Southern California 2019-20 Discussion

The comparisons and discussion forum for North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii and California.
Post Reply
TheScientists
Lulu
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:51 pm

Southern California 2019-20 Discussion

Post by TheScientists » Fri May 24, 2019 7:33 pm

The 2018-19 season is coming to an end soon, and to (hopefully) increase hype for the SoCal circuit, here's the thread for the 2019-20 SoCal season season for things that don't pertain to scheduling.
Ameya S.
Laurel Springs School '23
Co-founder of NHBB Ranks

joshxu
Lulu
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:25 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA

Re: Southern California 2019-20 Discussion

Post by joshxu » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:17 pm

There are only about five people from SoCal who check these forums with any sort of regularity, so, like last year, this thread is probably going to remain idle for most of the season. Anyway, for those five or so people (or anyone not from SoCal who cares), here are some of my thoughts on the upcoming season:

General thoughts: For each of the past few seasons, most tournaments have been a race for second as one team (Arcadia in 2019) would often make the result a foregone conclusion. In 2019–2020 I don't think any team will be in that position, although that was said before last season too and Arcadia still ended up dominating, so I wouldn't be surprised if another "superteam" emerges.

With that being said, here is my preseason analysis of SoCal teams, grouped into tiers. Instead of merely analyzing only the best teams in the region, I tried to address as many schools as possible—almost every school that attended a varsity tournament in 2018–2019 is mentioned. I did this because of the unpredictable nature of preseason predictions, as every year some teams that nobody expects to do well end up doing very, very well, and conversely, some teams that are expected to dominate, well, don't end up dominating.

Tier 1: Potential national contenders: Canyon Crest A, Westview A
In 2019, CCA and Westview finished T-19th and T-31st at HSNCT, respectively, and neither team has any members graduating. The present roster of CCA has been very good for a long time, as 3/4 of their team was part of the 2018 CCA B team that finished T-20th at HSNCT. I could easily see CCA becoming a national contender this year.

Westview is a more interesting team. Last year they showed an ability to win tournaments despite using massively shorthanded rosters—winning both ACE XII and SoCal States using only two A team regulars. The full roster of Westview A didn't play together much at all last year, and I believe with their full team they could definitely emerge as that dominant team I mentioned a few paragraphs ago. However, the largest obstacle that Westview faces is negging. If they can clean this up, I can also see Westview becoming a national contender.

Tier 2: Del Norte A
I created this tier solely for Del Norte, who I feel will be much stronger than the teams in lower tiers while still being a significant step behind CCA and Westview. Like both CCA and Westview, the entire Del Norte A team at HSNCT last year (T-75th) was composed of non-seniors. Just from looking at stats, it's obvious that Del Norte has a unique playing style: while many teams in SoCal have high power percentages and high neg rates, Del Norte rarely negs and posts relatively modest power rates. This can either be to their extreme advantage or disadvantage when matching up against top-tier teams. If their opponent drops a load of negs, they can pounce on the opportunity and pull off an upset. But at the same time, their hesitation to buzz early might cost them important points that might swing the outcome of the game. This is the main reason why I'm not yet willing to put Del Norte in the highest tier. However, I could be way wrong here, as there are certainly teams that have had tremendous success in spite of low power counts.

Tier 3: Westview B, Arcadia A, Santa Monica A
Like their A team, Westview's HSNCT B team was composed entirely of non-seniors. Since Westview really jumbled their rosters at tournaments last year, I don't know much about their B team (or who will even play on it), so I don't have much to say outside of noting that they had a strong showing at HSNCT (despite using what appears to have been a shorthanded roster) and have the potential to become a great team.

While the entire roster of the Arcadia A team that finished T-8th at HSNCT last year has graduated, Arcadia B also had a solid performance, going 5-5. I didn't play most of their team often last year so I also don't have much to say. While I doubt this year's Arcadia will be able to match their performances in 2018 and 2019, I still expect them to do well when nationals roll around.

As for Santa Monica, ... I really don't know how to feel. To be honest, I have absolutely no idea which tier we should be grouped in. This is because the A team roster we plan on using will contain players who have never been to a pyramidal quiz bowl tournament, and I have no idea what to expect from them. While I was by far the lead scorer on our 2019 team that finished T-49th at HSNCT, I, being merely a strong history/geography/current events specialist who's [presently] weak in most other categories (I'm working on it!), am in all likelihood not going to be able to carry us that far this year by myself. While I could easily see us making the highest bracket at every tournament we attend (and matching if not surpassing our HSNCT finish from last year), I can just as easily see us regularly struggling to even place in the top half.

Potential "breakout" teams: Westview C, Arcadia B, North Hollywood A, Francis Parker A, St. Margaret's Episcopal A
This tier is for teams that didn't qualify for nationals last year but who I think have the potential to be competitive this season. Although Arcadia B and NoHo both qualified for HSNCT last year (NoHo didn't go), they are both eligible for this tier because their rosters this season will look considerably different. As a warning, I know almost nothing about any of these five teams, having never played most of them. The reason why I placed these teams in this tier was that each of them won at least one JV tournament last year. Although A sets/SCOP Novice are definitely not the best indicator for future success, I could see any of these teams being like 2018's Del Norte, who went from doing incredibly well at JV tournaments to winning a varsity tournament the following season.

Teams that have quite a bit of rebounding to do: Canyon Crest B, Scripps Ranch A
Both CCA B and Scripps A were carried by one strong player last year (Alan and Jack, respectively) who has graduated, leaving behind a huge vacuum. To be honest, I don't think either team is going to significantly recover, but I hope I'm wrong!

Other teams that interest me but don't fall into any other tier (Misc.): Olympian, Rancho Bernardo, Whitney, La Jolla, Troy, Laurel Springs
Despite graduating 10/12 of their 2018 HSNCT teams, Olympian managed to rebound amazingly in 2018–2019, placing no lower than 4th at every tournament they attended. However, they didn't go to HSNCT and most of their A team has graduated again, so I'm not sure what to expect this year.

Last year Rancho Bernardo was a team that really interested me, having played them many times with some very strange (that's probably an understatement) results that you won't see from the final score. I'll say that they were consistently mediocre last year, finishing close to the middle at every tournament they attended. Like with Olympian, I'm not really sure what to expect from Rancho Bernardo this year since much of their A team has graduated. However, I could see them becoming a "breakout team".

Whitney just recently began playing quiz bowl, but they've had strong showings at the few tournaments they've attended. However, most of that production came from seniors who have graduated.

La Jolla is in a similar position as Whitney (albeit not being new to quiz bowl), having seen its lead scorer (Sam) graduate. I'm interested in seeing if and how these two teams will rebound.

For the last two seasons Troy has attended HSNCT via qualifying at JROTC tournaments. In 2018–2019, however, they attended a few regular SoCal tournaments as well and had respectable results (in addition to going 4-6 at HSNCT), although much of that was led by Andy Su, a senior who has graduated. Having played them a couple times, I feel that if Troy starts attending more tournaments they definitely have the potential to become a competitive team.

I'm only interested in Laurel Springs because Ameya seems to be very enthusiastic about starting quiz bowl. On a more serious note, I wish you and all other new teams and players well in the upcoming season!

That's about it for now! In order to [possibly] prevent this thread from being completely idle throughout the season, I plan on revisiting it periodically. I'll close by predicting that some of my predictions will be fully accurate and that at least two will be completely wrong.
Josh Xu

Santa Monica High School (Class of 2021)
Quiz Bowl Captain
Self-proclaimed "Club President"

vrohan
Lulu
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:11 pm

Re: Southern California 2019-20 Discussion

Post by vrohan » Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:50 am

joshxu wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:17 pm
Like their A team, Westview's HSNCT B team was composed entirely of non-seniors. Since Westview really jumbled their rosters at tournaments last year, I don't know much about their B team (or who will even play on it), so I don't have much to say outside of noting that they had a strong showing at HSNCT (despite using what appears to have been a shorthanded roster) and have the potential to become a great team.
For what it's worth, even Westview doesn't know who will be on which team next year, and it is very possible that our A teams for NAQT and mACF are very different. With that being said, we will be trying out different combinations at tournaments this year to try to optimize them.

joshxu wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:17 pm
Despite graduating 10/12 of their 2018 HSNCT teams, Olympian managed to rebound amazingly in 2018–2019, placing no lower than 4th at every tournament they attended. However, they didn't go to HSNCT and most of their A team has graduated again, so I'm not sure what to expect this year.
I heard Olympian's coach isn't doing Quizbowl this year, so that might have an effect on their placements. However, I might also be wrong, so I'm not completely sure.

Also yes Del Norte A is very good at capitalizing on other teams' mistakes and they are very solid on bonuses. The fact that they rarely neg makes them a sleeper to win any game despite their relatively low power numbers, which will likely also increase in the coming season.

About St. Margaret's Episcopal, Nate Kang is rapidly improving and he will also apparently have teammates next year, so I'm interested to see how that will turn out for them.
Rohan Venkateswaran
Black Mountain Middle '16
Westview High '20

Co-Coach, Meadowbrook Middle 2017-

joshxu
Lulu
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:25 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA

Re: Southern California 2019-20 Discussion

Post by joshxu » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:11 am

The NHBB circuit in Southern California has definitely been struggling the past few years, much of which stems from the fact that nobody wants to host any tournaments. Despite having an extremely limited sample size, Ameya Singh from Laurel Springs has written this solid writeup of the circuit, which I am posting on his behalf since he is experiencing account issues.
Ameya Singh wrote: Before I begin this, I want to give a huge thanks to Josh for helping post this as I am locked out of my account. Thanks a mil bud!

The Southern California NHBB circuit is notably small compared to other regions, however there is a pretty eclectic combination of teams in this circuit from regional-level teams to Championship-caliber teams. This list will be divided into Varsity and JV sections.

Varsity teams:
Tier 1: National Title Contenders
Canyon Crest: The Canyon Crest Varsity NHBB team has consistently been an amazing team at Nationals, anchored by a superstar History/Geography player in Wesley Zhang. With solid supporting players in Shreyank Kaddadi, Andrew Tian, and Raymond Song, expect the Varsity team to be in the Top-20 at Nats.

Arcadia: Arcadia came off an incredible run to 3rd place at Nats led by a god-tier player in Andrew Hoagland who has since graduated. This definitely leaves a very large gap to fill for the team. While I doubt Arcadia will replicate their Final Four run, they should still be a Nationals-level team led by experienced and skilled players such as Stephen Dai, Spencer Cheng, Ajay Manneth, and more.

Tier 2: Teams That Can Surprise
Santa Monica: This tier is exclusively for Santa Monica who made a surprise run led by the 2019 HSNCT Rising Star Josh Xu who won last year's JV Bee at the NHBB SoCal Championships. Santa Monica did not attend Nationals so it’s hard to project the team's performance at Nats. With support from sophomore Kethan Raman, Santa Monica is a team to look out for in making a run there.

Tier 3: Teams That Need to Rebound
Whitney, North Hollywood: These two teams posted respectable results at regional tournaments (with them placing third and second respectively at NHBB SoCal), however both teams lose key players in Crystal Wang (for Whitney) and Brandon Hong (for NoHo). I am not sure if the other players still on these two teams have the players or system to fill in the gaps left by their graduations.

Tier 4: Teams I Couldn’t Get a Read On
Westview, Bishop’s School, Serra, Van Nuys, St. Margaret's
I put these teams in this tier as I don’t have enough information to make a proper analysis for them. Instead of trying to half-ass one, I decided to put them in this tier. If you are a part of these teams or have more information, feel free to post your thoughts.

Players to watch:
-Wesley Zhang (CCA)
-Josh Xu (SaMo)
-Stephen Dai (Arcadia)
-Spencer Cheng (Arcadia)
-Junu Song (Westview)

Junior Varsity Teams:
Tier 1: Nationals Contenders
Arcadia: Arcadia ranked 16th at JV Nationals with a team led by Amogh Kulkarni and Lawrence Sung. With Lawrence moving to Varsity this year, expect new players to join the Arcadia squad. Amogh is a strong player and I wouldn’t be surprised if they replicate this year’s result.

St. Margaret's Episcopal: St. Margaret's placed 19th at Nats as a solo team of Nate Kang. I would expect the team to post similar results as last year, however if the team gets some more players they could do even better.

Tier 2: Teams That Can Surprise
Canyon Crest: I am not sure if CCA plans on having a JV Bowl team (although they have enough players for one). But a JV team led by Andrew Gao and Leo Gu can easily be a solid team at regionals with potential to perform very well at Nationals.

Laurel Springs (not sponsored): The LSS team is quite odd in that I will be soloing at regional events without Vishal Rameshbabu. It should likely cause odd results between Regionals and Nats. Despite winning the MS division, there is absolutely nothing to determine how we (I) would do at JV. For now, I would expect we would be a middle of the pack team at Regionals although I hope to be proven wrong.

Pegasus: Pegasus is quite an intriguing team. Max Razmjoo went on a tear at MS Nationals, placing 3rd overall at the 7th Grade History Bee. Pegasus has produced respectable results at JV Nationals as a solo team but I don’t see them taking the next step this year if they continue to have that status.

Tier 3: Teams That Intrigue Me
JV doesn’t really have a team in the Rebound Category that Varsity had.

Huntington Middle (feeds into San Marino HS): Huntington Middle placed second at the MS division of NHBB SoCal and was a very good team. Elijah Chung and Audrey Jung both will be freshmen and could perform well at regionals.

Tier 4: Teams I Couldn’t Get a Read On
Aliso Niguel, Aliso Viejo MS, Whitney
Like with the Varsity teams in this category, I don’t know enough to make a proper analysis. Again, if you are a part of these teams or have more information, feel free to post your thoughts.

Players to watch:
-Nate Kang (SMES)
-Amogh Kulkarni (Arcadia)
-Andrew Gao (CCA)
-Ameya Singh (LSS)
-Leo Gu (CCA)
-Max Razmjoo (Pegasus)
Josh Xu

Santa Monica High School (Class of 2021)
Quiz Bowl Captain
Self-proclaimed "Club President"

joshxu
Lulu
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:25 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA

Re: Southern California 2019-20 Discussion

Post by joshxu » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:47 am

I mostly agree with Ameya on his analysis, and I just wanted to highlight some of the teams that particularly interest me.

Arcadia (Varsity): With Andrew Hoagland's graduation, I don't know what to expect from Arcadia this year. I think it's somewhat of a stretch to call them national title contenders this early, but I definitely wouldn't be surprised to see them making a deep run.

Westview: Much like my own team in Santa Monica, Westview has an extensive and decorated history in SoCal quiz bowl but is relatively new to NHBB. I've never seen Westview play on NHBB questions, but from my experience against them in quiz bowl they definitely have the pieces and potential to compete for the regional title.

Santa Monica:
Santa Monica: This tier is exclusively for Santa Monica who made a surprise run led by the 2019 HSNCT Rising Star Josh Xu who won last year's JV Bee at the NHBB SoCal Championships. Santa Monica did not attend Nationals so it’s hard to project the team's performance at Nats. With support from sophomore Kethan Raman, Santa Monica is a team to look out for in making a run there.
[Please forgive me for going on a rant about my own school]
As of right now, I don't know how Santa Monica is going to split its teams. Our entire history bowl squad last year was composed of a few freshmen and me, putting me in varsity this year while my ex-teammates are still eligible for JV. While it would make sense to simply run out the same roster and have underclassmen play varsity anyway, I am inclined against doing this because I think this would greatly hinder my teammates' development. So what's probably going to happen this year is that I will play as a solo team in the varsity division while some combination of sophomores and freshmen, led by Kethan Raman, will play JV. From watching them in practice, I think this JV team certainly has the potential to move into Tier 2 and surprise people at regionals. But this is just speculation, as this is far from guaranteed to be how our teams will actually be split.
Josh Xu

Santa Monica High School (Class of 2021)
Quiz Bowl Captain
Self-proclaimed "Club President"

Post Reply