New England Discussion '19-'20

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meekerdouglas
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New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by meekerdouglas »

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
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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by shefna21 »

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]

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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by troyharris »

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.

Follow-up: If you look at the PHAT standings, http://www.scholarsbowl.org/19PHAT_standings.html, all those teams on the Vermont circuit showed up with very strong performances. That circuit is very, very good this year.
Last edited by troyharris on Wed Dec 11, 2019 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by vcpavao »

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
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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by meekerdouglas »

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
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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by 5 Fingaz to the Male Gaze »

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
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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by troyharris »

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
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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by herm »

[please excuse me if this is out of place, but i figured "new england discussion" would fit well enough]

hello everyone! i'm emma, and i'm one of the co-captains of choate rosemary hall's brand-new and ultra-shiny quiz bowl team! this isn't so much of a post about the //rankings// and the //competition// of the new england quiz bowl circuit as much as it's a "hello world" from us to you. my co-captain and i started this club over the summer and really brought it to life this fall. unfortunately, due to the bureaucracy of our school, we're still not a club yet, but we're getting there. we did get to compete at harvard last month, which was our first-ever tournament and honestly the most fun i've had in a while. we sent three teams, and two of our teams placed 5th and 6th overall, which qualified us for pace nsc! if you were at harvard, you may remember us from our rather interesting team names [axolotl, pterodactyl, and ostrich] that we use instead of a, b, and c. we are planning on switching animals up in the future.

because we're not quite a club yet and we're not very established, our school is rather hesitant to send us to most tournaments, so we're looking at competing a maximum of three times this winter, i'm guessing, one of them being a novice tournament [we think] to let people try out quiz bowl [i'd guess most of our school still doesn't know we exist]. that being said, we are extremely excited that we do exist now, and we hope to become a bigger part of the quiz bowl universe as time goes on. we'll likely split our time somewhat between new york / new jersey tournaments and new england tournaments as there are very few in connecticut [when those happen we will go, of course] and we won't be hosting a tournament this year [though next year is a possibility].

if anyone is going to / has been to pace nsc, please let me know your thoughts through some form of communication! it'd be really valuable to the club. additionally, if anyone has favorite tournaments they enjoy going to [i'd say our maximum drive would be 2.5-3 hours away and that's a stretch, we'd like to keep it under 2.5 as much as possible] i'd love to hear about that as well. i'm looking forward to interacting with some of you both on these forums and at tournaments--thank you for making this activity exist, too.

also general quiz bowl note acton-boxborough / basil is insane, they handed us a fat l at harvard but it was honestly a really cool learning experience!

i wish all of you the best of luck in your respective quiz bowl seasons :)
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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by shefna21 »

Hi Emma!
I just wanna say that I'm super impressed with how your team is doing. Getting two schools in the top 6 at HFT is something not many schools can do. I had no idea you guys were a new team - I just assumed you were some long established out-of-state program I'd never heard of! I thought you guys were really fun to play against, and I loved the creative naming! I don't have a ton of experience in the quizbowl world, but I do know that the last time I saw a team play like you did at their first tournament, they went on to become one of the best teams in our circuit the next year (Barrington). I look forward to seeing you guys around our circuit sometimes, hopefully!

I know firsthand that school administrations can be difficult to deal with. I hope you guys can work stuff out with them so that you can get to tournaments, and if you need leverage you can always flex your HFT performance to get them to realize y'all are actually already a competitive team.

In terms of tournaments that are particularly worth going to, I would definitely recommend BHSAT at Yale. It's in Connecticut, so it may have been on your radar already, but it's nice and close, and it's generally a very well run tournament with good questions, so if it were me I'd totally have that be one of the 3. Unfortunately, it's on the same date as a middle school tournament this year (february 29 - I can think of no better way to spend the extra leap day than on quizbowl!), so Belmont might not be able to send a team this year, but it should be a great experience if you guys can make it out there!

I don't really have that much to say here - just consider this part of the world saying hello back!
Nathan Sheffield
[Belmont High School, MA]

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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War »

Note of caution: The BHSAT date has not yet been set. It may be 2/29, but it also may be one of the two preceding weeks.
Daniel, Hunter College High School '19, Yale '23
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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War »

I am not in charge of it, but just as a point of information, the tournament announcement for BHSAT will be posted on forums once the date is finalized, as will similar announcements for other tournaments in the region.
Daniel, Hunter College High School '19, Yale '23
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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by troyharris »

Emma,
Congrats on such a strong showing at HFT. That is very impressive to finish so high at an event like that for a team that is just getting going. As someone who comes from a program here at Plymouth that really started from the ground up back in 2015, my advice would be first to make sure you know who the powers that be are that make decisions on programs, and use that finish at HFT as a bit of an ace in the hole to promote your team. Get out and play as much as they will let you, and promote what you are doing within the community. Our experience has been that when the community sees academic teams having success, they will get behind them, and it makes it more likely that the school will adopt the program as well. Qualifying and going to any nationals is a huge step in the right direction to get that support rolling.
As for PACE, we went two years ago with an all-sophomore/freshman team. We opened with Ithaca and got a great set for our strength and Rhys put up 150 points in the match, the whole team had a great bonus run in that match, and we pulled off the shocker. Unfortunately, waiting for us as a reward was Canyon Crest, Miami Valley, and Henderson County in the next three matches. The question sets are at national championship level and every team there is really, really good. That being said, it was a great experience for our team and we were all really glad we went. It helped the team bond and also to see that we had a lot of work to do to get better. From a parent/coach perspective, I wanted them to see what truly elite teams played like, which they certainly did. If you can get a team together and get to PACE NSC, do it, and enjoy the time together as a team.
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Re: New England Discussion '19-'20

Post by High Dependency Unit »

Hi everyone,

Some of us who go to college or went to high school in the northeast are collaborating to edit a HS set for Fall 2020 that we hope will be written primary by high school players from the region. All experience levels are welcome, and more information is on the call for writers here: viewtopic.php?f=109&p=364428#p364428
Michael Borecki
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Darien (co-captain) '17,
Bowdoin College (club president) '21
NHBB Regional Coordinator
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Staffers Needed ABWIT January 4, 2020

Post by Coolseb »

The Acton-Boxborough Winter Invitational Tournament is looking for a few experienced staffers to help with reading or scoring. Free pizza and mega amounts of gratitude for any volunteers. Transportation to and from the Acton train station will be provided! Please email [email protected] if interested! Thanks!!
Susan Ervais-Bohmiller
Acton-Boxborough
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