The Official Blog of the 2013 NAQT HSNCT

May 24, 2012

Regional Preview: The South

Filed under: Pre-Tournament Coverage — Chris C. @ 3:11 pm

Arkansas

Arkansas teams are surprisingly well-represented at the HSNCT this year, thanks to large part to hosting efforts by the Harding University Quizbowl Team. Traditional state powers Benton and Parkview Arts and Sciences are likely to finish an even 5-5, but Watson Chapel looks like a good bet for a playoff team, continuing their streak from last year where they were a surprise 6-4 finisher. The Arkansas School of Math and Sciences is a bit of a wildcard due to their lack of playing since winning Parkview’s tournament early in the year but definitely has the institutional academic ability to compete.

Louisiana

Not too many Louisiana teams this year, which is a pity. Longtime HSNCT attendee Lafayette will be back.

Mississippi

The intrepid quizbowl travelers at St. Andrew’s Episcopal are back again, this time having traveled as far as Boston, Tuscaloosa, and Houston to take on the top teams across the country. While stats thus far indicate that they’re likely to finish 5-5, they’ve got the right attitude in seeking out a challenge and shouldn’t be intimidated against the top teams.

Tennessee

Ever since the Simons days at MLK, there hasn’t been a major national threat out of TN yet the Volunteer State usually fields several underrated teams and this year should be no exception. Ezell-Harding will be competent as always and should be a good bet to make the playoffs with a very solid team. Oak Ridge appears to have pulled away from some of its East Tennessee brethren this year with a nice run at UTC’s tournament and looks poised to take a playoff spot.

Kentucky

DuPont Manual A
Last year’s HSNCT run was capped by a stunning upset of Dorman A and this year’s team (although it’s suffered from a repeated roster circus) could be even better. DuPont seems to specialize a bit in the NAQT format and subjects compared to other teams like fellow Kentuckians Dunbar (see below) and so should feel right at home at the HSNCT.

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

Dunbar A
The final year of Idrees’ run as the feared quizbowl beast of the bluegrass, Dunbar’s still been stuck consistently behind DuPont Manual through much of the year in-state. Idrees has some younger players as help (albeit possibly not as much as last year) and is a formidable one-man team himself; look for them to spring an upset in the prelims but not to make too deep of a playoff run.

Prediction: 7-3 in prelims, 1-2 in playoffs

Alabama

Hoover burst onto the national quizbowl scene in 2009 when they finished 8-2 and atop the leaderboard after the prelims. Ever since though there’s been a slow decline with last year’s A team not even making the playoffs. This year though Hoover should return to the playoffs (if their A team can stop losing to their B team or perhaps the rosters get shifted a bit), albeit without enough firepower to make a dent in some of the other schools.

Georgia

The host state is well-represented among the quizbowl teams at this year’s HSNCT with 18 teams from 16 different schools. It’s sometimes tough, however, to tell the make-up of these teams because of Georgia’s strange predilection for not keeping individual statistics. Apart from the teams profiled below, look out for Westminster A (who have a strong middle school team and should be even better next year), Walton, and Athens Academy to make pushes for playoff spots.

Brookwood
The venerable flagship program of Georgia is back for one last shot at glory for retiring coach JR Barry. After several relatively down years, including last year’s 5-5 record, this year’s team is much stronger and should be a good bet to make the playoffs and win a few games. They have an issue though with losing to teams they shouldn’t this year, including several losses to

Prediction: 7-3 in prelims, 1-2 in playoffs

Chattahoochee
Chattahoochee’s been a bit uneven this season, perhaps again due to shifting lineups, but overall seems like they’re behind Brookwood when both teams are all full strength this year. They probably won’t make much noise against the top teams in the country–though props to them for seeking out the best competition in the country at the TX Invitational.  I see them underperforming perhaps in the prelims but gathering it together in the playoffs for a nice upset or two.

Prediction: 6-4 in prelims, 2-1 in playoffs

Centennial
Time for once agian trotting out a statistic: no one-man team has ever won an HSNCT. Even the best candidate for the title of a one-man team, 2006 winner Richard Montgomery, still had 43% of its total points scored by players other than its leading scorer. Another potential candidate, 2009’s Wilmington Charter, had 47% of its total points scored by the other players. Though quizbowlers love to make much of individually excellent players, at the highest level of competition the champions come not only from the stars but from talented (and usually highly underrated) supporting players.

This leads us to the case of Centennial, led by clearly one of the best high school players of this century, Adam Silverman. Adam’s accomplishments are legion–top scorer at last year’s HSNCT, 5th-place national finish, wrote basically an entire tournament by himself, more local titles than anyone can count, etc. But although it’s clear he’s made an effort to try to encourage his teammates to improve, he still makes up the vast bulk of Centennial’s scoring.

This situation reminds me of the old Stow-Munroe Falls team led by Ike Jose, or the MLK teams led by Dallas Simons, or perhaps especially the Detroit Country Day team led by Neil Gurram. All of those teams had immensely talented star players, but just not much of a supporting group that could come through on key questions. Unless Centennial’s supporting staff has binged on tough questions and dined on impossible lead-ins for the past few weeks, look for Centennial this year to repeat that pattern.

Prediction: 8-2 in prelims, 4-2 in playoffs

Marist
One of the relative newcomers to the upper ranks of the Georgia quizbowl scene this year, Marist has dramatically improved over the course of the year and finished just behind Chattahoochee at the GATA state championship 4A division. They’re a bit new to the national scene though and might not get too far in the playoffs, but should be a good bet to make them.

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

Norcross
Lead by veteran top scorer Mostafa, Norcross has been a perennial lurker in GA tournament fields but has rarely achieved the dramatic upset over the perennial powers of the Empire State of the South. This could be their year though to make a playoff run as they’ve steadily improved over the year and have put up some great numbers at some of the non-NAQT tournaments they’ve attended in the spring.

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

Florida

If Florida teams have one defining feature, it’s their size–every school seems to have C through D teams, if not beyond. Ransom Everglades looks like the pick of the class here and should make the playoffs, although once there it’s not clear how far they’ll be able to go. Stoneman Douglass looks like the best other potential teams to get to .500, though likely not beyond that.

South Carolina

Dorman A
It’s a Dorman team. They’re battle-hardened from traveling to play against top teams around the country, blazing fast on the buzzer speed, and well-balanced with good coverage of all disciplines. Plus, they always break out their Sunday best for the playoffs on Sunday. This year’s Dorman iteration isn’t quite as dominant as last year’s though with a number of losses to some of their top national rival, but as Dorman well knows after last year all bets are off when you get to the playoffs. I can see them taking a surprising loss in the prelims due to their overly aggressive buzzer tendencies before going on an even more surprising run in the playoffs. Probably not a championship team, but definitely a top-10 one.

Prediction: 7-3 in prelims, 5-2 in playoffs

North Carolina

North Carolina doesn’t get too much press in the quizbowl world because, unlike many states, its state championship tournament system and most local tournaments already use good quizbowl questions and, while they produce a number of highly competent teams, haven’t had a true national threat in awhile. This year, NC looks like a bunch of competent playoff-level teams without much of a home run threat to bring home a top-tier trophy. Besides those mention below, look for the North Carolina School of Mathematics and Sciences and venerable HSNCT attendee Raleigh Charter A to compete for playoff slots.

Early College
The winners of the North Carolina state championship, Early College has several wins this year at in-state tournaments but has been frustrated when out-of-state teams from VA have made the trek into NC.

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

Enloe
Enloe’s played rather sparingly this year, but when they’ve played they’ve been impressive. A strong win early in the year provided some measure of dominance over their in-state compatriots, but a nice bonus performance at a more recent tournament ended in a loss to Christianburg (VA).

Prediction: 7-3 in prelims, 1-2 in playoffs  

East Chapel Hill
They were able to out-stat, albeit barely not out-compete, Early College at one tournament. Possibly a step behind some of the other NC teams, but still a good bet to hit the 6-4 mark.

Prediction: 6-4 in prelims, 0-1 in playoffs 

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4 Comments »

  1. Bainbridge could very well be a spoiler this year. Anne Reynolds, a GA NASAT team, is crazy strong on lit. If the packet is right, they could make the playoffs. Also, will Evan Knox, last year’s highest scoring freshman from Cedar Shoals, have a Sophomore slump? They’ve made it a goal to get to the promise land. Also, Athens Academy could sneak in as well. Don’t count out any Georgia team, even if we do have strange predelictions.

    Comment by GATA — May 24, 2012 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

    • predilection, sorry. Silly auto correct.

      Comment by GATA — May 24, 2012 @ 9:25 pm | Reply

  2. Chattahoochee was 8-2 after prelims. Norcross was 8-2 after prelims. Marist was 7-3 after prelims. I think you seriously underestimated Georgia in this

    Comment by Georgia Quizbowler — May 26, 2012 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

    • Norcross and Marist also lost in round 18 in the playoffs so their prelim results look more like anamolies driven by the card system than anything else. The Hooch was definitely underrated though and came through in a big way with wins over LASA A and a nice run in the playoffs.

      Comment by Chris C. — May 28, 2012 @ 3:10 am | Reply


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