Most Surprising Teams?

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cchiego
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Most Surprising Teams?

Post by cchiego » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:08 am

Anyone recall the most surprising out-of-nowhere teams that suddenly surged onto the quizbowl scene? Or at least teams that drastically improved from one year to another? The obvious example is Lakeside 2005, but to an admittedly lesser extent I can think of Bellarmine or maybe Adair County last year.

Throwing this out to people who might recall HSNCTs or NSCs long gone...
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:44 am

I think Ike Jose's team at NSC back in, either 08 or 09 would qualify.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:28 am

Since no one else has mentioned the 2002 RM team that took the train to GW on a lark for NSC and promptly charged right through the tournament after playing nothing but It's Academic stuff the whole year, I will put them forward as a contender for this list.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by dtaylor4 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:19 am

St. Anselm's the past couple years.

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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by Cheynem » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:42 pm

Do people have any surprise college teams of note? I realize this is harder to do in college, but I was wondering.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by Bartleby » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:45 pm

Cheynem wrote:Do people have any surprise college teams of note? I realize this is harder to do in college, but I was wondering.
Apparently (so I've been told) UWO winning DII ICT in 2008 was quite surprising, being that we finished in 3rd at the SCT that year.

EDIT: Did I say winning? I meant finishing runner-up to Carleton College, of course!
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by cornfused » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:49 pm

Bartleby wrote:
Cheynem wrote:Do people have any surprise college teams of note? I realize this is harder to do in college, but I was wondering.
Apparently (so I've been told) UWO winning DII ICT in 2008 was quite surprising, being that we finished in 3rd at the SCT that year.
Pretty sure Carleton won that one and UWO got second, but yeah, I remember not expecting UWO to finish in the top bracket and then watching them zoom by us.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by Susan » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:23 pm

Stanford, the year they won the ICT (1998). Maybe also Pitt the year Matt Weiner arrived? Rochester in 2004-2005 wasn't quite as much of a surprise but I'd still list them.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:51 pm

Cheynem wrote:Do people have any surprise college teams of note? I realize this is harder to do in college, but I was wondering.
Would Minnesota qualify--the year they broke CBI-lock and immediately won undergrad ACF? Obviously there there wasn't as much of a totally unknown/ victory transition, but it certainly spurred a massive attitude shift in terms of taking Minnesota seriously.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:33 pm

So, Andrew Yaphe being good at quizbowl is not a surprise to anyone, but I'm pretty sure that Yaphe showed up to ACF Nationals in 2009 (the WUSTL nationals) with little public notice beforehand. I seem to recall calling Evan Nagler on Friday night, as I was taking the train to my St. Louis hotel, and him telling me "there's going to be a surprise", indicating that even the night before Nats only ACF members knew about it.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by Cheynem » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:38 pm

I was surprised because I thought at the time that Andrew was a myth designed to frighten young quizbowlers.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:44 pm

Susan wrote:Stanford, the year they won the ICT (1998). Maybe also Pitt the year Matt Weiner arrived? Rochester in 2004-2005 wasn't quite as much of a surprise but I'd still list them.
Wasn't Kemezis on that team? Was that long enough ago that he would have been a surprise?
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by cvdwightw » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:01 pm

Frater Taciturnus wrote:Since no one else has mentioned the 2002 RM team that took the train to GW on a lark for NSC and promptly charged right through the tournament after playing nothing but It's Academic stuff the whole year, I will put them forward as a contender for this list.
They're arguably the most surprising major-nationals winner ever, but they did get a bunch of votes in the fall 2001 and pre-nationals 2002 hsquizbowl polls that were largely dominated by southeast voters, so at least people outside of the mid-Atlantic had heard of them (they just were better on real questions than anyone expected). Representing the early-modern-era, though, I'd have to go with 2001 Capistrano Valley and St. John's, who both finished in the top 10 at HSNCT that year after receiving, as near as I can tell, zero votes each in the hsquizbowl pre-nationals poll, meaning they were (like Lakeside) literally unknown at HSNCT. Actually, 2001 gets my vote for most chaotic year of high school quizbowl, ever, with upsets literally coming out of nowhere at pretty much every national that year.

Also, admit it, you were as shocked as I was to look at the 2006 HSNCT Saturday results and find out that Grosse Pointe North was your #1 playoff seed.

At the college level, along the lines of 2005 Rochester was the 2006 Michigan team that, IIRC, just about everyone wrote off as a major contender after losing 3/4 of their 2005 championship team.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by Susan » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:07 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
Susan wrote:Stanford, the year they won the ICT (1998). Maybe also Pitt the year Matt Weiner arrived? Rochester in 2004-2005 wasn't quite as much of a surprise but I'd still list them.
Wasn't Kemezis on that team? Was that long enough ago that he would have been a surprise?
Kemezis WAS the surprise. He started playing as an upperclassman* (I think he might have started in the 1997-1998 school year, but I wasn't around so don't trust me on the details) and played on a DI ICT-winning team in what seems to have been his first year playing.

*Allegedly after Joon Pahk (I think?) discovered him doing a crossword at lightning speed and forcibly recruited him onto the team.

ETA: It seems it was actually Alan Taber rather than Joon.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:11 pm

Susan wrote:Kemezis WAS the surprise. He started playing as an upperclassman* (I think he might have started in the 1997-1998 school year, but I wasn't around so don't trust me on the details) and played on a DI ICT-winning team in what seems to have been his first year playing.

*Allegedly after Joon Pahk (I think?) discovered him doing a crossword at lightning speed and forcibly recruited him onto the team.
I don't think it can be Joon because he didn't show up at Stanford until I was at Berkeley, which would have been 2000 at the earliest. Maybe it was Matt Lafer prototype Prasun Ray.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by Susan » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:45 am

Subash's Illinois team that won the ICT in 2000 is another good example--yes, people knew he was studying, and it's not like people expected Illinois to come in 28th or anything, but Subash's team had placed fourth at their SCT (behind their own B team) and I doubt anyone seriously expected them to win.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:15 pm

Frater Taciturnus wrote:Since no one else has mentioned the 2002 RM team that took the train to GW on a lark for NSC and promptly charged right through the tournament after playing nothing but It's Academic stuff the whole year, I will put them forward as a contender for this list.
I've never heard this story, that's really impressive. Was Mr. McKenna the coach yet?
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by LucasBrown » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:28 pm

In 2008, Santa Monica High School went 9-1 in the preliminaries of the HSNCT and proceeded to take 11th overall. They were definitely a known force in quizbowl, but very few people had heard of them before... Hence the surprise.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by Cheynem » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:36 pm

This year's Nats seemed a bit surprising to me, in terms of the teams that ended up in the title hunt. Part of this is due to a concurrent exodus of several great players from the game (Jerry, Seth, Yaphe, Brendan), and part of it is also due to some key absences at the tournament (an Eric-led Penn team). I would have been a little surprised though at the beginning of the year if you had told me Brown would lose Jerry and be about a game away from being in the Nats final, that Chicago would lose Seth and not get Shantanu back and be a game or so away from being in the Nats final, that Virginia would crack the superplayoffs without Will Butler, etc. Even at least at the beginning of the year I (and various others, too, judging by the poll) would not have pegged Yale to win it all, especially after losing their apparently best generalist last year, Rich Mason.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:53 pm

When a number of teams lose their best player, that levels the standings a lot. Add Brendan to Minnesota or Rich to Yale or Seth to Chicago and I bet you dollars to donuts that team goes undefeated. All those people leaving at once has a huge impact.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by scquizbowl » Sat May 28, 2011 12:46 am

Surprising teams. Back when I was in the circuit in the South (2003-10), there wasn't that many surprising teams that came out of the woodwork. Centennial grew very quickly. They went from being a team that we (James Island) would beat up on very easily, to a team that is one of the top ones in the nation.

There were some surprising teams in state action. Southside is one that came up very quickly. It went from being a team that barely played in SC to in less than 5 years being a power able to compete with anybody.

Also in SC, you had the Governors' School, which challenged frequently, but never got out of the state. There were many teams that could have challenged Dorman, Southside (Aiken and Irmo in the early and mid 2000s) or James Island. Many of the good teams never traveled out of their areas, like Academic Magnet. They could have been very good (with the kids they have in their school) but they almost never traveled outside of Charleston.

GA has always had about 6-8 very good teams at a time, with probably a dozen others at any time that could compete with them. Centennial was probably the biggest surprise.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:15 pm

Beachwood from Ohio was rather surprising this year, placing 2nd in SS and 33 in the overall field at this past HSNCT, and they only went to one NAQT tournament this past year.
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by jgalea84 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:34 pm

Frater Taciturnus wrote:Since no one else has mentioned the 2002 RM team that took the train to GW on a lark for NSC and promptly charged right through the tournament after playing nothing but It's Academic stuff the whole year, I will put them forward as a contender for this list.
That was a good team. The fact that I was captain of the team that lost to these guys by 10 points in the finals makes me cry a little (a lot).
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Re: Most Surprising Teams?

Post by Camelopardalis » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:04 pm

I think the shorthanded UWO team that finished second at 2008 DII ICT was a bit shocking. In hindsight, the team featured two great quizbowlers, Will Nediger and Peter Burton, but at the time they appeared to be just three Canadian freshmen fresh off playing Reach for the Top (a speedcheck format) with no quizbowl experience aside from that year's sectionals. It was the highest-ever finish by a Canadian team at ICT - a record that still stands. As a fun sidenote, those three players attended high school together, graduated together, and won the 2007 Reach for the Top title together (along with two other players).
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