The Official Blog of the 2013 NAQT HSNCT

May 24, 2013

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 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


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.


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.


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 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


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.


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.



  1. A couple points of note:
    -From last year’s Irvine A, Paul Kim, Ben Chiang, and Jeff Jeng are all returning to HSNCT to play again this year (in fact, I just ran into them while getting dinner)
    -At BENJI, Arcadia A played against Escobar three times (disadvantaged final) and won two of them–a 2-1 W-L record that I think is pretty fair for how we’d normally do against them. They’re pretty good.

    Comment by Jason Cheng — May 24, 2013 @ 4:44 pm | Reply

  2. – Escobar isn’t exactly a “new team,” though they have graduated from being the Farallon Islands Academy.
    – Arcadia B and C have been almost totally ignored by people nationally, but Arcadia B boasts NAQT wins over Torrey Pines, Westview, and San Dieguito and Arcadia C is an excellent C team and potential playoff team too. They’re probably not as good as LASA C, but they’re not far behind either.
    – San Dieguito has spent all year just barely losing to Arcadia, Torrey, et. al. while improving their knowledge base overall. Their PPB has been lowered by not having their full team with them all the time, but here they should definitely be a playoff threat.

    Comment by CC — May 24, 2013 @ 5:48 pm | Reply

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