HSNCT 2015 Wrap-Up

Over the past weekend (May 29th-31st), 272 teams from around the nation gathered together for the single largest quizbowl event of the year: NAQT’s High School National Championship Tournament. After 26 continual rounds of action, Arcadia High School from Arcadia, California took home the title in an exiting comeback win over the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy of Austin, TX. We congratulate all teams involved for their year(s) of hard work and dedication to learning! Greater Philadelphia was represented by 7 teams at the event. Let’s review how each did through each in turn, starting with the highest finish:

Wilmington Charter A

Place: T-21st, Record: 9-5, Total Slash Line: 69/105/44*, Points Per Game: 327.4, Points Per Bonus: 18.45

*The slash line stats indicate total powers (+15)/ tens (+10) / and negs (-5s) on Tossups

Charter A pursued a high risk, high reward strategy with aggressive buzzing, and managed some success with it. Among their wins were quality defeats of Torrey Pines (CA), Dorman (SC), and Collins Hill (GA), all well respected quizbowl teams at the national level. Varun Wadha led a well-balanced attack with 41 points-per-game. When Charter A locked in, they showed they have the talent in them to make an extremely deep run (12 powers in one match!). Why did they miss the top 20? That aggressiveness against top teams required running magic risks in the neg department, which saw Charter for instance losing to an inferior Ransom Everglades (FL) B team by negging five times. They also scored no points on three bonuses in the playoff match they were knocked out in against Solon (OH). Next year, Varun graduates but the rest of the team returns. The knowledge is there for a go at the top 10 if they can stay disciplined.

Manheim Township A

Place: T-77th, Record: 6-5, Total Slash Line: 36/79/27, Points Per Game: 281.7, Points Per Bonus: 17.04

Manheim A did exactly what we expected them to do: chug along with solid but not particularly fancy numbers to a playoff berth. They had few particularly dominant wins, but buckled down and beat the teams they needed to and were only blown out by eventual T-5th place team Solon in a match where their lack of power potential came back to haunt them. This team benefited from Jake Deerin’s team-leading 42 PPG and 18 powers as well as a breakout performance from Shayar Battacharjee, who is not normally on the A team (I assume he was used as a geography or pop culture specialist, as those questions are more prevalent in NAQT). This is another team where most of the lineup will be back next year, so there is potential to work with for building up knowledge depth to compete with the top teams.

Manheim Township B

Place: T-77th, Record: 6-5, Total Slash Line: 27/76/22, Points Per Game: 221.5, Points Per Bonus: 14.27

Unlike the A team, seeing the B squad make the playoff was quite a pleasant surprise for the GPQB staff. Even better, they were just 10 points away from beating Fisher Catholic (OH) to advance a round. They got there with a solid 2.5 tossups a game from almost everyone on the team. They needed those tossups though as their bonus conversion was on the low side for playoff teams. Having not shown extensive subject specialism during the year, it was nice that they pulled in enough early buzzes to make it to Sunday. While it may have been a bit of luck, we’re proud of them and expect them to be around on future HSNCT Sundays.

Emmaus

Place: 106th, Record: 5-5, Total Slash Line: 34/80/16, Points Per Game: 302.2, Points Per Bonus: 18.51

Ooof. Talk about a tough luck tournament. Emmaus cleared 300 points a game, had better statistics than either Manheim team and a good third of playoff teams, and missed the playoffs due to a heartbreaking 1-3 finish in their last four rounds with TWO separate five point losses. You can’t get much less lucky than that. On the bright side GPQB’s player of the year Ryan Bilger finished 6th out of over 1000 players from across the nation in scoring, with an astounding 96.38 points a game (and averaged 3 powers per game). Basically one-man teams like Emmaus are far more subject to luck and unfortunate bad breaks like what Emmaus got here; play this event over 100 times and Emmaus makes the playoffs more often than not, but alas they only get one shot. Let’s hope that the younger Emmaus players were taking notes and use this as fuel to build up to Ryan-like levels for next year.

Wilmington Charter B

Place: 127th, Record: 5-5, Total Slash Line: 27/65/19, Points Per Game: 222.7, Points Per Bonus: 14.13

Charter B dug themselves into a hole early with two losses to lead Saturday, and were not quite able to recover and get into the playoffs. This team went on a roller coaster ride, as 9 of their 10 games were decided by a margin of 100 points or fewer. A couple of lucky breaks and they could have gone to the playoffs or finished 4-6. Charter B does not neg the same way the A team does, but they could use some more in-depth specialization of provide power potential.

Wilmington Charter C

Place: 150th, Record: 5-5, Total Slash Line: 15/40/17, Points Per Game: 203.0, Points Per Bonus: 14.12

These guys exceeded our expectations. Barring a strange spike in their 8th an 9th match, they kept negs to a minimum, and managed to squeeze out wins against some decent teams. Alan Balu cleared 30 points a game to lead them to a near-playoff finish. This shows that Charter has a lot of depth to pick from in future years. It will be interesting to see who ends up on what letter team for the school next season.

Cedar Crest

Place: 199th, Record: 4-6, Total Slash Line: 17/54/22, Points Per Game: 170.3, Points Per Bonus: 13.38

The folks from Lebanon County quietly put together a pretty respectable tournament. Teams from Florida’s Ransom Everglades gave these guys fits, as the Ransom B and C teams defeated Cedar Crest by 10 and 20 points, respectively. They put together the consummate team effort, with all 5 players providing between 16 and 21 points a game. Albert Nazeeri led the way on scoring, but a 7/12 power to neg ratio for the event suggests that the difficulty of the questions may have been a bit too much for them. Cedar Crest finished with the record we predicted for them, but looking at the results I think they may be better than expected. If they study hard and play more events next season, they should once again improve their record at the next HSNCT.

Ben Herman 

 

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