DC Metro Area Discussion - 2019-2020

This forum is for discussion of high school quiz bowl in the Washington, D.C. metro area, including D.C., Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
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DC Metro Area Discussion - 2019-2020

Post by meebles127 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:01 am

Now that the date claim thread is open I figured I'd start the discussion thread.

I'll start it off with a question: Are there any teams in the VA/DC/MD area that you think are on the rise for the upcoming season?
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Re: DC Metro Area Discussion - 2019-2020

Post by Curious Homunculus » Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:58 pm

I assume this thread will have as much content as DC-area discussion threads from past years, but I’d love if this year were different. To that effort, I have written more about the DC circuit than this forums has seen for many years.

Blair A is going to be the clear best team in the area and probably in the top two in the country. They will be pretty much unbeatable on science, especially if Katherine and Chris play together (keep in mind that Chris beat Geoffrey to a science tossup at PACE and he would be the second-best science player on that team). Sophia is a really good generalist and with Shawn will fill any holes the team might have. She was also being shadowed hard by Anson on literature this year, but is a strong literature specialist in her own right. Matthew is a great history specialist and lead a team that managed to beat Miliburn at History Bowl. Basically Blair is going to be really good and you should be scared of them.

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that we (GDS) are going to be the second best team in the area next year. We are a really streaky team that can beat teams much better than us and lose to teams much worse than us—we had by far the most negs as a team at HSNCT even though we played many fewer games than the team with the second most negs and we were tied for the most negs at PACE. I’m the top scorer on our team and as close to a pure generalist as anyone—I’m a little better at history and a little worse at science, but so is the field as a whole. Arthur is our second scorer and a history/France/Rome specialist (he powered Madame Bovary at PACE off French geography knowledge) and scales in history as well as anybody. Alex is our third scorer and a literature and philosophy specialist who gets shadowed by me but will get insane first lines when it counts, such as the gulag tossup at PACE. Nathaniel is our fourth scorer who doesn’t really study for quizbowl but has the broadest general knowledge base of anybody on our team, especially in CE/trash where we are weak. As our results from nationals show, we are definitely worse at NAQT stuff than we are on mACF but I think we will be a strong team both regionally and nationally.

The other team I was considering ranking second was TJ A. For whatever reason I haven’t gotten to play TJ very often, but from what I know from stats and talking to them I expect them to be really strong. The one game I have played against this team last year, a short handed team took us to a tiebreaker and would have beat us except for a failed powervulch. This is a team that’s been playing together for the last three years and William Wang has had a big plan for what his team should cover, so I expect them to complement each other really well and have very few holes. William is their top scorer and quite a good history specialist, and I also remember Ryan getting a lot of good buzzes on literature when we played. Unfortunately I can’t remember what other people on that team play.

While I’m talking about TJ, I can’t fail to mention TJ B, who placed really close to the aforementioned TJ team at both nationals this year. I unfortunately don’t have that much to say about this team (or any future-lettered TJ team) besides being very impressed with their stats, although I hope to be able to say more in future discussions.

The next tier of teams is a tier of teams that I’m more unsure about because they lose key members. The first team I’ll talk about is Centennial. Anthony is a really strong player, one of the best history and geography players in the country. My one reservation with this team is that much of Anthony’s support graduated this year and I am not sure who exactly will replace them. However, as shown by the number of Centennial teams that come to most tournaments, they will have no shortage of people to step up on Centennial A.

Richard Montgomery is a very interesting case. For the second year in a row, they lose three members of their A team (two of their PACE team), but they don’t have Daniel Yang waiting in the wings for next year. Abhinav, Justin, and Derek will form the core of a very good history and geography team—look out for them at NHBB next year. If you were to ask me a couple months ago, I would say that, while they will be very good at History Bowl, they won’t have the non-history coverage to compete at quizbowl. After I’ve gotten to play them more, I’m changing my mind a little bit on that. Justin in particular has powered tossups in all categories against me and I think he has the ability to generalize really well with a little bit of effort. When you combine that with Abhinav’s amazing geo coverage and the entire team’s history knowledge, I could see this team surprising a lot of people at HSNCT next year.

I’ll cover Blair B and C together. Montgomery Blair B had good finishes at both HSNCT and PACE, but lose at least two members of their team—Ian to graduation and somebody to promotion to the A team. It’s unclear who it will be, as although Chris was the top scorer at both nationals, he will be shadowed more on A team than either Shawn or Matthew. Regardless of who this team is next year, it will still be strong. Blair has a very strong freshman class, with Leela and Albert being two very strong history specialists and Jason being a strong lit specialist who already filled holes for Blair B at PACE this year. Regardless of which of Blair’s deep bench plays on their B and C teams, both will be strong teams, with the B team in particular having the ability to possibly repeat the team’s success this year under the right circumstances.

Langley is a team that loses their top scorer, Dan Ni, but keeps their other firepower, most notably now-sophomore William Orr. William kind of came out of nowhere this year to be a very strong player that I expect to develop into a strong generalist in the next year. Additionally, Daniel Mousavi played really well at BHSAT when Dan wasn’t there as well as on Langley B at PACE, so I expect him to step up and cover Dan’s graduation so that Langley will be a good team yet again.

I already covered Justin Posner and his team, so I’ll move on to the other extremely talented generalists from the DC area named Justin. First, Justin Young’s McLean team remains mostly the same as it has been for the past couple of years. Young continues to be an insane history player while still retaining some ability to generalize. Their finishes at HSNCT have been variable, but Young is good enough to beat anybody on the right packet. Especially as a senior, I expect Young to compete for the regional and national titles in both individual and team history based competitions, but it remains to be seen how well his skill will transfer over to all-subject competitions.

Next, Justin Ward has been quietly been developing into one of the best Justins on the DC circuit. Ward is a strong history player with a very strong general knowledge base that makes him into a great generalist with good upset potential. Additionally, Anna Yang got a lot of powers at PACE, so I assume that teams will have a lot to fear on the fine arts questions from this team. I don’t know if they will be contending for tournament win at this year but with another year to develop this team will be extremely strong.

Winston Churchill is led by Manu Sundar, a good generalist with the ability to mop up questions in every category and a knowledge about radical left wing philosophers and Franz Kafka unmatched by any other sane mind. Additionally, Stevie Miller, their history specialist, has had great improvement over this year and if that improvement continues, which I expect to happen, Churchill could have a breakout year next year.

Norfolk Academic Guild is a good team that returns almost all of their scoring. Although a freshman, Ean Casey has been playing this game for a long time and has the generalist’s ability to get tossups when tossups need to be gotten. He has some support in the Abney siblings. I don’t know much about this team, but they beat us at PACE and really impressed me in that game.

Thomas Whooton is a team that graduates nobody. I don’t expect them to be routinely making top bracket, but Arnav has been playing this game for a while and can get tossups when he’s not off at a Model UN convention.

I really can’t comment on Maggie Walker since I haven’t seen them play but they don’t graduate anybody. I don’t think I’ve missed anybody else, but I’m always happy to write more words, so tell me if I have.
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Re: DC Metro Area Discussion - 2019-2020

Post by DavidB256 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:00 pm

Curious Homunculus wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:58 pm
Norfolk Academic Guild is a good team that returns almost all of their scoring. Although a freshman, Ean Casey has been playing this game for a long time and has the generalist’s ability to get tossups when tossups need to be gotten. He has some support in the Abney siblings. I don’t know much about this team, but they beat us at PACE and really impressed me in that game.

Thomas Whooton is a team that graduates nobody. I don’t expect them to be routinely making top bracket, but Arnav has been playing this game for a while and can get tossups when he’s not off at a Model UN convention.

I really can’t comment on Maggie Walker since I haven’t seen them play but they don’t graduate anybody. I don’t think I’ve missed anybody else, but I’m always happy to write more words, so tell me if I have.
NAG is a super strong team considering how young they are, especially on mACF questions. This is largely due to Ean Casey, who I have seen improve impressively, from great to even greater, over the course of just this year, as we played each other in 3 tournaments on this year's Southern VA circuit.

Maggie Walker is oddly strong on bonuses (they beat us on PPB at James Blair Bowl, VCU Season Finale, and PACE despite finishing below us), and they will likely be very strong next year with no one graduating. Sonya Stacia is a really impressive player (she once first-lined a question on a clue about The Lizzie McGuire Movie) and went from scoring less than half the PPG of Daniel Xue at JBB to being their top scorer at PACE this year.

To insert my own unimpressive team into the conversation, we had a good run for our first year doing Quiz Bowl, but are losing our top 2 scorers (myself and Isaac Criddle). We will likely be strong again in 2 years, when our wunderkind Sam Kiser becomes a stronger generalist.
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Re: DC Metro Area Discussion - 2019-2020

Post by Arabidopsis failiana » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:55 pm

Thank you to Matt Siff for a very good writeup.

I agree that Blair is going to be an excellent team, TJ has some work to do to meet the expectation created by the past two but will obviously be very good, and GDS will also be very good. In VHSL Class 6A, Langley and McLean will continue to be very good, although hopefully my teammates will do some studying. (?)

Ean Casey is indeed quite good--I played him at IPNCT and it was very close.

In general the teams that have been good will continue to be good.

What I would ask people who read this thread to think about is opportunities to grow the game. I don't know how it works in Maryland or DC, but almost every northern Virginia public school participates in VHSL scholastic bowl. There are scrimmages after school and there are the scheduled regional tournaments. There's a huge opportunity to expand by reaching out to these schools that already have some sort of established programs but don't really know about the broader quizbowl world. I suggest that if you are hosting a novice tournament that you at least try to contact local schools, and I would also suggest there be a "new to quizbowl" discount if that's possible. I really think it could be profitable to reach a bigger audience and worthwhile overall. As someone who didn't go to any regular quizbowl tournaments until around 15 months ago, I wish I had known about the opportunities that existed earlier. So for you established programs I just hope this is something you will consider.
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Re: DC Metro Area Discussion - 2019-2020

Post by Rocket21 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:28 am

Matt’s commentary of the teams for next year was spot-on! Although the region will be losing a lot of talent (Anson, Olivia, Daniel, Ian, Dan among others) I believe that this year’s field is extremely competitive as well. A few words from me:

1. GDS is going to be VERY, VERY good next season and I can see them going deep at PACE. Matt is a fantastic, prolly top 5 player in the country next season. Alex and Nathaniel are very good at their categories. Arthur, is super underrated imo, he scales up so well in history and has helped lead GDS to great successes at NHBB the past couple of years. Watch out for GDS!
2. Blair scary.
3. I think Langley will surprise people. Daniel was making a lot of rlly good buzzes when I’ve played/read for him and William Orr is rlly good at lit, but he’s branching out into other categories as well such as history. With some of their talent, they could give some top teams a scare.
4. TJ A next year is a very balanced team and all four of their players are very good at their respective subjects! I could see them vying with Blair and GDS as well.
5. Justin Ward is an underrated generalist and with continued growth, I could see BASIS McLean breaking some top brackets.
6. Finally a note about RM, we lose our lit and science coverage in Olivia and Daniel, but we are working really hard to try to cover those holes. We definitely will be the strongest in history (given triple coverage of Derek, Justin, and I), but probably will be the weakest at science (given that we have no obvious replacement for Daniel). The lack of science coverage will hurt us (especially against Blair and other good science teams), but I could see us competing against the likes of Blair, GdS, and TJ at NAQT tournaments (maybe a few regular distro ones?!) and making a good run at HSNCT!

Looking forward to the szn!
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Re: DC Metro Area Discussion - 2019-2020

Post by atooloftheboss » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:08 am

THE IMPERIAL MESSENGER HAS ARRIVED (in this version i don't strive absurdly I just get my poast approved)

Two strongest teams are da Siff and Blair A

1. Siff consistently popped up as a very high tier generalist at both HSNCT and PACE this year as a junior, has good depth and coverage, but will likely need more support from teammates/scaling up to become a top 10 team nationally. Excellent coverage on history and lit, science seems somewhat weaker but enough to get by. Alex and Arthur are confirmed cute and very good at the subjects they play (Alex Moon as a notable science specialist, Arthur as a native Latin speaker). Looking forward to fistfights between Siff and Sophia Weng in local finals

2. Blair A is fine I guess but Siff has a moral compass and I like him more

3. Shall I compare thee to RM A? Thou can neither be more lovely nor more temperate.
RM A does away with the weaker links of the team, losing Grant Yang, Daniel Yang, Olivia Chen and Kevin Lu. Now that the vestigial players have departed, this relatively young team will have to scale a science player and lit player up in record time. But how could one resist placing faith in the Posner? Justin Posner's commitment to Kierkegaard reading, Chinese novel consumption, and Ottoman food pricing promises to produce a player capable of insane history depth while managing solid RMPSS and literature knowledge. In combination with Abhinav and Derek, expect to lose 4 tus on history against these strapping young lads when facing them in competition. Let's see if they know how to turn off the harrow before the holes kill them

Arnav is good at history and Geography (among many other things) but may have to put some more quarters in the support machine before he starts eating top brackets.

There are some other teams but they're all just o.k.

Oh I have a rising sophomore named Stevie Miller and he is legitimately god tier. This kid went into PACE record books, you apostates. Gaze upon him, ye Mighty, and despair. Besides very solid ancient history depth, his willingness to scale up and develop as a player may push us into some local top brackets and wreck your confidence in your history ability. In addition to the mentioned he has random libertarian economics knowledge. We will probably be fine.

I didn't write anything about VA teams because virginia LUL.
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Re: DC Metro Area Discussion - 2019-2020

Post by apatra » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:29 pm

Thanks to Matt and Manu for their great analysis-- I would personally agree our team has a lot of work to do with this past year being our first year in pyramidal competition(not counting NHBB), and we are still struggling to cover the distro beyond my specialties.

Some of my thoughts on other DC Area teams(mostly MD bc im not as familiar with VA)--

Blair and GDS are definitely the top teams with RM also up there having lost some great talent this past year and needing to fill it.


I have great confidence that RM will bounce back from this loss as Abhinav has shown a lot of promise and drive in filling in literature areas, and in Justin Posner, they have a player that can very easily surprise across the board. Further, for history bowl and such competitions, I could easily see the team of Abhinav, Justin and Derek making a very deep run as others have noted. They have strong coverage and experience in the history canon.

Regarding BASIS McLean, I have played them at many tournaments and have had some close games with them, and Justin Ward is most definitely a force to reckon with and Anna has shown strong growth over the past year.

To echo Manu's praise for Stevie, Churchill led by the two of them is a bit of a strong underdog. The two of them did an impressive job together at PACE and Manu has shown good generalist knowledge across art, some science and some strong philo and lit areas in games with me.

Overall interested and excited to see what this year of our region's quiz bowl will bring!
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Re: DC Metro Area Discussion - 2019-2020

Post by Hypersmart » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:47 pm

The best team in the entire DC metro area will obviously be John Champe. This should be considered consensus in my unbiased opinion.

In all honesty, there are some pretty good 5A teams - Tuscarora and Broadrun. I haven't played them in two years, but it seems like Woodgrove (4A) is getting really good. When I played them they were well balanced, so I know that they have a good program. If I had to mark a team that would make a leap it would be them, but I don't know how many seniors they retain or good players. Lack of better statistics in VHSL mean that I can't speculate further than this. I also know Patrick at Freedom is getting better and their program seems to be developing as well. However, the best regional team will continue to be TJ, much to the disappointment to the rest of class 5.

Outside of class 5, Maggie Walker and Sofia Stacia are getting better. My NASAT teammates, Justin Ward and Anna Wang are a lot better than many know. From stats, they also have a rising sophmore who is good.

This is my two cents about class 5 and the other VA teams I've played against. My only desire is that some teams in my region get exposed to the larger quizbowl community, which I believe would foster growth locally.
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Re: DC Metro Area Discussion - 2019-2020

Post by goose25 » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:36 pm

It's pretty clear that GDS and Blair are favorites this season, so I thought I'd offer my takes on the rising sophomore class, who haven't gotten as much attention so far.

The best individual sophomore will almost undoubtedly be Ean Casey. His PACE stats were insane, showing an ability to scale up across the distro that sets him apart from the competition. He also did very well at IPNCT, scoring in the top 16 in both Fine Arts and Science. His support was very good at Centennial and HSNCT, but weaker at PACE, where they lost to Blair C.

Though none of Blair's sophomores are quite as individually talented as Ean, they will be by far the best team of sophomores in the region in the coming season. Albert and Leela are both excellent history players and the team can lock down humanities easily with Jason and Martin. They have good balance and have beaten Norfolk twice this year because of it. Though they might not all play together next year, Jason having played with the B team at PACE, they were the best group of freshmen this year and will continue that way next year no matter what the team composition is.

People have talked about how good BASIS will be next season, but aside from Justin I think their most valuable player next year will be Sam Kaufman. Having a strong science specialist will be very important for the team, and Sam was a top 20 science player at IPNCT and top 5 at CAST. I feel he flew under the radar a bit this year, but particularly because of his humanities-focused team I expect him to be one of the best sophomores next season.

William Orr is another extremely talented specialist who is incredible at literature but can cover other categories at lower difficulties, as demonstrated by his 119 PPG on SCOP. If he can gain the same depth he shows on lit in other subjects, he'll be a very scary generalist next year and will continue Langley's success.

Stevie Miller had two thirds of his team's powers at PACE and has done very well all season despite being heavily shadowed most of the time. He will definitely shine at NHBB next year, and with Manu will be very scary during the regular season.

Sam Asimos only played one quizbowl tournament this year, but he did very well there and also had some solid performances at NHBB. If he plays more next year he could be a good asset for McLean.

I'm pretty good on history and lit, and can occasionally show some skill in vfa, but negging is a problem and I have some holes in my knowledge that can sneak up on me during games. Like Blair, our team construction changes a lot, but my teammates Junzhi and Alex always help fill in gaps on science, myth, and fine arts. Overall, we're inconsistent and will probably remain at the bottom of top brackets where we spent the past season.

I think that's most of the best freshmen from the past year, but I'm excited to see which JV players will step up in the coming season.
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