Southern California 2021-22 Discussion

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nickdai
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Southern California 2021-22 Discussion

Post by nickdai »

So I talked to the regulars, and everyone seemed interested in bringing back the tradition of high quality SoCal discussion threads, so here we are. Since both Josh and I have graduated, we have decided that we would post less frequently, to allow for many of the younger interested players a chance to post writeups. I'll probably make a prediction post to start us off though.
Nicholas "Nicc" Dai
戴若涵

Westview High School '21
University of California, San Diego '25
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Re: Southern California 2021-22 Discussion

Post by nickdai »

National Contenders

Arcadia: Amogh Kulkarni (12 - generalism), Ryan Sun (12 - generalism), Michael Kwok (12 - history), Brian Lam (12 - science)

It would take a miracle for Arcadia to not be the top team in the circuit again this year. They return their entire roster, which not only placed 5th at HSNCT, but also had the highest power count and highest power percentage. Amogh and Ryan are also the top two players in the entire circuit. Both of them were critically underrated in the Grogerranks player poll, which I guess I could have changed a little bit but I spent so much time refining my ballot I forgot to submit. Amogh is the best player at every category in SoCal except maybe fine arts (where he is the second best), and Ryan is probably the second best player in every category in SoCal except fine arts (where he is the best). I played NASAT with them, and they are honestly better than half the top college players I have played open tournaments with. I do think it would be exciting to see some more competition at the top, but in reality, Arcadia just is so dominant that there isn't too much to be said. If they don't win nationals, I will be very sad.

Dark Horses
Top Teams to Watch

Honestly, I don't think there are any teams that fit this category from SoCal. I could just skip mentioning this but since I had these two section sin my writeups last year, I felt like keeping these here for tradition. There are many teams that could easily enter the "Top Teams to Watch" tier if they solve one certain specific problem, but as of right now I'm not sold.

Other Playoff Level Teams

Santa Monica: Kethan Raman (12 - history, geography, current events, generalism), Alexandra Raphling (12 - literature), Dashiell Decker (11 - ), Delaney O'Dea (10 - )

I don't actually know how confirmed this roster is except the first two members, and this is mostly pure speculation, but Kethan Raman is probably the third best player in the circuit. Alexandra Raphling has also grown as a very strong literature player. However, the loss of Josh Xu should hurt this team a lot. Josh was one of the best players in the circuit, and without him, this team loses their main generalism. Kethan is a good generalist, but there are still significant holes that Josh's departure leaves.

Canyon Crest A: Chris Jung (11 - literature, science), Andrew Gao (12 - history, science), Leo Gu (12 - literature, history), Kevin Luo (12 - science, philosophy) or Cade McAllister (fine arts, pop culture)

The main three members of the team seem confirmed, but I believe Kevin and Cade will be alternated throughout the year to see who is the stronger fourth scorer. Chris Jung was an insane performer at PACE, but Leo Gu seems to have had issues with his scaling. In particular, he went from 30 powers in 9 rounds of SATURNALIA to only 5 powers at HSNCT while still having 28 negs in 10 rounds. Hopefully Leo can improve his scaling and take this team to newer levels. Most of this team does not intend on doing quizbowl related activities during college application season, so we have to wait and see how they will perform. Kevin had an unfortunate instance of his dorm catching on fire before PACE NSC, so we never got to saw how good he would do on a set with a large philosophy distribution. The potential return to in-person tournaments also meant that CCA cannot play PC video games during tournaments, so they had to start picking up mobile games such as Wild Rift. However, I am told that CCA does intend on changing up the way their club is run, with potentially different approaches regarding gaming during quizbowl, as Leo Gu will no longer be president and will be replaced by Ethan "Shikaka" Gross.

La Jolla: Andrew Park (12 - history, generalism), ???

La Jolla loses all their players except their main scorer, Andrew Park. La Jolla is perhaps the only top SoCal team with no Discord presence, so I'm still not familiar with their club. Andrew Park came out of nowhere last year and suddenly shook the entire circuit, even defeating Arcadia A. If he can keep up the rate of his improvement, perhaps he can lead a new La Jolla team to success. I honestly don't have much analysis here just because I am so unfamiliar with this team.

Westview A: Richard Lin (11 - history, generalism), Aakarsh Vermani (12 - literature, science, fine arts, generalism), Pramod Shastry (11 - history) or Maximillian Liu (10 - fine arts) or Adarsh Venkateswaran (10 - literature) (choose 2)

Westview A next year will basically be the same as Westview B from last year, except without Daniel Sjoholm and with Pramod Shastry. Richard Lin and Aakarsh Vermani have been a very strong duo since middle school, and together they will continue to lead Westview. Both of these players are very good generalists and just the two of them combined can obtain very good PPBs, but they also have an issue of underaggression, as both of them are very passive during tossups. This is not the Westview way. It appears the days of Westview getting 4.7 negs/game are gone, and have been replaced by a team of low neg players. The team will likely be rounded out by Pramod Shastry, Maximillian Liu, or Adarsh Venkateswaran (two of those three) Pramod does return after a long hiatus. He took a year off to focus on Science Olympiad, but now that he is back, hopefully he can bring over the science knowledge he has along with the insane history depth that he had. Max seemed to have issues with scaling at HSNCT, but if he studies hard he can still be a very strong player. Meanwhile, Adarsh has been silently improving very fast and has become probably the strongest literature player in Westview. However, it still remains to be seen what this roster will end up looking like.

Del Norte: Madhumita Narayan (11 - literature), Hannah Chen (12 - generalism), Conner Feng (10 - generalism), Rohan Gaikwad (10 - generalism)

I'm honestly not too sure where to put Del Norte. On paper, they should still look very good, but Josh You's departure will probably hurt this team a lot. Josh accounted for most of this team's powers and also covered science and many other subjects, so it remains to be seen how the holes left by his departure will be covered. Madhumita is a fairly strong literature player, but the other three are mostly still generalists. Hannah leans towards maining literature, fine arts, and science, while Conner has been doing well in history. Rohan is still mostly a generalist, but he did say he was studying literature when I last spoke. If this team can cover the holes created by Josh leaving, they can still be a very strong team.

Other Teams

I'm mostly just guessing what other good teams will be. Westview B should be fairly good given just how many recruits we get. I'd assume the team would be made up of the fifth member of Westview A, Rahul Jogadhenu (10 - literature), Vasu Kashipara (10 - history), Lauren Yung (10 - science) and Anna Rader (10 - literature, pop culture), but honestly we have so many new recruits that who knows who would be on the team. Another strong team would be Canyon Crest B. The team would likely be made up of the fifth member of CCA A supported by strong sophomores such as Andrew Tsui (10 - history), Yaj Jhajhria (10 - not sure), and Aaron Combs (10 - generalism). Francis Parker is another very good team, but I’m also not too familiar with this team. There could probably be other really good new clubs too. With the first tournament still months away, we still have time to see how this circuit will turn out.

Concluding Thoughts

With the situation involving COVID-19, everything is still very much still in the air. I still don't know how this circuit will end up being like. But I do hope everything will turn out well, and quizbowl will still be a fun experience for everyone. I think Josh will be making a post soon, and then both of us will probably take a step back to allow for some of the younger players a chance to post.
Nicholas "Nicc" Dai
戴若涵

Westview High School '21
University of California, San Diego '25
leo.gu84
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Re: Southern California 2021-22 Discussion

Post by leo.gu84 »

Official Leo Gu Socal Tier List.
0. Cole from Kincaid
By himself he is better than every team here. He spends so much time on Anki that he has carpal tunnel.
1. Arcadia
Do I need to explain. Only human beings in Socal.
2. Santa Monica
Kethan Raman kind of good at the game. Rest of the team fills the gaps nicely. Better than us by far.
3. Richard Lin
He kinda clapped us.
4. Canyon Crest
We are committed to bringing either a chessboard, a switch, or smth else to a tournament. Lets see how long until a certain person says they'll never talk to us again. We have same problems as last year except with even less motivation. Might see people like Ayush Agrawal(on the CVMS 2018 MSNCT team) or maybe even Steven Zheng(random debate guy). We say we are "going to study" after college apps, but seeing as we are all throwers might not even happen. Overall, I don't think we are going to improve that much from last year. I mean the current sophmores have tons of potential right now but seeing as they are selling out to ecs, I don't even know. Ethan Gross going in place of Cade McAllister as leadership of our club may have different changes but I don't think Ethan is going to study either. So we are left with Andrew Gao and Chris Jung who are actual human beings. Overall, this is going to be a rebuild season. If we somehow smurf it like Samo last season I will eat pho with ketchup in it.
5. DN
FPA and WVB and CCAB are prob not as good as them. Connor Feng kind of OP. If he inherits the Josh You starcraft grindset, might be better than us entirely.
6. Everyone else
La Jolla is a school. FPA negs too much. CCAB: Yaj and Tsuidrew kind of inted the last tournament I saw them at. WVB has too much Westview Bias. We did lose to Troy so maybe Troy is better than CCA. Who knows?

Overall
We have one team with human beings on it. The rest of the teams have lots of work to do to become good. CCA is kind of just Chris Jung rn. Maybe we will see a surprising season out of Socal. Who knows? Last season's preseason expectations were kind of bad. I for certain know that the last time I studied consistently was a whole 4 or 5 months ago so I don't want to do work. Maybe if I have some motivation like a lifetime supply of soda or smth, I'll start putting in hours.
Leo Gu, Canyon Crest, most five-point penalties at 2021 HSNCT
joshxu
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Re: Southern California 2021-22 Discussion

Post by joshxu »

As I'll be attending UCLA, I will still physically be in SoCal this season, but if the HS season is primarily in-person and in San Diego as it normally is then I don't foresee myself being very involved with the circuit. That being said, I do believe I know enough about the circuit at present to write this preseason analysis. Since I didn't follow JV tournaments much/at all last season, however, this post will be exclusively focused on who I believe will be the top few teams. This does not mean that I don't think any other teams have a shot at breaking out and becoming a top-five team, as there are always surprise teams every season (this goes both ways—teams that significantly overperform and those that underperform).

1: Arcadia A
No controversy here at the top, as Arcadia A returns its full lineup from a Top-5 finish at HSNCT last season. Barring an invasion from a non-SoCal team, I would be pretty surprised if an Arcadia A team with Amogh Kulkarni (12th) and/or Ryan Sun (12th) on it doesn't win out the season, as the remainder of the circuit has probably gotten weaker.

I could plausibly see the remaining four teams in this post ending up in any order, but as of right now this is how I would rank them:
2: Santa Monica A
Santa Monica conducted a very successful rebuild last season, as we not only saw several players emerge as future superstars or solidify themselves as valuable role-players en route to a great HSNCT finish, but we also fielded a regularly competitive B team for arguably only the second time in team history. Those B teams were able to consistently attain Groger scores of near 80 with Kethan Raman (12th) despite having shaky at best coverage of literature and science and sometimes volatile neg control. With a full-strength roster this season, I'm definitely certain that Samo will consistently finish at the top of tournaments, as they should be able to cover the full distribution at regs. Kethan is probably the third best player in SoCal, as he's expanded to become a capable science player (focused on chem) in addition to already being a strong history player. However, I am very unconfident in how well this team will scale up to higher difficulties, particularly nationals. The Samo method of winning games at that level last year was to gobble up all the after-power pre-FTP 10s while maintaining adequate power numbers and low neg numbers. From what I saw of these players last year (particularly Kethan), I'm confident in their ability to get powers and not neg—Kethan matched me in powers at West Coast Champs and probably could've come close to my power count at HSNCT had he played without me—but I think they will struggle with sweeping up 10s. I would argue this was my number one skill as a low-level generalist last year and this will be the number one loss that Samo will suffer as a result of my graduation. That being said, between the four players that make up Santa Monica A this year, they should still be able to manufacture some big wins at higher levels.

3: Canyon Crest A
This might be the most interesting team in SoCal, if only for their attitude and gameplay style. Had their top players not committed to throwing this season, I would've given them stronger consideration for the #2 spot in these rankings, but I think they're solidly the third best team in SoCal right now. Their top three players of Andrew Gao (12th), Leo Gu (12th), and Chris Jung (11th) have the potential to finish in any order in scoring at any given tournament, which theoretically should make them a really scary team like the 2019–2020 CCA A team, but the problem is that their pop-offs are never synced. If one player decides to go off, the others will likely have bad tourneys. Having several players who neg a ton also doesn't help them. In short I would summarize this team as pretty good on paper, but I'm not all that confident whether they can realize their full potential. Hey, that was true of their 2019–2020 team as well, and they ended up winning a tournament... might more of that be in store this season?

4: Westview A
To me, the biggest obstacle that Westview A will have to overcome is fielding a consistent roster. Like CCA, this team looks good on paper led by Richard Lin (11th) and Aakarsh Vermani (12th), but I'm very unsure about the rest of their team. As Nick mentioned in his post, Max Liu (10th) is already a solid player as a sophomore but has had understandable scaling issues, and I have no idea whether Pramod Shastry (11th) can be relied upon after basically taking last year off. It would be really funny if WV becomes a low-negging team though.

5: Del Norte A
Among these five teams, Del Norte A probably has the greatest potential for an unexpected breakout season. I'm putting them in the five slot here, but hot take—I could see them regularly finishing as high as second. Last year, Del Norte had an interesting roster of one seasoned but probably washed-up veteran in Josh You, and complementing him was an unproven supporting cast led by underclassmen Conner Feng (now 10th) and Madhumita Narayan (now 11th). Outside of Josh, this group did struggle with scaling, but that was definitely understandable due to the youth of the team. We've already seen how well Conner, Madhumita, and Rohan Gaikwad (10th) have performed at the MS, JV, and regs levels, and I could see multiple superstars emerging from this group in the next two-to-three seasons. That being said, I'm not comfortable putting such high expectations on them at this point, which is why I'm still keeping them at the bottom of this list.

Based on last year's stats, this roster projects to be the least aggressive of these five teams by a lot. This was very much characteristic of Del Norte in the 2018–2019 season, which worked out well for them as they won their first varsity tournament. The SoCal environment in 2021–2022 actually looks like it will be somewhat similar to that of 2018–2019, as there was one clear dominant team (Arcadia) but a good amount of parity below that. As a result I'm confident that DN can find success this season by playing their signature small ball, but in the end I do believe they'll have to become more aggressive moving forward, particularly when nationals roll around.

Concluding Thoughts:
All of this is greatly subject to change based on the format of the season, particularly regarding online tournaments. If there are many online tournaments, we could see CCA rise up since they'd be able to play video games more easily. Uncertainty regarding scheduling of extracurricular events in general could also create potential conflicts—Westview A might be a team particularly impacted by this. In the end though, I hope you all have a fun season of exciting quiz bowl. I'd also love to see currently active high school players make more analysis posts (that contain actual analysis).
Josh Xu

Santa Monica High School (Class of 2021, Captain, Team President)
UCLA (Class of 2025)
leo.gu84
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Re: Southern California 2021-22 Discussion

Post by leo.gu84 »

This analysis will be made with the rosters that CCA has been given on November 1st, there are large potential for updates over the next two weeks.

PPT is coming up on November 13th being the first in-person SoCal tournament in a while. It is on NAQT packets, specifically IS-206 and IS-207a.
Note: Sign up for PPT! Registration deadline is 11/10/2021. IN-PERSON TOURNEY :party: !
Update one: Nate Kang if you are reading this, you can play. Also, I can get rid of Westview if they don't definitely compete in Varsity, but since Rahul is unsure, I will not.
Here is the rundown for Varsity:

1. Arcadia A (Amogh Kulkarni, Ryan Sun, Michael Kwok, Brian Lim):

Arcadia is looking as strong as ever with their top 5 roster entirely returning this season. Amogh will probably dominate even harder as the competition has become less strong as the result of the graduation of Westview's entire HSNCT lineup, Josh You, and Josh Xu. Ryan Sun is also a very strong player, probably only second to Amogh in SoCal now. Arcadia will most likely dominate this tournament and the rest of the season. Hope to see a good performance.

The next three I could see going in any order, depending on how the players will step up:

2. Santa Monica A(Kethan Raman, Alexandra Raphling, Danny Chmaytelli, Delaney O'Dea)

Samo last season finished out HSNCT with a strong 19th place, however, this year they don't have Josh Xu who was almost always the carry for the roster. However, the players that remain are all pretty strong. Kethan is like the spiritual successor to Josh. He is a history main/generalist who last year put up a very admirable performance even with Josh on his team and conflicting categories. Alexandra is a very good lit player and Delaney and Danny round out the rest of the lineup pretty well. I think this lineup will do very well with low neg counts and a high amount of conversions, they will probably play well into high neg lineups like CCA and potentially Westview this year.

3. Del Norte A(Hannah Chen, Conner Feng, Madhumita Narayan, Rohan Gaikwad, Jean Kim)

Del Norte is definitely an interesting lineup this year. They did lose Josh You, compsci main/starcraft player/ generalist ig, but Connor and Madhumita put up some really insane stats at PACE. This statistic really shows their depth, if they can output these numbers in the circuit they may be a dominant team below Arcadia. Connor did manage to out ppg Josh You at HSNCT and statistically is a low neg player. Also a note, Conner and Madhumita are both sophomores so they have two more years and lots of potential to make breakout performances this year.

4. Westview A Note: This team has not signed up yet for some reason, I dunno I sent them an email already, Richard or Aakarsh plz do smth

All I know about Westview is the time they destroyed us in JV Ncal Academic League and Nick Dai boasting about them. So I am going to pull some anti-Westview bias in this ranking. Richard is statically a pretty good generalist, he put up 45 ppg at HSNCT and also did well on STASH at West Coast Championships. However, I don't think Richard and Aakarsh, can single-handedly carry into the other teams in SoCal this season. Who knows, I could be completely wrong. I do have a sneaking suspicion that they do perform better on NAQT packets due to their low power counts on harder sets.

Every Other Team:

We don't really have any conclusive results after this. If Nate Kang is allowed to play and does sign up, Saint Margarets might do well. Francis Parker consistently negged a lot last year and we'll see if they have fixed this issue and also if they can compete with the upper level teams. Olympian put their B team in Varsity and their A team in JV so I just lost all confidence in them. But it's cool that they have come back after not competing for 1.5 seasons. I don't know how they will do, after all they have not competed in almost 2 years. OLP played I think one SoCal tourney last season and played Fall Novice, we'll see if they can compete with the upper level teams. Bishops is still a school I remember playing.


Junior Varsity

So JV for PPT has some new faces and also has some old ones. I literally have no idea how they'll end up ranking so I'll note some things on rosters ig.

CCA

We will be most likely send a roster made of freshmen and sophomores. Our underclassmen have been looking pretty strong in practice. It's nice to know that our club most likely won't die in 4 years. We have a notable imbalance in the amount of history players, but a fair amount of people that do other categories. It's gonna be cool to see their progress this season and in the future.

Del Norte

Del Norte got some experienced middle school players specifically from Black Mountain and Oak Valley. Raunak Mondal was captain of OVMS's line up at MSNCT and Tanvi played at MSNCT with Black Mountain.

Chaparall

New Team to play in a SoCal tourney, cool to see how they would do, mix up the familiar faces.

OVMS

OVMS usually sends pretty strong teams to HS jv events, however, this is very early in on the year so they might be more inexperienced and have some troubles.

I am too lasy to look through the rest of the rosters rn. I have AP Lit and Physics C homework due tmrw, should probably do that. But this tourney is looking interesting. Looking forward to more teams to sign up and wonderful tournament!
Leo Gu, Canyon Crest, most five-point penalties at 2021 HSNCT
FJOIII
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Re: Southern California 2021-22 Discussion

Post by FJOIII »

The first major tournament of the year is in the books for Southern California quizbowl! Canyon Crest once again did an incredible job hosting the fifth edition of their Powered Points Tournament (PPT) with all rooms having buzzers, a very reasonable end time, full category statistics (for the varsity division), no bye rounds, and added an excellent touch by including “mindfulness guidelines” in every room that helped inform good conduct among all teams. That said, we all love hearing about the teams, so let’s get into it! All teams are in alphabetical order, so you can find your team that way.

(See bottom for a list of disambiguations of abbreviations and terms. If you take any issue, have any corrections, or wish to add anything to this post, please let me know and I will happily edit it.)

Arcadia:
Their entire A team came back stronger than ever after their impressive 5th place High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT) run. Placing high expectations publicly on teams can have negative effects sometimes, even when those expectations are positive and warranted, so I won’t make any specific predictions, but needless to say, they are very, very, very good at quizbowl. They continue to dominate history, literature, and visual fine arts (VFA), having two of the best players in those categories in the country in seniors Amogh Kulkarni and Ryan Sun. Science seems somewhat more evenly spread out among their players, and to be the “weakest” of the big 3 categories, though they still have plenty of very early buzzes on it, especially biology and physics. They are one of the highest-powering teams in the nation, and their neg numbers are pretty well in-check. A wacky stat is that both Ryan and Amogh say their points per game actually increase after afternoon rounds in the top bracket, which seems insane, but just shows that beyond their usual domination, they have a second gear they can kick it up to when necessary. We can expect a strong season from them as the team to beat in SoCal.

Arcadia B also put up a very solid performance, getting into the top bracket in the JV division. The team was consistent, but did have a bit of an issue with negging, being second in JV in negs. They didn’t have a wealth of insanely early buzzes, but given that this was the first tournament for most of the team, they did exceedingly well! Arcadia C also had a solid first performance for a young, shorthanded, novice team, managing to squeeze out a few wins and tight games. Arcadia A will be graduating their entire team after this year, so it’s good to see younger players from Arcadia getting involved, fielding a C team for the first time since May 2019!

Bishop’s School:

It was great to see Bishop’s at this tournament! They have been a powerhouse in the San Diego City Academic League for quite a while now, being the conference champs in the last full, in-person season (2019). That said, they haven’t attended a tournament since January 2018. You would never know, looking at their 6-2 record, just narrowly missing out on the top bracket. Four players with over 30 ppg is almost unheard of for a team new to Saturday tournaments, not to mention their deep bench. Their balanced attack in history, modern world, and religion/mythology (RM), combined with cience, led by junior Sasha Berger, makes them a threat on a wide swath of the distribution.

Their B and C teams were in a similar boat, as they finished just outside of the top bracket for JV with six wins apiece. Both teams were mostly freshmen with one upperclassman. There’s some massive potential among those young players, and we hope to see them back at Saturday tournaments as they improve. They will certainly make some noise in the city league this year, and in years to come.

Chaparral:
Chaparral was another team brand-new to not only Saturday tournaments, but their school is new all-subject quizbowl more broadly, which put them in a tough place coming into this tournament, not to mention being in a literal tough place from Temecula, not quite close to LA nor SD tournaments. Despite that, and a slow start that is customary for all new schools, their A team was able to finish strong with a strong three-game winning streak to close out the day, led by junior Andrew Skallerud. Their younger B team was also able to nab a win in the afternoon, and unfortunately finished with two heartbreakingly-close nail biters to close out the day. Such is quizbowl. There’s a lot of potential from both teams, which the ROTC circuit is sure to see more of at their own upcoming tournament. I heard they have a new coach who’s much more familiar with quizbowl, so I’m hopeful to see them improve even further at future tournaments!

Del Norte:
Losing long-time leader and science-aficionado Joshua You did not slow Del Norte A down one bit! Sophomore Conner Feng stepped up their game to be the tournament's third-leading scorer, being especially impressive in literature where he was second in points, despite leaving at lunch! The rest of the team was well-balanced as well, especially in the humanities, finishing top 3 in history, fine arts (FA), and RM ppb despite Conner’s premature exodus. This suggests they may do better on housewrite/PACE questions, which have more humanities, as opposed to NAQT questions that this tournament used, which have comparatively more modern world and science questions. I’m not sure what their final roster will be, but they have a few options that will each be formidable in the circuit.

Their B team also did amazingly in the JV division, with their only losses coming narrowly against division-champs SDA. The team was generally pretty young, but relatively experienced, with no absolute novices, most being alumni of Oak Valley. Their C and D teams similarly had mostly young, former-middle school players, along with a few newcomers. Both made the middle bracket despite their relative youth. It’s good to see teams continuing the activity from middle school, and hope they continue to do so!

PS—teams should totally attend Del Norte’s Edgehog tournament (DNE V) this January 8th!

Francis Parker:
Francis Parker A had a great tournament, despite some unfortunate luck. Despite missing one of their top players, they managed to make the top bracket, where they tragically lost each of their games by a painfully close margin—each within one toss up-bonus cycle. Once again—such is quizbowl. Some team members who are now seniors have been playing together since middle school, so it is no surprise that they are very well balanced with complementary specialites. They can also be expected to have a great season in the City Academic League with Bishop’s.

Their B team also had a great tournament, only narrowly missing out on finals with one-tossup games against SDA and Del Norte B. Led by freshman Jonas Brown, formerly of Oak Valley, the team was pretty young. As most of FP A will be graduating in the coming year, it’s good to see that one of the smaller schools to consistently field teams has strong, young players in store for the future.

Oak Valley:
I will never cease to be amazed by Oak Valley’s ability to consistently contend with much older teams on questions likely harder than they will face at their nationals. Nevertheless, here they are, being amazing. They were a young team, even by their own standards, without any 8th graders. Their A team, led by seventh grade Jacob Wu, narrowly missed out on the top bracket due to a 20-point loss to Olympian B. Their less-experienced B team also knocked out a few wins, and put up some impressive buzzes on the way. Middle school tournaments likely won’t be held till the spring this year unfortunately (in part due to difficulties in getting those below 12 being immunized), so it’s hard to see how they stack up on middle school questions, but given their performances on tougher questions in a tougher field, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say this will be the school most middle school teams will be looking at this year in SoCal.

Olympian:
Olympian adapting to a coaching change, as well as the pandemic difficulties in the past year or two, has made this their first local tournament not hosted by themselves since 2018. That said, their return was triumphant, with both teams finishing in the top bracket in their respective divisions, earning their A team an HSNCT qualification! Led by senior Henry Morales, that A team was dominant on science, finishing with the highest science ppb in the whole tournament. They were solid in other categories, like history and modern word, but science is by far their standout, which bodes well for them given SoCal’s relative lack of strength on science compared to other major categories. Last year saw Otay Ranch snap their years-long domination of the Varsity division of the Sweetwater Academic League, and they’re coming back this year with a vengeance.

Their B team also made it to their top bracket, indicating that their Sweetwater Academic League JV division streak may also be pretty secure. They had some very deep buzzes, and despite lots of substitutions, had a number of young players stand out, including sophomore Martin Costa, junior Abigail Ouano, and freshman Dantae Garcia, among others. I look forward to seeing Olympian renew their consistent attendance and reputation for NAQT dominance, a strong team spirit, and drawing in many players.

Our Lady of Peace:
OLP first started coming to Saturday tournaments two years ago at 2019’s iteration of PPT, so happy two-year quizbowl anniversary! The team has increased and improved since then, despite graduating some strong players. Their A team went 3-6, going on a 3-game win streak to close out the tournament, with a particularly strong showing on RM, where they led the field in ppb. Their top two scorers were both juniors, who along with senior L. Fowler, seem to have been on the team since that inaugural tournament. Another City Academic League mainstay (though in a different division from FP and Bishop’s), they are well-positioned to have a strong season and launchpad for further improvement next year.

On that note, OLP managed to field three teams for the first time. This also meant that their younger, half-novice B team ended up in the varsity division in order for the numbers to work out. Such is quizbowl. The team admirably stuck out the tournament, consistently buzzing in every game—of which they had a few close ones. The team did best in science behind sophomores Maggic Holcomb and Paige Newlon, indicating a solid knowledge base to build on. OLP C was also young, and consisted entirely of novices to weekend quizbowl. Despite this, the team went a strong 3-6, with those three wins coming across their last 5 games, as is usual as new players warm up to the feel of the buzzer and the game. OLP is well-positioned to have strong showings not just for varsity, but also in the JV and novice divisions of the City Academic League for years to come. We hope to see them continue to expand and attend more tournaments!

Pacific Trails:
Everything I said about the impressiveness of Oak Valley playing up applies to Pacific Trails as well. Finishing a very solid 4-5, the team was solid and balanced. Though their neg numbers were a bit high in the morning, they went down as the tournament progressed. Neg and buzzer control is one of those skills that is transferable across difficulties, so it’s important for them to control that, and not get in bad habits, which they seem to have done! The team was able to compete against high schoolers on high school questions, so of course, we can expect them to do well on middle school questions against middle schoolers as well. A team of all 8th graders, they are of course young by our standards, with great quizbowl careers ahead of them, but in the more immediate future, though they will sadly have to wait till spring for middle school tournaments, Pacific Trails will be a force.

San Dieguito:
Following 2018, where SDA was led to a strong finish at PACE by Rokas Veitas and Klaus Neyer, SDA quizbowl (or “Mustang Minds”) went into a somewhat dormant period. They made their return at ACE XIV last year, and came back even stronger for their in-person return this year, winning the JV division! Led by senior Nick Manchin, the team went 9-1, despite a few scares from Del Norte and Francis Parker. The team had some deep knowledge, averaging almost 5 powers/game, a difficult feat given NAQT’s notoriously short powers. We hope to see them make a return to attending more tournaments regularly!

Santa Monica:
Despite long-time leading scorer Josh Xu graduated last year, Santa Monica A has (just as Josh predicted in this thread) returned strong as ever, going 7-2 for second place. Most of the lineup had buzzes all across the distribution, beyond their designated specialities. The team is remarkably consistent, especially in history, led by senior Kethan Raman. Any team that’s able to get 9 tossups versus Arcadia has the ability to be a top team nationally, let alone regionally, where they’ve distinguished themselves as the clear and close second team (though to be fair, they’ve yet to face a full Westview, Del Norte, or CCA).

Santa Monica B also had a very strong showing, led by promising freshman Naomi Gage. The team went 5-4 in top bracket, being competitive in all of their games. For a team mostly of freshmen in the fall, who never played in middle school, that’s remarkably impressive. The team seemed to have very strong chemistry, and if they continue on their current trajectory, and attend tournaments regularly, we can expect them to quickly stack up to being even more formidable. Santa Monica certainly has a very strong future as well as their present.

St. Augustine’s:
In what’s looking to be a theme, St. Augustine attended their first Saturday tournament since 2018 at PPT V. For a team with almost no experience at tournaments, and fielding two similarly-matched teams in the varsity division, Saints put up a strong first showing. Particularly, Saints A showed up in fine arts (typically one of the most difficult categories for new teams), modern world, and history, behind seniors William Strack, Julian Solis, and Aidan Rickwa respectively. If the team of seniors is able to focus in and play to the best of their ability, they can certainly continue to move up in quizbowl and even more so in their City Academic League.

Saints B, despite being a team of underclassmen, was able to impressively match the record of their A team, though they did lag behind in a few statistical areas, as the old adage goes, the only stats that really matter are wins and losses. The team is pretty young, so naturally they don’t seem to have carved out specific niches for themselves yet, though they did register some good buzzes on history, literature, and modern world. I hope to see them all continue to attend tournaments and improve in quizbowl!

St. Margaret’s Episcopal:
Once again led by senior Nate Kang, SMES had another strong showing at this tournament. Nate was once again a superstar at this tournament, showing himself expanding into a full-blown generalist beyond his roots as a history player, and he’s still a very strong history player. Joining Nate was a trio of new players, each with impressive performances. It’s always difficult to join a team with a superstar player where points can be hard to come by, but it’s good to see that there’s interest at SMES outside of Nate, vitally, among non-seniors. We hope we see them at future tournaments this year and beyond.

Westview:
Westview was, unfortunately, unable to field anything close to their full A team at PPT V, but their shorthanded team of sophomores was still able to put up a number of good games. Vasu Kashipara put up strong numbers on modern world, Rahul Jogadhenu on history, and Adarsh Venkateswaran on literature. The team isn’t rounded out yet, with some obvious holes, but as they get older, improve, and are joined by the rest of their team, it can be expected for Westview to start giving more teams a run for their money.

A few absent teams include:

Canyon Crest (of course), North Hollywood, Harvard-Westlake, Mount Carmel, Dos Pueblos, La Jolla, Scripps Ranch, University City, Mt. Everest, Troy, and Viewpoint, among others. We hope to see them at some tournaments later on in the year.

Nationals qualifications: Congratulations to Arcadia, Santa Monica, Del Norte, Saint Margaret’s Episcopal, and Olympian for qualifying for the HSNCT and the PACE NSC! Congratulations to Francis Parker for qualifying for the PACE NSC! Congratulations to Saint Margaret’s Episcopal for qualifying for the SSNCT!

Terms:
Academic League - Four leagues sponsored by the San Diego County of Education office that have many similarities to quizbowl, including Sweetwater, City, North County, and East County leagues
Modern world - A category of questions including geography, pop culture, and current events
NAQT- National Academic Quiz Tournaments, a major question provider, among other things
Neg - An incorrect answer given while a tossup is being read to both teams resulting in a minus 5 point penalty
Power - When a tossup is gotten before a certain point, and is thus worth 15 points to the team that got it rather than the usual 10
Frederic O'Hara :smile: , he/him :capybara:
SRHS, Class of 2021
Miramar CC, Class of 20[cough, cough]
SoCal Quizbowl
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