The Official Blog of the 2013 NAQT HSNCT

May 27, 2010

Final Preview: Small Schools and B Teams

Filed under: Pre-Tournament Coverage — Chris C. @ 3:22 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

First, check out the poll results from the HSQB Morlan Poll conducted over the last week. I think there was a bit of a Mid-Atlantic regional bias in the poll, but it’s not too severe and overall does a nice job of accounting for the top teams around the country. A few observations:
– LASA was ranked above both GDS and DCD in the poll
– Thomas Jefferson was very highly rated at #13; perhaps many voters know something I didn’t catch when going through results?
– Voters didn’t seem to have much confidence in most Georgia teams; only Centennial and Alpharetta even made the top 25 and even then just barely. Regional bias or am I wearing sweet tea-colored glasses? It wasn’t a complete loss for the South in general though as Hoover finished at #13 and Hume-Fogg was the last team out
– The New York/New Jersey teams also seemed to suffer with only Kellenberg getting ranked in the top 25 (Hunter is #9, but they won’t be at the HSNCT unfortunately)
– Although it seemed like the West Coast teams on the whole suffered from a lack of familiarity (Torrey Pines is much better than #14), Mission San Jose emerged at #16.

What does this tell us? Absolutely nothing. But it should be interesting to see how the national tournaments (both the HSNCT and the PACE NSC) tell us about how these teams actually fare against each other.

Onto the final set of team previews:

Small Schools

The small schools championship is an enduring and unique opportunity for schools at the HSNCT that meet the rather stringent requirements to compete for their own championship on Sunday while the rest of the playoff rounds are going on (although some of these schools have made the regular playoffs and won a few matches, including last year’s Small School Winner, Ottawa Hills).  Many of these schools are also located in rural areas and lack a strong base of dedicated students or financial support, so it’s nice to see that they get a chance to compete on a bit more even footing for some recognition.

Unfortunately, since most of these teams qualified at smaller regional tournaments (and rarely played at the same ones with each other), it’s hard to tell how they’ll fare against each other. I won’t bother even trying to rank them, but I will link to a more in-depth discussion of them and focus on a bit more analysis of the statistically best teams:

Danville (KY)
A perennial Small-Schools contender and three-time champion, Danville has been a step behind in-state rival Russell for the past few years although they put up respectable numbers this year. Should be a contender for 3rd or 4th place, but probably not going to make the final.

Kate Smith DAR (AL)
While being perched on the edge of a mountaintop in rural Northeast Alabama may make for some gorgeous scenery, it’s not exactly where you’d expect to find a hotspot of academic competition. Coach Dennis deserves major props (along with Coach Henry of Brindlee Mountain, another small-school contending program which unfortunately won’t be at the HSNCT this year) for making the most of what he has to work with from his ridgetop eyrie. DAR has amassed an impressive record of participation, sending teams to no less than 8 NAQT events this year, with decent-to-good results. Perhaps that experience will be useful as DAR tries to keep alive Alabama’s tradition of competitive small-school teams.

George Mason (VA)
While George Mason hasn’t played any NAQT event that I could find this year, they did win the A-division of the Virginia High School League competition and played fairly well at Thomas Jefferson’s Fall Tournament. Somewhat of an unknown factor on NAQT questions though, but sources from the Mid-Atlantic vouch heavily for GM’s legitimacy.

Russell (KY)
Although upset in last year’s Small School Championship Final, Russell looks like it could get revenge this year with a series of strong performances throughout the year including a nice 18.58 PPB stat at the Kentucky NAQT State Championship. Probably the top contender for the title this year.

South Range (OH)
The pride of the the Mahoning County Academic League, South Range has as good a shot as any small school team of walking away with the championship. Jarrett is a superb player who’s getting his last shot at the small-school title, but in the course of the double-elimination playoffs I’d probably go with a more balanced team for the title.

I also made sure to run through the results from the other teams and here are the ones that seemed to have the most potential: Vermillion (SD) did worse this year than they did last year en route to finishing 4th in the small-schools division, but heck they’re from South Dakota so props to them for just coming; White Cloud may put up a fight and went to a decent number of tournaments this year; North White (IN) seemed to split its team up and went to some tournaments that entered the stats incorrectly but they seem pretty good too.


B Teams

B-teams don’t get as much respect as they should. It’s usually not easy to qualify two teams from the same school for the HSNCT in the first place and some B-teams are quite formidable in their own right.  Many B-team members are younger players who will soon go on to more well-known careers or surly veterans who haven’t had enough time to devote to quizbowl. Strong B-teams are usually also an indication of good coaching; managing the logistics of a larger team and building up a cadre of capable younger players reflects well on the ability of a coach, although it can also simply be a function of the size of the student body at a school. While it’s doubly hard to figure out B-teams ahead of time thanks to roster shifts throughout the year, here are some B-teams all schools would do well to watch out for:

LASA B– Whatever combination of players LASA eventually ends up putting on their B team, they’ll certainly be a formidable foe. They appear to be strongly balanced and capable of even knocking off their A-team on a good day (is this a B-team thing?), plus they’ve played a good number of NAQT events. Would not be surprised to see them at 7-3 after Saturday and well into the playoffs on Sunday (is a top 25 finish out of the question? not at all).

Dorman B– Probably the most feared B team in the nation in any given year, the second batch of pale blue polo-clad Cavaliers is usually right up there at the top of tournaments along with its A team (it’s certainly a sight reading to a room full of Dorman players, coaches, and parents in the playoffs at tournaments). Note that Dorman B also often plays as “Dorman A” at local tournaments while the actual A team is off in some far-away locale, so this team is certainly battle-hardened and even knocked their A team out of the playoffs at Princeton’s tournament in the fall (which isn’t unheard of for Dorman B even at nationals- see a few years ago). Expect a nice run into the playoffs with some trophy (i.e. top-25) potential.

Dunbar B– RUMORS (more on those in the next post) say that Dunbar B might lose a few good players to their A team since a few A-teamers might not be making it to the HSNCT this year. Even with those losses, Dunbar B looks like it should stack up well with many other A teams, but I don’t know if they’d be able to break .500 on Saturday.

DuPont Manual B- A very deep program (they fielded as many as 6 teams at once at a tournament earlier in the year), DuPont B could certainly be sticking around for more than the consolation rounds on the 2nd day of the playoffs. [A helpful commenter informs us that DuPont B won’t be here this year. Thanks for the update.]

Eden Prairie B
– If they’re the same B-team that they had at the Minnesota State Championship, Eden Prairie B will have a strong shot at making the playoffs.

Wilmington Charter B– Another program with teams that go from A to F (and all of which usually go around .500 or better at a given tournament), Wilmington Charter B AND Wilmington Charter C could both be tough opponents if they’re configured correctly.

Note: State College B could emerge from the hills around Happy Valley as some kind of fully-formed colossus and go on a rampage. From the results I’ve been able to see though, the B team this year isn’t nearly at the level it was last year. Perhaps someone with more information can let us know what to expect, but for now I’m not convinced SC B is a major threat this year.

That about does it as far as team previews are concerned. Tomorrow, I’ll have one last post with my final predictions along with some interesting RUMORS I’ve heard over the past few days regarding various teams. And then Friday, we’ll be live from Chicago. Thanks for reading and be sure to spread the word.

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12 Comments »

  1. About our B-team: The SC B team has gotten seventeenth the last three years in a row, but I’m not sure that’s gonna happen again. It’s always had a player or two who could easily have been on the A team, this year I’m not sure it does. However, the kids on the team are smart, and have spent most of the year playing college teams, so I’m sure they’ll do respectably. If they didn’t place a head of at least one or two of the B teams you listed I’d be surprised.

    Comment by Graham — May 27, 2010 @ 8:15 am | Reply

  2. Watch out for Olmsted Falls B.

    Comment by OFalls — May 27, 2010 @ 8:16 am | Reply

  3. Chris-

    We did make the poll at #14, and we are Southeastern. 🙂

    Josh

    Comment by Joshua Rutsky — May 27, 2010 @ 9:15 am | Reply

  4. “The New York/New Jersey teams also seemed to suffer with only Kellenberg getting ranked in the top 25.”

    Not quite true. Hunter, NY is ranked #9, though they are not attending HSNCT.

    Comment by Bro. Nigel — May 27, 2010 @ 10:42 am | Reply

  5. Good stuff, Chris. Although I really don’t think that last year’s 5-5 Russell team losing to 7-3 Ottawa Hills is an upset. Ottawa Hills 09 may have been the best small school since 2004.

    Comment by Jarret — May 27, 2010 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

  6. Josh- Thanks for pointing that out, I meant to say Georgia teams but I said Southern instead. That’s been duly corrected.

    Bro. Nigel- Thanks for mentioning that, I was being HSNCT-centric and forgot that Hunter, the pride of the New York area, is also from around there.

    Comment by Chris C. — May 27, 2010 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  7. Hey,
    So, duPont Manual B will NOT be at HSNCT due to the Shabaricon mishap. I’d make a joke here [like: They’re all tied up] but I’m sure we’ll get enough of that this weekend

    -Meghamsh
    duPont Manual A

    Comment by Meghamsh — May 27, 2010 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

  8. One more thing, doesn’t Dorman count as south?

    Comment by Meghamsh — May 27, 2010 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  9. True, although they are at that unusual point in upstate-SC where they’re kind of on the border line between what we’d call the Mid-Atlantic and the “regular” South. Though I suppose if I’m calling DuPont “Southern” (y’all are probably more midwest), I might as well do the same for Dorman.

    Comment by Chris C. — May 27, 2010 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

  10. Oh, and as per Thomas Jefferson, they have a win against Maggie Walker this year(on IS-95, I think) as well as some other very strong performances. They’ve gotten better and better as the year has gone on.

    Comment by Jarret — May 27, 2010 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

  11. To go along with what Jarret said about last year’s Ottawa Hills team, they came within five points of a circle of death in the championship bracket of the 2009 Ohio NAQT State Championship for schools of any size.

    Comment by Jonathan — May 28, 2010 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

  12. That LASA B team was for real. The only B team in the country, probably, that deserves to be ranked in the top 25.

    Comment by Andrew Chrzanowski — May 31, 2010 @ 4:36 pm | Reply


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