New England Discussion '19-'20

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meekerdouglas
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New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by meekerdouglas » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:18 pm

Nobody has made one of these yet, and I've been wondering what people are thinking about the New England circuit this year. Leave your comments here.
Douglas Meeker
Barrington (RI) Team Captain '19-'20

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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by shefna21 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:22 pm

Thanks for making this, Douglas! I can't really speak for anything outside our regular circuit, which means essentially just MA and NH, and I haven't been involved with this game for super long so I'm not really sure I'm qualified to make any claims about what a strong circuit looks like. That said, I'm gonna put my opinion out here just for the sake of starting off the discussion.

I think our circuit as a whole is looking very strong this year! The top teams right now are insanely good, and we're also getting a fair number of new teams coming to tournaments, which will hopefully lead to a larger and more competitive circuit going forwards.

Here's my list of the top teams in the circuit (again, this is limited to the teams I've been playing against semi-regularly - I can't really speak to what's going on in New York or Connecticut because we don't often play those teams):

Phillips Academy:
6th on the Groger Ranks (looking at the ones from Nov. 27)
I think it would be difficult for anyone to dispute that Phillips Academy is far and beyond the best team in our circuit. What with two of the best individual players in New England, Vincent Fan and Karsten Rynearson, joining forces, it was clear that this team was going to be a force to be reckoned with, and they have certainly lived up to that record. They have yet to lose a single game against a high school team this season, and succeeded in going 8/4 at the MIT mirror of EFT, with Karsten ending up second highest individual scorer in a college tournament. Karsten is a great generalist with strong literature coverage in particular, Vincent has wide humanities coverage (although this is less obvious now that he's on a team with Karsten, having some double coverage can be very useful) as well as impressive deep science knowledge, and Max and Irura put up solid support. Phillips has a very real shot at the HSNCT title this year.

Acton Boxborough:
87th on the Groger Ranks
Acton Boxborough has become a real powerhouse lately, mostly due to the efforts of Basil Sousounis, an incredibly talented generalist who's rapid improvement, especially if it continues, will make AB extremely competitive on a national level. He seems to have a good grasp on the entire distribution, but especially literature and history (he was top individual scorer in both categories at HFT!). Right now Basil is pulling the majority of the weight for the team, but there is a lot of potential there in his supporting players, so assuming the elbow grease gets put in I think AB could remain a strong team for years to come.

Lexington:
27th on the Groger Ranks
Lexington is very strong this year, as usual. Although they graduated both Nick Rommel and David Arena from the team last year, Charles Yang, Arushi Kalpande, Derek Ying and Leanna Bai have proved to be a quite effective team so far. Charles Yang has been functioning as the team's lead scorer, and has been putting up some consistently impressive stats, but I think one of the most impressive things about Lexington is the level of team synergy that they have. They play very well together, and are very dedicated players, so I'm sure that they will continue to play well and to improve as a team. They put up some really impressive results on EFT in particular (going 7/5 in the MIT mirror), and if they're performing at this level right now, I have no doubt that by the time nats come around they will be an absolute unstoppable machine.

Belmont:
64th on the Groger Ranks
To be honest, I'm as surprised as anyone that we're actually pretty decent this year. We graduated our lead scorers Cam Anderson and Eliana Roberts last year, and Seiyoung Jang and I have been struggling to fill those shoes, but I think the grind has started to pay off. Additionally, we have a strong group of younger players to draw on, most notably Kiril Kuppenbender, Cindy Gao, Pablo Hu, Everett Sinsay, Ella Sheffield and Sam Macchi. I have high hopes for our team going forwards. We're definitely still in rebuilding mode right now, but in the future we hope to become a legitimately competitive team.

Plymouth:
90th on the Groger Ranks
I don't know much about New Hampshire teams, as we don't play them all that much, but I've played against Plymouth enough to know that they've got what it takes to make some waves. Rhys Harris is and has been a behemoth of a player, getting solid buzzes across the distribution, and I'm sure he's going to go out with a bang now that it's his senior year. Their play this year has been characterized by a strong ppb and high power count, so I think they'll be a highly formidable opponent going forward.

Boston Latin (?):
Not rated on the Groger Ranks
To be honest, I'm not completely sure what's going on with BLS - maybe someone with more information can provide some insight. They played one tournament this year, and the Christy Jestin-Joe Terry duo proved to be a very effective team, at least on the A-set we were playing. However I'm not really sure how to rate them because they have not been coming to any subsequent tournaments to my knowledge. Assuming they continue coming to tournaments, I think they will be a very hard team to beat.

AMSA:
Not rated on the Groger Ranks
AMSA's still a pretty young team right now, but I think they have the potential to get really good. They have a wide range of talented players right now, and their coach, Ms. Bowen, is extremely capable, so I'm sure that given a little time AMSA will be one of the best teams in the state again.

Barrington:
Not rated on the Groger Ranks
While the loss of lead scorer Daniel Sheinberg was a major blow to Barrington going into this year, Douglas Meeker has been picking up the slack, and the team seems to be pulling together pretty well. Seeing how well they were able to work together last year, and how quickly they became a top tier team, I predict that Barrington will get better fast. I expect great things!

Anyway, those are my rankings. If you disagree with that ordering, or you think there are teams that should have been on that list but weren't, please say so! I'm interested to see this discussion, and hopefully this gives a place to start. Hope everyone has a great season!
Nathan Sheffield
[Belmont High School, MA]

If this was real life I'd offer you a peppermint.

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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by troyharris » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:57 pm

Thanks, Nathan, for doing this. I think you are right on with where the circuit sits right now. To build on this, there are some other teams out there that are very good but just don't play a lot outside of their own circuit and so they don't get the exposure that some of these other teams get. I also will include Wilton, well, because they bridge both the Mid-Atlantic and New England Circuits.

Wilton (CT) (Groger Rank: 99) Alexander and Lukas Koutsoukos have been a formidable pair for years, but this year they have shown exceptional growth in coverage. They have always been monsters in humanities, specifically history, but this year their coverage of the canon is clearly evident, and they are always a threat to win an event. The only thing that may limit them as a two-player team is bonus sets that might be easier covered with a four-player team. Nevertheless, this is a very strong team that plays more events than most teams in the region and will continue to improve as the season moves on.

South Burlington (VT): This team went 9-2 at Harvard and was part of very strong group of 4 (S. Burlington, CVU, Essex, Burlington) out of the Vermont circuit that really came on at the end of the year last year. Ragulan Sivakumar and Matthew Vigneau form a very formidable pair and they are very capable of beating top-tier teams if they are on their game. They will be a real threat to win PHAT outright this Friday, as will the other three teams (Essex, CVU, Burlington).

Essex (VT) Essex went 10-0 in prelims at GHQST this year, including wins against both Plymouth and S. Burlington. They lost a lot of talent from their great team of two years ago, but they continued to improve last year and were a very strong team at the end of last season. They are a well-coached team, and Henry Wu is a very impressive player for this team.

Burlington (VT), CVU (VT)-Both teams try to rebuild from the loss of a strong senior class from last year. Burlington brings back Isidora Bailly-Hall who has proven to be a very good player, and I don't know much about CVU this year other than that they have already shown impressive stats in their early matches on the Vermont circuit. Both teams are well-coached. play on a competitive circuit in Vermont, and always improve over the course of the season, and I would expect that to be the case this year as well.

Hanover (NH): This year's version of Hanover features Daniel Bender, Luke Szczepiorkowski and James Eiler as their top players. Daniel is an outstanding history player and has some canon coverage outside of that as well, where Luke helped lead Richmond MS to a 12th place finish at MS Nationals last year. This team could be very good, but they haven't ventured out much over the past year since Gabe left, and I'm not sure how much travel they expect to do. Hopefully we see them at multiple events this year, as NH needs more representation on the circuit.

BC High: Again, this is a team that I don't know much about because they haven't played in a lot of events, but based on Harvard, this team could be a threat it it came out to play on the circuit. Roy Zhou posted a fantastic individual score at HFT XIV this November.
Troy Harris
Plymouth, NH

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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by vcpavao » Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:36 pm

Thanks for starting this discussion, Douglas.

I also think the New England circuit is more competitive this year. There are several teams with clear potential to finish near the top at HSNCT and PACE NSC. I’m not sure if teams just plan on attending HSNCT like last year (Lexington was the only New England team that went to NSC last year), but it seems like the top teams from our circuit have had a difficult time finishing near the top at HSNCT. Last year, no team from New England was able to get past an 8-5 record. I don’t want to argue HSNCT v NSC, but NSC is also worth attending and guarantees more games for each team, and most New England teams never attend it.

Another idea I have is that MA (and possibly other New England states) could send a team to NASAT in June. Massachusetts has not sent a team since 2014, and if I recall correctly there has never been another New England team to attend. Though travel distance, costs, and summer plans are obstacles, there are several very motivated players in the region this year. If there is enough interest, we could host a NASAT tryout in the springtime.

In addition, I’ve been thinking of ways to try to improve the circuit. I’ve created a simple quiz bowl calendar (https://vcpavao.github.io/nequizbowl/) (yes, it’s very basic and currently out of date) to allow newer teams to get the important information about upcoming events without having to navigate the disorganized forums. If people find this useful, I could purchase a domain people would remember and expand it to include information for new teams.

Regarding Boston Latin, I talked to them at NHBB's Boston Area Fall tournament, and they said they were still deciding whether to be a competitive team this year. They appear very strong in history.

Victor Pavao
Acton-Boxborough '14, Villanova '18
Somerville, MA

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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by meekerdouglas » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:18 pm

Great responses, guys!

Nathan pretty much summed up my thoughts about the MA (+us) circuit, though I do have a couple of additional comments.

There's not really any competition when it comes to Phillips Academy, but in my opinion it gets pretty tight after that. Lexington and Belmont have great team dynamics; Charles has significant support from Arushi, Leanna, and Derek, while Nathan and Seiyoung together cover a good portion of the subject distribution. Acton-Boxborough and Plymouth are competitive more so because of their star players: Basil and Rhys, respectively. This isn't to discredit their teammates, though, who are seemingly improving at a steady rate. I haven't played against Boston Latin yet this year, and as Victor mentioned, they may not even be playing competitively this year, but after that comes my team and AMSA (again, still mainly talking about MA). I'm not entirely sure who's on AMSA's A team, as they seem to have a variety of different people with relatively similar skill levels, but they're certainly not a bad team regardless of who's in attendance.

As for my team, we actually did go 11-4 at HSNCT last year, but that's because we had sheer luck and Daniel. My team members graduated and I had to find new people kind of quickly. I'm trying to generalize, but my strengths mainly lie in housewrites where my new team members prefer NAQT stuff. We can't go to PACE because of graduation, so we are hoping to qualify for HSNCT, so we'll see if we can improve enough by February.

The website seems very helpful, Victor! I agree with the NASAT idea too-- Massachusetts certainly has enough notable individual players to make a good team. Wish RI could send one as well... :(
Douglas Meeker
Barrington (RI) Team Captain '19-'20

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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by Thiccasso's Guernthicca » Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:25 pm

I have a couple takes:
- Acton-Boxborough should definitely be regarded as a threat to even nationally-contending teams -- last year, Basil received 5th place at IPNCT and narrowly beat Auburn in HSNCT prelims, and he will have had a whole year to improve on these results by the time nationals season rolls around.
- Plymouth's PPBs this season have also appeared to be a marked improvement from those of past seasons, which makes me wonder if they can now scale to higher difficulties much more confidently than before.
- Lexington's PPBs have been consistently impressive so far, but I wonder if they've been playing less well on tossups -- their power and get counts are lower than what one might expect from their PPBs. Perhaps this could be ameliorated with increased support across the team.
- Belmont faces the converse of Lexington's dilemma -- their power counts are always very impressive, but their PPBs are comparatively quite lacking. I would be inclined to attribute this to the fact that, while Nathan and Seiyoung cover most of the distribution between them, they're struggling to cover all of it adequately, which could lead to a fair amount of torpedoed bonus cycles.
Wonyoung Jang
Belmont '18 // UChicago '22
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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by troyharris » Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:16 pm

Wonyoung,
It helps that we got nine people out to camp this summer. We also were able to add some players that covered the gaps that needed to be closed (specifically trash and filling some science holes). That has made a marked difference in the bonus points average so far this year. That being said, there are a lot of really strong teams in New England this year as witnessed by some of the upsets or near upsets that have already happened.
Troy Harris
Plymouth, NH

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