Preseason Discussion

Current and historical discussions of the best teams and players across the nation, along with question sets and tournaments. The board-run national polls also take place in this forum. Region-specific discussion live under this forum.
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Rocket21
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Preseason Discussion

Post by Rocket21 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:32 am

Matt Siff and I decided to write a little preseason writeup of the roughly top 20-25 teams in the country going into next season, grouped by region. Here it is below:

DC Metro Area Region:

Blair A and B
Blair is scary. Whatever lineup they put, whether with Matt and Shawn, or with Chris in, they are going to be unstoppable. Kat is probably the top science player in the country next year, with some humanities generalism to boot as well. Sophia is a formidable humanities generalist, who can get buzzes all throughout the distribution. Matt and Shawn are both history players who can get buzzes in RMP as well. Chris Tong is a top 10 science player as well (this is spooky!) and can get buzzes in Fine Arts and Geo as well. Blair’s B team has their collection of rising sophomore talent including history player Albert Ho and humanities players Jason Liu and Leela Mehta-Harwitz. Blair A will be a nationals contender/favorite, while Blair B could definitely surprise people.

GDS
GDS has a lot of potential to do anything both good and bad. Led by generalist Matthew Siff and supported by history player Arthur Delot-Vilain, literature player Alex Moon, and NAQT specialist Nathaniel Rosenberg, GDS had some mixed finishes at nationals, finishing T-31 at HSNCT and 17th at PACE, in large part due to their astronomically high levels of negs, especially on NAQT. If they get lucky, GDS can beat anybody, but can also lose to anybody if they neg too much. Look for a higher finish at PACE than HSNCT, since PACE rewards aggression more.

TJ A and B
TJ A, although not a big nationals contender, like previous TJ editions, is still a solid, balanced team that can do damage at nationals. Led by captain and history specialist William Wang, this team has been playing together for the past 4 years and has little holes at all. Ryan Xu is a very good literature player, continuing the TJ tradition of amazing lit players. Sohom has very real knowledge in physics and chemistry, but can buzz anywhere on the science distribution. Prithvi is a NAQT/Geo player, who also knows bio and can make buzzes anywhere on the distro as well. This team will be a team to watch in the regular season. TJ B went 7-3 last year at HSNCT (as TJ C) and put up a great run at HSNCT. Led by rising junior and history specialist Anuraag Kashyap, this team that won the JV title at PACE, could surprise quite a few eyes this year.

RM
This is a team that’s probably a wildcard for next year, they could do really well, but could falter as well. Probably one of the more stronger history/geo teams in the nation, this team will be led by Derek Chu (history/myth specialist), Justin Posner (history, lit, rmp specialist), and Abhinav Karthikeyan (history/NAQT/lit specialist). Justin has been improving a lot, especially in some of the humanities categories, while Abhinav has been trying to become a decent lit specialist. Much of how this team does at nationals, will depend on how much more of the humanities this trifecta can cover and how good our science player (Kyle Liao or Danesh Sivakumar) can be against the stronger teams in the country. Expect stronger finishes and placement on NAQT/HSNCT over mACF/PACE though.

South:

LASA
LASA is led by the underrated Chinmay Murthy, a force on NAQT. In addition to his stellar coverage of NAQT and history, he also displays generalism in other categories such as myth and science. He does have a negging problem sometimes, but can make buzzes through all the canon. He is joined by Schuyler, a fine arts player on the b team last year. We are not sure who the rest of the players are, but their program and Chinmay should lead LASA to a good finish next year (especially at HSNCT).

Chattahoochee
Last year’s Chatt B went 8-2 in HSNCT prelims and return all of the players. Led by Jason Luo, this team should do really well and could surprise some.

New England:

Milburn
Milburn is one of the premier national contenders for next year. Led by history-focused generalist Dean Ah Now, this team has the support and depth needed to make a big run at HSNCT/PACE. Dean is spectacular at history (see 2019 NHBB) and plays other categories such as lit, fine arts, and rmp extremely well. Ben Hu, their science player, had an impressive statline at HSNCT as a freshman, and should improve by leaps and bounds. They graduate some people, but they have an excellent B team who made the playoffs to restock the cupboard.

Hunter
This is a young Hunter team, but still an excellent team (especially at HSNCT). Playing without Daniel Ma, they managed to get 24.5 PPB on a NAQT IS set, which bodes well for future performance. Pedro Juan Orduz, is a phenomenal history, NAQT, and CE player who put up really good power count at HSNCT and PACE even with the shadow of Daniel. Science players Ben Chapman and Asher Jaffe return, as well as lit/history/ce specialist Cerulean and lit/myth specialist Rachel Yang. Although, not as strong on mACF, they will be a force on NAQT, and could make great strides at HSNCT, like past Hunter teams.

Phillips
This will be a very underrated team next year. Led by the duo of new import and Groger Ranks FOTY Karsten and Vincent Fan. Karsten is phenomenal player, especially in the humanities. He led Greens Farms to an impressive and amazing finish at SSNCT. He puts up gaudy power numbers and is a force to be reckoned with, as he is arguably one of high school quizbowl’s best specialists and players already at a young age. Vincent Fan is a science-based generalist who led Phillips to a T-49 finish at HSNCT. With the addition of virtuoso Karsten, this team could make major waves at nationals.

Midwest:

Miami Valley
Led by the Grogers, this team will be scary next year. Brothers John John and William, this team offers consistency and should be extremely good next year. After a T-31 finish, this team rebounded with a very solid 14th finish at PACE. They have solid coverage of the distribution, but we think they need a little more support from non-Grogers to solidify their status as contenders for both nationals next year (maybe their strong middle school team?).

DCC
This team returns from Robert Dedvukaj, who was their fine arts player and probably their best player from last year’s team. They have a solid core, but we think they might fall a step or two this year from their previous dominance. Their coaching staff remains excellent though, so this team can definitely improve over the course of the year.

Illinois:

Uni Lab
Unquestionably the favorites to win nationals coming into this season, Uni Lab surprised a lot of people last year with their incredible Top 3 finishes at HSNCT and PACE. They also return everyone except Tim Cho, who they lose to graduation. Dylan Bowman, their science and fine arts specialist, proved to very strong last year and should be even more formidable this year. Ethan Ashbrook, the top literature player coming into this season, was their leading scorer at PACE and with his very strong RMP coverage, is one of the top mACF players in the country. They are joined by their top HSNCT scorer, Jonathan Lau, who as a sophomore, put up insane power totals and buzzes in their run. They will be lacking somewhat in history with the departure of Tim, but Jonathan can help cover this hole with the addition of a fourth history player.

Stevenson
Coming of a HSNCT 4th place finish, this Stevenson team still retains the impeccable Govind Prabhakar, Arjun Nageswaran, and David Lee. This team will face a major loss though, with Olivia Lamberti graduating. Stevenson will be at their best on NAQT, where Govind and Arjun’s strengths lie in history, geo, and ce. If they can improve in some of the mACF areas (science and literature), we can see them doing extremely well at HSNCT next year as well.

West:

CCA
Canyon Crest Academy is led by a balanced attack of Wesley Zhang (history and geography), Raymond Song (literature and FA), Jonathan Hsieh (science), and Shreyank Kaddadi (misc.). Although inconsistent at times, Canyon Crest offers balanced play on both mACF and NAQT. They can be categorized as a “swingy” team, but should be better on NAQT, with Wesley’s geo coverage. They have great potential as all their members from a T-19 finish at HSNCT and a 25th place finish at PACE, and they have the ability to pop off and beat anybody (see their games against Taylor at PACE and Ithaca at HSNCT).

OHS
Karan Gurzada, a rising junior, leads this young OHS team, who came t-49th at last year’s HSNCT. Karan is one of the scariest players in the country, with his deep coverage of science, history, and music. Apparently, he’s learning literature and fine arts too! Shiva Oswal, noted history specialist, JV History Bee Champion, and solo MSNCT champion, is a very talented player in his own right, but can be very swingy at times. This duo is accompanied by Josh Rollin, a formidable history and geo specialist in his own right. If this team can improve on its weak spots (lit, in particular) and team chemistry, we can see them being a spoiler team and making a T-8 or T-12 run at HSNCT

MSJ
Avinash Iyer, one of the more formidable players and generalists in the country, leads this MSJ team which came off an unlucky 49th place finish at HSNCT last year. Avinash, already an incredible history player, has been improving rapidly in categories such as literature and fine arts. He should lead this team to a better finish at HSNCT, especially with the addition of middle school import Pareekshith Krishna, who led his team to 3rd at MSNCT. Pareekshith could be what Avinash needs to elevate MSJ up a level into the contenders list.

Saratoga
This balanced team has very deep coverage and should be a contender at PACE next year. Led by Jason Hong, Brandon Wang, and Jeffrey Ma, this team should be very scary next year. Jeffrey Ma, who had 3 powers on PIANO, is one of the best FA specialists in the country. Jason Hong, is a very good science player and Brandon Wang, plays lit really well too. Although Kiran graduates, another formidable history player in Sathvik will be promoted. Expect this team to be under the radar, but surprise a lot of people at nats.

Harker
We’re not really sure about Harker’s makeup, but they surprised a lot of people with a T-19 run at HSNCT, beating teams such as Miami Valley and MSJ. They return all of their players and have the ability to make a deeper run.

Feel free to discuss anything we said or add any other thoughts of your own!
Abhinav Karthikeyan
Richard Montgomery HS '21

whatamidoinghere
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Re: Preseason Discussion

Post by whatamidoinghere » Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:14 pm

I would like to second the "Blair is scary" idea. Not only do they have 2 of the top 5 science players in the country, they are very good at all the subjects. They're in contention for HSNCT at the very least (in my opinion)
Avinash Iyer
Mission San Jose '21
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Re: Preseason Discussion

Post by whatamidoinghere » Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:02 pm

Also I'd like to mention a very good team which was somehow left out of this post, which is Westview from SoCal. Shahar is very good at literature, and his team was better than their HSNCT rank (see: they beat Stevenson and went 8-2 in the prelims).
Avinash Iyer
Mission San Jose '21
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TheScientists
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Re: Preseason Discussion

Post by TheScientists » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:45 am

Two teams that have been immensely underrated and deserve to be mentioned:

Greenhill
The Greenhill A team went 8-5 (tied for 49th) at the 2019 HSNCT, led by freshmen Gokulan Anand and Josh Rubel. Gokulan is a wicked literature player and Josh is a solid history and sports player. Shruti Siva and Jude Griffin are key contributors to a very balanced team. Expect all of their A Team to improve heavily as sophomores and they have the pieces to make a T-12 run.

James Clemens
With the graduation of Sharath Narayan, the James Clemens quizbowl team has fallen off the radar, however I think this year's team could make an insane run. The entire Liberty MS squad that went 4th at the 2019 MSNCT all join James Clemens this year. Expect Ethan Xu (History), Yuti Das (Literature), Austen Wyche (FA, USH), and Joshua Wang (Science) to all seamlessly scale up and be a seriously balanced roster. They are definitely Top-25 caliber.
Ameya S.
Laurel Springs School '23
Co-founder of NHBB Ranks

Shahar S.
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Re: Preseason Discussion

Post by Shahar S. » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:52 am

TheScientists wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:45 am
The entire Liberty MS squad that went 4th at the 2019 MSNCT all join James Clemens this year. Expect Ethan Xu (History), Yuti Das (Literature), Austen Wyche (FA, USH), and Joshua Wang (Science) to all seamlessly scale up and be a seriously balanced roster. They are definitely Top-25 caliber.
I think some reservations need to be had here if we're discussing the ability of middle schoolers to scale up to high school as quickly as you're describing. It's a really difficult transition, especially considering the massive difference in subject matter in categories like literature, fine arts, and science. I don't really think it's fair to put the expectation of getting top 25 in the nation of a team of all freshmen, no matter how well they did at the middle school level. That being said, I'd love to be proven wrong and see some freshmen kick butt at nats this year.
Shahar Schwartz

Black Mountain '16
Westview '20

whatamidoinghere
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Re: Preseason Discussion

Post by whatamidoinghere » Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:10 am

With the graduation of Sharath Narayan, the James Clemens quizbowl team has fallen off the radar, however I think this year's team could make an insane run. The entire Liberty MS squad that went 4th at the 2019 MSNCT all join James Clemens this year. Expect Ethan Xu (History), Yuti Das (Literature), Austen Wyche (FA, USH), and Joshua Wang (Science) to all seamlessly scale up and be a seriously balanced roster. They are definitely Top-25 caliber.
HS nats is very hard.
Avinash Iyer
Mission San Jose '21
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iarehavethestupid
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Re: Preseason Discussion

Post by iarehavethestupid » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:48 pm

TheScientists wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:45 am
James Clemens
Expect Ethan Xu (History), Yuti Das (Literature), Austen Wyche (FA, USH), and Joshua Wang (Science) to all seamlessly scale up and be a seriously balanced roster. They are definitely Top-25 caliber.
This is false.
whatamidoinghere wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:10 am
HS nats is very hard.
This is true.
Ethan Xu
Liberty Middle School 2017-2019
James Clemens High School 2020-2023
2019 ASCA MS State Champion

Aron Nimsowitsch
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Re: Preseason Discussion

Post by Aron Nimsowitsch » Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:08 pm

One team I didn't see mentioned for CA was Bellarmine.

While I certainly am not bullish on their odds of becoming a top team, there's a case to be made. Tarun Chiruvolu improved significantly over the year and led them to a surprising victory at the state championship, with Bellarmine outpowering even Saratoga or Iyer's MSJ (!). Though they lose their 3rd and 4th scorers, Bell has a moderately deep pool of players from which to draw.

I'm not claiming they will be a top team, especially as their HSNCT was relatively underwhelming relative to their breakout performance at states. Moreso that if Tarun goes on another study grind like the one he did from the three months post-January that increased his powers by 2 per game then we can see a strong showing from them. They'd need better lit coverage though, as they are mostly good at hist and sci (afaik). I only point this out since I think them to possibly be a stronger team than Harker, who was also mentioned.

As for Saratoga, [post erased courtesy of Saratoga QB team].
Josh Rollin
Pi-Oneers/sOHS

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biofanat
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Re: Preseason Discussion

Post by biofanat » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:34 pm

I would definitely like to agree with the strength of Stanford Online A, as they retain their entire roster from last year. They did have a somewhat disappointing finish last year but with such a young roster they can probably do quite well for years to come.
Last edited by biofanat on Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Bo Chi
Smith Middle School 2017-2019
East Chapel Hill High 2019-2023

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Re: Preseason Discussion

Post by karsten7814 » Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:08 pm

biofanat wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:34 pm
Another team which I do not think has been mentioned yet is Stanford Online A, as they retain their entire roster from last year. They did have a somewhat disappointing finish last year but with such a young roster they can probably do quite well for years to come.
Karan Gurzada, a rising junior, leads this young OHS team, who came t-49th at last year’s HSNCT. Karan is one of the scariest players in the country, with his deep coverage of science, history, and music. Apparently, he’s learning literature and fine arts too! Shiva Oswal, noted history specialist, JV History Bee Champion, and solo MSNCT champion, is a very talented player in his own right, but can be very swingy at times. This duo is accompanied by Josh Rollin, a formidable history and geo specialist in his own right. If this team can improve on its weak spots (lit, in particular) and team chemistry, we can see them being a spoiler team and making a T-8 or T-12 run at HSNCT
Karsten Rynearson
Phillips Academy '22
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Re: Preseason Discussion

Post by Pascal Plays Poker » Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:01 pm

Would like to shamelessly plug my own team, Beavercreek. Although it may not appear on stats, this squad of juniors has some very deep knowledge, and while they may not be a Top 25 yet, I would expect Abby, Tegan, and Tiffany to be improving quite rapidly over the course of the season. Joining them will likely be a science player or a history/geo/ce specialist.
Hari Parameswaran
Beavercreek High School '19
Georgia Tech '2?

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Re: Preseason Discussion

Post by eygotem » Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:06 pm

Welp, time to hop on the shill train...

Despite losing our talented trio of seniors, Ladue will certainly remain quite strong this season. We retain our very skilled history player Louis Li, as well as strong science specialist Eric Yin (myself). As if this dynamic duo of juniors weren't enough, we also have a very underrated RMPSS player in senior Michael Wayne. As long as we manage to cover our holes in Fine Arts and Lit, I can definitely see us becoming a top 20 team by the time PACE rolls around.
Eric Yin
Ladue Horton Watkins '21

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Re: Preseason Discussion

Post by biofanat » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:49 pm

TheScientists wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:45 am
James Clemens
With the graduation of Sharath Narayan, the James Clemens quizbowl team has fallen off the radar, however I think this year's team could make an insane run. The entire Liberty MS squad that went 4th at the 2019 MSNCT all join James Clemens this year. Expect Ethan Xu (History), Yuti Das (Literature), Austen Wyche (FA, USH), and Joshua Wang (Science) to all seamlessly scale up and be a seriously balanced roster. They are definitely Top-25 caliber.
Having personally played the Liberty team from last year's MSNCT, they were absolutely amazing and they definitely gave us a run for our money. However, as many people have already brought up, HS difficulty is very unlike MS difficulty and scaling between the two is definitely no easy task - but who knows, its too early to say.

As for my own team, I think that East has the potential to do quite well next year. We do lose some of our literature coverage but we still retain solid history player Ewan, decent science player Bo Chi(me), and Benjamin McAvoy Bickford, who can cover numerous topics with great skill - he was the highest individual scorer from NC last year at HSNCT as a freshman. Maybe we aren't exactly championship contenders but I think a top 40 finish is feasible.
Bo Chi
Smith Middle School 2017-2019
East Chapel Hill High 2019-2023

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Re: Preseason Discussion

Post by bkmcavoybickford » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:55 pm

This is incredibly overly optimistic. I don't really cover many categories well at the high school level; just geography and a few bits of other categories. Also, Ewan does a good deal of literature and trash in addition to history. We also just barely got T-49 at HSNCT, and we lose a lot of seniors. While the incoming 9th graders are good, I think being top-40 is a nice goal, but not anything that anybody besides us should bother thinking about.
Benjamin McAvoy-Bickford. Smith 15-18. East Chapel Hill 18-?

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