hard to find, though, so it will be hard to predict how exactly they will do.

May 23, 2013

Regional Previews: The Midwest

Filed under: Pre-Tournament Coverage — Harry @ 4:38 pm

The Midwest consists of ten states, stretching from Minnesota to Missouri to West Virginia and Ohio. It is the largest region in terms of attendance, with 91 teams participating and 27 ranked in the Morlan 100.

Kentucky

Ten teams are hailing from Kentucky this year, half of which are ranked. The state can be counted on to send at least two or three teams to the playoffs each year, as well as one or two competitive small schools.

Dunbar (#32, twelfth HSNCT)
Dunbar is attempting to make their eleventh consecutive playoff appearance this year. They finished behind only the two Dormans at the University of Kentucky Spring Championships, putting up 24.5 points per bonus. At Harvard Fall, they placed fifth in a highly competitive field. They have the experience to go far, but they’re just shy of being a top-tier team.
Prediction: 7-3, t-21st place

duPont Manual (#37, seventh HSNCT)
duPont Manual has seen a decent amount of success, having been the highest-finishing team in Kentucky for the past three years. This year they are a little behind their in-state rivals, losing to Dunbar 455-160 in the Kentucky State Championship. Despite that, they have a put up good numbers this year and should find themselves in the winner’s bracket on Sunday.
Prediction: 7-3, t-33rd place

Ohio

Ohio has an active local circuit, and it shows with their fourteen representatives at this year’s HSNCT, including about half a dozen with playoff hopes.

Northmont (#20, sixth HSNCT)
Last year, Northmont’s Sam Blizzard was fourth in individual scoring with 93 points per game. Amazingly, he was only a freshman. At the University of Kentucky Spring Championships, they lost only to Detroit Catholic Central. They finished third at the Midwest Championship ahead of teams such as Belvidere North and Auburn, and they placed ninth at the Texas Invitational. They have the ability to hang with the big guys, but they would need to prove that they can beat the big guys.
Prediction: 8-2, t-21st place

Solon (#44, ninth HSNCT)
Another serial playoff contender, Solon is looking to improve on their 71st place performance from last year. They came within 20 points of beating Northmont at the Ohio State Championship and have regularly beaten teams like Fisher Catholic and Olmstead Falls. Three people from last year’s A team are returning, so look for this experienced team to make it into Sunday without too much trouble.
Prediction: 7-3, t-33rd place

Olmsted Falls (#57, fourth HSNCT)
If Northmont and Solon are the top teams in Ohio, then Olmsted Falls is at the top of the second tier. They were the only high school representative at Carnegie Mellon’s mirror of ACF Fall, where they finished second out of eight teams. They beat Richard Montgomery in the only matchup between the two teams, but they lost to Winchester Thurston in the finals at West Virginia University. They have yet to beat Solon or Northmont, but they have yet to lose to Sycamore or Fisher Catholic.
Prediction: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs

Sycamore (#58, third HSNCT)
Sycamore is a second-tier Ohio team that for whatever reason is really good against Northmont. They tend to put a lot of players on their A team, which means that they aren’t necessarily going to have their four best players out there on any given question. They have good bonus conversion, but their relative lack of powers compared to similarly ranked teams might cause some issues when playing on tougher questions.
Prediction: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs

Fisher Catholic (#83, eighth HSNCT)
The third of the second-tier teams in Ohio, Fisher Catholic is 3-1 against Sycamore, but they have yet to beat Olmsted Falls, Solon, or Northmont. They bring back most of their scoring from last year, and Brandon Shull has certainly made strides over the year to become the team’s leading scorer. They should be able to make the playoffs, and a 7-3 finish on Saturday is not entirely out of the question.
Prediction: 6-4, 0-1 in playoffs

Michigan

Fourteen teams are attending the HSNCT from the state of Michigan, including one past champion.

Detroit Catholic Central (#5, fifteenth HSNCT)
DCC is the standard of consistency in Quizbowl. They have attended every single HSNCT, and they have always made the playoffs. The last time they did not have a team finish in the top 12 was back in 2008. Last year, they surprised everyone by not only making the HSNCT finals, but making an amazing comeback to beat Bellarmine to force a game 2. They put up 24 points per bonus en route to a victory at the Michigan State Championship, the second-highest on that set. They will once again go far, and while a repeat of their second-place finish is possible, it is unlikely.
Prediction: 8-2, t-5th place

Detroit Country Day (#30, seventh HSNCT)
After not attending HSNCT last year, DCD is back with a playoff-worth team. They have managed to beat rival DCC a couple of times, though they typically have to consign themselves to being second-best in the state. They are led by Siddhant Dogra, who regularly puts up over 100 points per game. Expect them to have a decent run on Sunday and quite possibly a top 32 trophy by the time it is all said and done.
Prediction: 7-3, t-21st place

Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s best bet at sending a team to the playoffs this year might be Stoughton, who won the Wisconsin State Championship. Their numbers aren’t as impressive as other HSNCT entrants, but it looks as though they did not have their four best players as their A team. If they pool their resources together, they might be able to reach 6-4, though I’m going to be conservative and say they’ll go 5-5. Hudson and Eau Claire Regis are the other two schools that are sending teams, though their goals are probably going to be .500 for the tournament.

Minnesota

Minnesota is a NAQT stronghold, and as a result the state is sending 19 teams to HSNCT this year. However, the number of teams going has not always correlated with results. Only one team this year is ranked in the top 100, though due to the isolated nature of the circuit, it is entirely possible that the playoffs will contain a greater representation of teams than expected.

Wayzata (#71, eighth HSNCT)
Wayzata did some travelling this year, finishing 11th between Hanover and Hunter B at  Harvard Fall. Such a performance, combined with their bonus conversion at the Minnesota State Championship, suggests that they will be a playoff team, though there is still a moderate amount of uncertainty about them.
Prediction: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs

Indiana

Indiana, while it may be surrounded by active Quizbowl states, does not have as healthy a circuit. They are still sending three teams, though, including one with a good shot at making an impact in the playoffs.

St. Joseph (#33, sixth HSNCT)
St. Joseph, while steadily improving every year, has yet to reach the HSNCT playoffs. This may be the year that all changes, though, as they return three of last year’s starters and most of their points. They placed equal with Belvidere North and Rockford Auburn at the Midwest Championship, and they have all but dominated the state of Indiana this year. Going 7-3 this year is certainly a definite possibility.
Prediction: 7-3, t-33rd place

Illinois

Illinois is one of the largest Quizbowl states in the nation, with dozens of tournaments every year. In 2013, Illinois is sending 15 teams to the HSNCT, including several with playoff aspirations and even a couple with dreams of taking a title.

Loyola Academy (#3, seventh HSNCT)
This year, Morgan Venkus has transformed from a really good Quizbowl player to one of the best in the nation. They went all the way to Virginia, where they beat Richard Montgomery and then Blair twice to win VCU Spring. At Wildcat, they beat Dorman twice, and they trounced the field to win Loyburn undefeated. They have had some down days, such as when they finished fifth at the Illinois State Championship, but even then they only lost one game by more than 65 points. Experience is on their side, as they have been to over fifteen tournaments this year. They have the ability to beat any team in the nation, which is why they are one of my top picks for this year.
Prediction: 8-2, 4th place

IMSA (#11, third HSNCT)
IMSA is a relatively new team to the HSNCT scene, but they have already made quite the splash, finishing 13th in both appearances. They have also been very proficient this year, with their students playing in over a dozen tournaments this year. They are one of the few teams to beat Ladue this year, doing so at Missouri Fall. They tend to finish second or third among Illinois teams, usually behind either Loyola or Belvidere North. They have the ability to take down the top teams, though, which means they very likely can go quite far this weekend.
Prediction: 8-2, t-8th place

Belvidere North (#13, third HSNCT)
Dylan Minarik is a beast at Quizbowl. At Loyburn, he managed to put up an amazing 174 points per game, and finished second to Loyola while all but playing solo. Being able to have two-thirds of your tossups be powers is nothing to scoff at. The major stumbling block for Belvidere North is that historically, one-man teams tend to not do as well in the later rounds of HSNCT. That shouldn’t stop them from being a top-20 team, though.
Prediction: 7-3, t-13th place

Rockford Auburn (#39, sixth HSNCT)
The dynamic duo of Lloyd and Abid may have graduated, but four more players have all but filled their shoes. They are in the second tier of Illinois teams, behind Loyola, IMSA, and Belvidere North, but they are able to put up decent points against those teams. They are certainly playoff-caliber, and they might even be able to make it in the top 32 and pick up a trophy.
Prediction: 7-3, t-33rd place

Stevenson (#52, sixth HSNCT)
Stevenson is a very unpredictable team. At Niles West, they beat Belvidere North twice and IMSA once, yet at the Auburn mirror of Harvard Fall, they finished eighth out of twelve teams. Their numbers seem to show that they would be a second-tier Illinois team, but they have the ability to go much further if they happen to get on a hot streak. Remember that one upset win could potentially push a team up a dozen places in the final standings.
Prediction: 7-3, 33rd place

Macomb (#22, second HSNCT)
Like Belvidere North above them, Macomb is a one-man team, this time with Tristan Willey at the helm. The team has been more or less disconnected from the rest of the main Illinois players, with the exception of Auburn’s mirror of Harvard Fall. There, they finished sixth behind teams such as Auburn, IMSA, and Dorman. It’s hard to tell how exactly they will do, but it seems almost certain that they will do better than last year’s 5-5 performance.
Prediction: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs

Carbondale (#56, fifth HSNCT)
Carbondale has had moderate success in previous appearances, making it to the playoffs every time so far. At Auburn’s mirror of Harvard Fall, they finished second in their division, and had a bonus conversion a point or two below that of Stevenson. They had better luck at Loyola Ultima, where they finished third ahead of Auburn. They’re probably playoff-bound, though their relative lack of playing experience due to their location in Southern Illinois might cause them some issues.
Prediction: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs

Missouri

Missouri is a recent Quizbowl success story, thanks to the efforts of the Missouri Quizbowl Alliance. This year, eleven teams from the state are attending HSNCT, including one that is a favorite for the national championship itself.

Ladue (#1, fourth HSNCT)
Ladue has put up some of the most impressive statlines in the history of high school Quizbowl. At Tiger Bowl, they put up 795 points per game, won every game by 430 points or more, powered 189 out of a possible 260 tossups, and had a bonus conversion of 27.11. When they had their best two players, they had a combined record of 91-2 against high school opponents. Max, playing by himself, finished third at the Texas Invitational, and it’s conceivable that they would have won had the entire team been there. They are without a doubt one of the contenders for the national championship.
Prediction: 9-1, top 2

May 22, 2013

Regional Previews: The East

Filed under: Pre-Tournament Coverage — Harry @ 12:28 pm

(Update: Fred’s latest set of rankings just came out, so those numbers have been updated accordingly. I also shifted a few teams’ predicted results down after I realised I had way too many teams finishing 21st and 33rd.)

The East stretches from Virginia up through Maine, and consists of 45 teams, but a quarter of the Morlan 100. It is historically the most successful region, being the home of nine of the past ten champions.

New England

This year, six teams from the normally Quizbowl-sparce New England are attending. This includes three from Massachusetts, which has not sent any teams to the HSNCT for quite some time.

Essex (UR, first HSNCT)
Essex was the highest-finishing Vermont team in the Vermont State Championship, only losing to New Hampshire’s Hanover in the final. They put up reasonable numbers in that tournament, almost hitting 18 PPB, but that has been their sole regular-difficulty tournament experience this year. They have a decent shot at making the playoffs, and maybe winning a game or two isn’t out of the question.
Prediction: 6-4, 0-1 in playoffs

Lexington (#88, first HSNCT)
Lexington has performed very impressively in their first year of Quizbowl, typically getting around 20 points per bonus each tournament. At the New England Regional Championship, every player put up at least 29 points per game, which says quite a bit about the team’s balance. They’re very likely to make it into the playoffs, and they could very possibly surprise a few teams along the way.
Prediction: 7-3, t-33rd place

E.O. Smith (UR, eighth HSNCT)
The perennial representative from Connecticut, E.O. Smith is looking to repeat last year’s playoff appearance. It won’t be easy, as only Saman has returned from last year’s squad. They finished second to Lexington at the New England Regional Championship, and actually came within five points of them.
Prediction: 5-5

New York Metro

Twelve teams hail from the New York Metro area, of which ten are ranked in the top one hundred. Most of the teams from this region should see some playoff action this year.

Hunter (#19, fourth HSNCT)
After beating Bellarmine to win the 2012 National Scholastic Championship and finishing fifth in last years HSNCT, Hunter has had to do a bit of rebuilding. Zihan is their sole returning member, though he has gotten quite a bit of help from his teammates. They played at the Texas Invitational, where they finished third with losses to LASA, St. John’s, and Max Schindler. They also finished fourth at Harvard Fall (and first among teams not from Texas), the only other tournament where they had their full roster.
Prediction: 8-2, t-8th place

St. Joseph (#31, fourth HSNCT)
St. Joseph surprised many by placing in the top 20 last year after only going 6-4 on Saturday. Unfortunately, none of last year’s A team has returned, but Ed Powers’ team has reloaded very well. Jack Mehr is their top player after spending last year on the C team. They still might be able to reach last year’s mark, but it won’t be easy for them.
Prediction: 7-3, t-21st place

High Tech (#40, second HSNCT)
High Tech has gone from a one-person show to a school that has three of its teams ranked in the Morlan 100. They were undefeated at the New Jersey State Championships, and even more amazingly, took three of the top four spots at Prison Bowl (though ultimately losing to St. Joseph). It would not surprise me at all if their B team finished ahead of their A team, though it does raise the question of whether or not the best four players are on the same team.
Prediction: 7-3, t-21st place (A team), 7-3, t-33rd place (B team)

Ridgewood (#28, first HSNCT)
Despite being fairly new, Ridgewood has exploded on the scene, taking third at the New Jersey State Championship behind High Tech and Mountain Lakes. They have a fairly balanced team, with no one getting less than 20 points per game at the aforementioned tournament. They seem to be a step behind teams such as St. Joseph, but they should still do fairly well on Sunday.
Prediction: 7-3, t-33rd place

Kellenberg (#65, seventh HSNCT)
Perennial participants Kellenberg are attempting to make a sixth consecutive playoff appearance. Both of their top scorers are returning, which bodes very well for their playoff chances. They managed 20 points per bonus at Harvard Fall, one of the few times they had a full contingent. There’s no reason to believe they won’t improve on their 6-4 finish last year, as experience is on their side.
Prediction: 7-3, t-33rd place

Mountain Lakes (#66, second HSNCT)
Mountain Lakes is also a relatively newcomer into the foray, but they have already shown a lot of strength and a fairly balanced roster. They finished second in the New Jersey State Championship, and they are typically a top-bracket team. Look for them to make the playoffs after just missing out last time around.
Prediction: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs

Livingston (#91, eighth HSNCT)
After not attending last year, Livingston is back and preparing for a playoff run. They had slightly better bonus conversion than Kellenberg at Prison Bowl, and they were a top-bracket team at the New Jersey State Championship. They certainly have a lot of skill, but they aren’t quite at the same level as the top teams in the state.
Prediction: 6-4, 0-1 in playoffs

Pennsylvania

Ten teams hail from Pennsylvania this year. They are a mix of new faces and seasoned veterans and defending champions.

Winchester Thurston (#42, second HSNCT)
Nathaniel Brodsky led his team to a playoff appearance in their first ever season as a Quizbowl team, and the entire team is back to try to improve of their 49th place finish last year. They have done very well in their region, beating Olmsted Falls and being competitive against teams such as State College and Manheim Township. Their bonus conversion suggests that they are a playoff team, but the question is how far.
Prediction: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs

Manheim Township (#69, first HSNCT)
Manheim Township is new to the world of NAQT, having played various other formats before last year. They are reigning Eastern Pennsylvania State champions, only losing to State College. They went 1-2 when they played Winchester Thurston at the Penn State Invitational, so one could expect them to finish with or slightly below their in-state rivals.
Prediction: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs

State College (#87, fourteenth HSNCT)
State College has historically been a powerhouse, having won two HSNCTs, three second-place finishes, three third-place finishes, and eleven appearances in the top ten. However, they have not have done nearly as well after the retirement of their coach Julie Gittings two years ago, and last year’s 6-4 finish was a relative disappointment. This year, they’re one of the three top teams along with Manheim Township and Winchester Thurston, so they should be able to make it in the playoffs once again.
Prediction: 6-4, 0-1 in playoffs

Delaware

While Delaware may only be sending two teams this year, their lone representative school is still going strong.

Wilmington Charter (#21, tenth HSNCT)
The 2009 champions had a weird HSNCT last year in which their A team missed the playoffs while their B team saw play on Sunday. The one time they had a full A team, they beat St. Joseph, Mountain Lakes, and High Tech, and went 1-1 against Ridgewood at Quaker Academic Competition. They also beat a three-quarters strength Kellenberg at Princeton.
Prediction: 7-3, t-21st place

Washington D.C. Metro

One of the traditional hotbeds of Quizbowl, the D.C. area is sending ten teams to HSNCT this year, including holders of five different titles.

Richard Montgomery (#15, sixth HSNCT)
In the mid-Atlantic, there are several top-tier teams but none have been able to dominate the scene. Richard Montgomery has had slightly lower bonus conversion than Blair, but they seem to be more consistant and less likely to suffer a surprise loss. They also have a fairly high power conversion, usually powering over half the tossups they get, which bodes well for dealing with high-level national competition. Their B team is also fairly competative, and they too might make it in the Sunday playoffs.
Prediction: 8-2, t-8th place (A team), 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs (B team)

Montgomery Blair (#7, second HSNCT)
Blair is making its first appearance at the HSNCT in eight years with a very impressive resume. They have attended several college tournaments and done rather well, typically finishing in the top half of the field. They are typically fairly competitive with the likes of Richard Montgomery, Thomas Jefferson, and Western Albemarle. They are fairly neg-prone, however, amassing 40 negs in 12 games at VCU Fall.
Prediction: 8-2, t-13th place

Thomas Jefferson (#12, thirteenth HSNCT)
Thomas Jefferson returns with over half of their scoring from last year, with James Bradbury being their only major loss. Raynor and Luke played on separate teams at the Virginia State Championship, and they each put up over 120 points per game. They have yet to play together as a full team, though when the top two scorers play together, they tend to be around the same level as Richard Montgomery. How well they do depends on how well Luke does with the rest of the team, and how much of a factor the shadow effect is.
Prediction: 8-2, t-13th place

Walter Johnson (#46, sixth HSNCT)
Last year, Walter Johnson managed to win four games in a row to just barely make the playoffs. This year, they should have an easier time. Their numbers, while not on par with that of Blair or Richard Montgomery, is enough such that they can take a win or two from the top teams in the region. Sameen, their sole returning member from last year, is their main contributor, but if his teammates are also getting points, the team should be a force to be reckoned with.
Prediction: 7-3, t-33rd place

Georgetown Day (#76, eighth HSNCT)
Georgetown Day has quickly rebuilt after losing three-quarters of their A team last year, under the leadership of sophomore Noah Cowan. They tend to put up good numbers, but they have yet to beat Richard Montgomery or Maggie Walker this year. Their lack of upsets this year makes a repeat of their 13th place finish somewhat unlikely, but at least they probably won’t take a surprise loss early on.
Prediction: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs

Virginia

Once upon a time, Virginia outside of the D.C. area used to be the stomping grounds of Maggie Walker. This time around, four teams are attending, all of which have their eyes set on the playoffs.

Maggie Walker (#14, fourteenth HSNCT)
Maggie Walker has rebuilt from last year, when their two teams finished t-49th and t-33rd respectively. When they have their full A-team, they are a dominant force, beating teams such as Richard Montgomery and Blair. They have a lot of depth as well, which means that they should have two teams make the playoffs once again. There’s a good chance they’ll finish top of the region, and perhaps they might even still be around Sunday afternoon.
Prediction: 8-2, t-5th place

Western Albemarle (#41, first HSNCT)
Sophomore Eric Xu has become a breakout player this year, putting up extremely impressive numbers in his club’s first year. At the Blacksburg High Academic Invitational, he put up over 175 points per game. Unfortunately, one-man teams tend to not do as well at national tournaments, but he should still be able to make a fairly decent playoff run on Sunday.
Prediction: 7-3, t-33rd place

Cave Spring (#67, fifth HSNCT)
James Cole has stepped up to the plate after the graduation of teammate Michael Zhang. With the exception of Christiansburg, they have dominated Southwest Virginia, though they have struggled against teams such as Western Albemarle and Maggie Walker. Their numbers are certainly good enough to make the playoffs, but the big question for them is whether they will have six or seven wins on Saturday.
Prediction: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs

May 21, 2013

The HSNCT Format

Filed under: Pre-Tournament Coverage — Harry @ 12:00 pm

On Saturday, 256 teams will play 10 matches over 16 rounds. At the beginning of the day, each team will be assigned a card from 1 to 256. For each round, the teams will go to rooms as dictated by their card, where they will play another team with a similar record. After the match, the winning team will get the lower-numbered card and the losing team takes the higher-numbered card. Therefore, one does not necessarily keep the same card throughout the day.

After all the Saturday rounds have been played, all teams that finished with a 6-4 or better record will advance to the playoffs. As with previous years, there will be a modified double-elimination bracket. All 7-3 and better teams will begin in the Winner’s Bracket, with the top teams starting with up to three byes. If a team in the Winner’s Bracket loses, they will enter the Loser’s Bracket, which is where all the 6-4 teams start. If a team from the Loser’s Bracket loses, then they are eliminated from the tournament.

Once there are four teams remaining, the last Winner’s Bracket team (Team 1) will play the lowest-seeded team, while the two remaining teams play each other. If Team 1 loses that match, then the two winners will play each other to play Team 1 in a one-game final. Otherwise, Team 1 will have two chances to beat the winner of the other match in a two-game advantaged final. This ensures that only the winner will have fewer than two losses in the playoffs.

If you wish to see a more visual representation of the playoffs, you can find last year’s bracket here.

Regional Preview: The South

Filed under: Pre-Tournament Coverage — Ryan L. @ 12:38 am

We start our regional previews with the South, consisting of Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and point south.

Arkansas

After being so well-represented last year, Arkansas will sadly have only one team at this year’s HSNCT. Arkansas’s sole representative Benton will look to improve on last year’s 2-8 record. I see them just finishing at 5-5, just missing the playoffs.

Mississippi

Longtime HSNCT attendee St. Andrew’s Episcopal will be back again. It’s hard to say how well they do since I could only find statistics on just one tournament that they’ve attended, but it seems like their performance will be similar to that of last year’s, where they finished 5-5.

Alabama

This year’s highly competitive Alabama circuit culminated in an exciting state tournament which saw a relatively unknown team, Spain Park, claim first place after essentially flying under the radar throughout the year. Joining them will be Hoover, who are returning the entirety of last year’s 5-5 squad. I expect both of these teams to push for a playoff spot and finish 6-4 on day one of the tournament.

Florida

Typically known for bringing their C, D, E, and F-teams to tournaments, Ransom Everglades has dominated the south Florida quizbowl scene, finishing undefeated against local teams in NAQT tournaments. Although a likely playoff team, they have shown to struggle against top competition. Meanwhile, both Stoneman Douglass and Buchholz will seek an improvement over the 4-6 record they attained last year.

Tennessee

The volunteer state will be well-represented at the HSNCT this year, with a plethora of teams having decent shots at making the playoffs. Ezell-Harding seems to be in great shape after retaining the core of the team that finished tied for 49th last year, with dominating performances at the TACA state tournament and the Hoover tournament. Look for them to try to improve on that performance starting with a 7-3 finish on day one. Meanwhile, cross-town rivals Oak Ridge and Farragut are all but ready to make their playoff debuts after duking it out at UTC’s spring tournament, where Oak Ridge ultimately edged Farragut on a two-game advantaged final. Traditional powers MLK, Hume-Fogg, and University School of Nashville will also be fighting for playoff spots.

Georgia

While the Peach State this time around may lack a contender who could seriously challenge for the title, they may be the state with the highest number of top 30 teams (also helped by the fact that they are the most well-represented state). Other than the teams noted below, Walton, Athens, South Forsyth, and Westminster should be able to breeze through to the playoffs with a 7-3 or 6-4 record, although they might have some trouble contending with the top national teams.

Etowah

Etowah is essentially a one-man team led by Duncan Morgan, who scored an impressive 130 ppg at the Collins Hill tournament. Although perhaps not as good as Adam Silverman from last year’s Centennial team, he and his team managed grab first place at the 6A division of Georgia’s state championship, edging out Norcross, Chattahoochee, and Walton in the process. As newcomers to the HSNCT, I expect them to drop a game or two during prelims to teams they should beat, but after adapting to the fast pace of the HSNCT, look for them to finish in the top 20.

Predictions: 7-3 in prelims, 3-2 in playoffs

Norcross

In last year’s rendition of the HSNCT, after surprising everyone with an 8-2 record in the prelims, Norcross finished a disappointing 33rd place after only managing to win a single game in the playoffs. Norcross’s star senior Mostafa Bhuiyan will look to end his high school career on a positive note with a top 20 finish.

Predictions: 8-2 in prelims, 2-2 in playoffs

Chattahoochee

Honestly, there isn’t much separating the top 3 teams in Georgia (Etowah, Norcross, Chattahoochee), with each team having beaten the others at least once. The avid travelers from perennial powerhouse Chattahoochee has had some great results this year, with undefeated records at the Bulldog Brawl and the Walton tournament. What might be even more impressive is their 2nd place finish at the Ezell-Harding tournament, where they proved they can compete with the best by finishing above national powers Dorman and Detroit Catholic Central. Look for them to compete in a similar fashion as they did last year, where they finished 8th place.

Predictions: 7-3 in prelims, 4-2 in playoffs

Marist

Although possibly a step behind the teams mentioned above, Marist has put together some good performances this year, finishing first place in the 4A division of the Georgia state championship and finishing 3rd after Chattahoochee and Etowah at the Bulldog Brawl. I see them improving over last year’s 33rd place finish.

Predictions: 7-3 in prelims, 2-2 in playoffs

Athens Academy

(Edit: Upon a second look, the Athens team looks stronger than anticipated since I failed to realize that in many tournaments, they were under the pseudonym “Howell Cobb Institute.” My predictions have been updated to reflect this realization.)

Georgia’s division 1A champions (also known as “Howell Cobb Institute” according to some stat sheets) are led by Jason Fern, who was one of the top individuals at last year’s HSNCT. They were Georgia’s top team at the Collins Hill tournament, finishing 3rd after Dorman’s 2 teams.  They’ve also had some solid performances at the Jaguar Bowl and the BDAT, finishing 2nd and 1st in each tournament respectively. Expect them to compete for a top 20 spot along with the other top Georgia teams.

Predictions: 7-3 in prelims, 3-2 in playoffs

South Carolina

Dorman A

Any blog post about quizbowl programs in the South would not be complete without mentioning perennial national powerhouse Dorman. They have the definition of balanced scoring, and although they have some losses to top competition, this year’s team seems stronger than last year’s. They will be determined to avoid the same fate they suffered last year and in 2011, where they dominated the prelims by finishing atop the standings (9-1 in 2012, 10-0 in 2011) before making early playoff exits after suffering from some head-scratching losses.

Predictions: 8-2 in prelims, 3-2 in playoffs

Dorman B

As usual, Dorman’s B team has had consistently good results this year including the Collins Hill tournament, where they finished 2nd only to their A team in a championship bracket that included four of Georgia’s best teams. Combine that with a respectable performance at the Midwest Championship and I see a team that will breeze through to the playoffs and could provide a challenge to some of the top A teams.

Predictions: 7-3 in prelims, 2-2 in playoffs

North Carolina

The Tar Heel state should be well-represented this year, with East Chapel Hill, Early College at Guilford, and Raleigh Charter all in the top 25 according to Fred Morlan’s high school quizbowl rankings. Besides these three teams, Enloe will be returning to the HSNCT after making a surprise 8th place finish last year after upsetting Dorman. They will be losing their top scorer in Natan Holtzman (83 ppg), so it will be hard to emulate their run from last year. I expect them to finish 5-5.

East Chapel Hill

Led by Jacob Reed who scored a whopping 153 ppg at the North Carolina state championship, East Chapel Hill seem to have grabbed the title for the best team in North Carolina. Although they have dominated in-state competition, it’s hard to tell how they will do against the top teams since they haven’t ventured much outside of North Carolina. Nevertheless, I expect them to perform similarly to their 13th place finish last year.

Predictions: 7-3 in prelims, 3-2 in playoffs

Early College at Guilford

Despite finishing second behind East Chapel Hill at the North Carolina state championship, the team from Early College at Guilford has shown some impressive performances at out-of-state competitions. In particular, at the VCU winter tournament, they finished first ahead of powerhouse teams Richard Montgomery and Maggie Walker. Look for them to challenge the top teams in the playoffs, as they did last year.

Predictions: 7-3 in prelims, 3-2 in playoffs

Raleigh Charter

Regular attendee of the HSNCT Raleigh Charter has had some decent results this year, including an upset win over East Chapel Hill in the Early College Quaker Bowl. Although they are perhaps a step behind East Chapel Hill and Early College, they should easily make the playoffs.

Predictions: 6-4 in prelims, 1-1 in playoffs

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