Kealing Climbs the Mountain Again

With the reigning national champions and new state champions in the TQBA delegation in Dallas for MSNCT, Kealing was as under the radar as possible for a two-time national champ. When those two teams – Harmony Excellence-Houston and T.H. Rogers – reached the winners’ bracket final while Kealing avoided elimination by 10 points, that narrative seemed to hold up.

Then Kealing won another five consecutive games, the final four against the top four teams remaining, showing the composure under pressure that defines a champion.

In beating Harmony by 35, Middlesex by 65, River Trail by 110 and T.H. Rogers by 65, the Kealing quartet of Evan Hochstein, Ryan Russo, Daniel Chan and Anna Tutuianu displayed the balance and poise to complete the obstacle course.

Tutuianu scored 50 points to help eliminate the reigning champions from Harmony and individual leading scorer William Golden, including the toss-up that sealed the result. Against Middlesex, Hochstein’s five powers and 95 points led the way, with Tutuianu again playing the role of closer.

River Trail awaited, with the winner earning a one-game final against T.H. Rogers. The Atlanta-area team had just scored the final 340 points in dominating Rogers to reach the final three. But Kealing killed their momentum with an early 155-0 run, and when River Trail climbed within 30 points again, Kealing simply accelerated away. Hochstein nailed nine tossups, and Russo added two powers to close the door on River Trail and set up the final clash with Rogers.

In the final, Hochstein outscored Rogers’ leading scorer Shomik Ghose 90-65, and despite three powers from seventh-grader Sanath Govindarajan, Kealing was able to respond once more when Rogers took a brief lead. Chan registered four toss-ups in the final; Russo regulated discussion throughout as captain, and Kealing stayed the course each time momentum swung.

Finishing 14-3, the Austin ISD magnet earned its third national title. While the first two were snatched with raw dominance, the third demonstrated the clutch play required to prevail in a remarkable series of tight clashes Sunday, beginning with a 375-370 win over Bumpus, Alabama, and running through a 355-345 win over Longfellow B. Their average margin Sunday was less than 65 points across nine games – but they won eight, and that’s what mattered.

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Kealing wins MSNCT

Congratulations to Kealing Middle School (Austin) who defeated T.H. Rogers Middle School (Houston) 425-360 in the final match of the 2015 NAQT Middle School National Championship Tournament in Dallas. After dropping its third round playoff game 325-435 to Middlesex (CT), the squad of Daniel Chan, Evan Hochstein, Ryan Russo, and Anna Tutuianu rallied to eliminate Longfellow (VA), Sutton (GA), defending champion Harmony Excellence (Houston), Middlesex, and River Trail (GA) to reach the final match against top seeded Rogers. A link to the statistics from the tournament is available along with the match results for each of the 26 teams represented the state of Texas at the event. A more complete wrap-up of the event will be posted soon.

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TH Rogers, Harmony Excellence-Houston reach MSNCT Winners’ Bracket final

20150510_120406With a 430-365 win over River Trail A, reigning national champion Harmony Excellence-Houston reached the winners’ bracket final at MSNCT, where they will face TH Rogers A for a ninth time this year. Each team has won four. TH Rogers beat Middlesex A in its semifinal, 440-330.

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Sunday Playoff Scores from MSNCT in Dallas!

Follow the progress of the 12 Texas playoff teams at the NAQT Middle School National Championship Tournament! Use this document, where teams’ Sunday results can be found. The front tab at the bottom is now labeled “Playoffs.” For full tournament progress, NAQT.com has an interactive bracket spreadsheet posted for all of Sunday’s playoff results.

After Saturday’s preliminary play, five of the six top individual scorers were from Texas: Leader William Golden of Harmony Excellence-Houston (127.51), #2 scorer Tyler McStravick from St. Clare (95), #4 scorer Shomik Ghose of TH Rogers A (90.37); #5 scorer Schuyler Colfax of Kealing B (81.97) and #6 scorer Jonathan Shoemaker of Holy Family (79.65).

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T.H. Rogers wins 2015 Middle School State Title

At the end of an unpredictable Saturday afternoon at St. Mark’s School of Texas, the last team standing in the TQBA Middle Grades Championship was T.H. Rogers.

The Houston ISD magnet squad, coached by Randy Takaoka, won two half-packet tiebreakers, then a disadvantaged final, to claim its first state title in the event’s sixth iteration. Stats are available here; photos will be coming soon to the TQBA Facebook page.

The Rogers team of Shomik Ghose, Sanath Govindarajan, Allen Wang, Joshua Hew and Anuraag Madabushi went 5-1 in the morning’s pool play, losing to reigning state champion Kealing 430-275. In the opposite pool, reigning national champion Harmony Excellence strolled past St. John’s in the match of morning unbeatens there. Harmony’s closest call of the prelims had been a 65-point win over Plano St. Mark’s.

Also advancing to the Top 6 phase of the competition were twice-beaten St. Theresa and host St. Mark’s Texas.

While the morning’s pool play had largely gone to form, there were several twists in the tale in the afternoon.

The three-player Kealing Squirrels, missing Daniel Chan, were beaten in their first two crossover games, by St. John’s (370-260) and St. Theresa’s (310-275).

Entering the final round of crossover play, Harmony was the lone unbeaten team, having escaped T.H. Rogers 365-350. Every other team in the division had two losses already, so a Harmony victory would’ve ended the event after 10 rounds. But old nemesis Kealing stood in the way; four powers for Ryan Russo and three for Evan Hochstein, they pulled away in the second half for a 430-290 win that left four teams alive for the state title.

With only three rounds available  to complete the event, the three two-loss teams were seeded by bonus conversion. The bottom two teams, T.H. Rogers and St. John’s, played a half-packet tiebreaker, pulled out 170-160 on the final physics bonus part by Sanath. Rogers advanced to another half-packet tiebreaker, this time against Kealing. This time, it was Shomik who sealed it on the last tossup, as Rogers prevailed 170-115.

Harmony awaited, with two chances to beat Rogers and win the tournament. But that first match was over almost as soon as it started, as Rogers raced to a 300-60 halftime edge before cruising to a 455-235 victory. Shomik scored 140 points in the impressive display.

Thus to a winner-takes-all final, where despite Harmony’s William Golden outscoring Shomik 105-35, Rogers sealed the result after tossup 18, and held on 350-315. Sanath, Allen and Joshua combined to get six tossups for Rogers in the ultimate match.

Shomik (96) and William (92) were the event’s runaway leading individual scorers, followed by Evan from Kealing (74) and St. Clare’s Tyler McStravick (58).

St. John’s Shines in Elementary, Open Divisions

The Elementary event was claimed by the undefeated squad from St. John’s, featuring Sarah Chen, James Sy, Tyler King, David Hindman and Nina Varma. Runner-up Harmony Excellence (Adi Dass, Samuel Lee, Farhan Ahsan and Connor Golden) lost only to St. John’s, who took their two meetings 230-150 and 240-150.

The Open division was also own by St. John’s, though in quite different fashion. Their final was a rematch with a T.H. Rogers team that beat them 430-95 in preliminary play. The Maverick squad edged the rematch 225-220 to hand the Rogers B squad its lone defeat of the day.

This event concludes TQBA’s 27-event 2014-2015 calendar. We hope to see many of you at MSNCT in two weeks or HSNCT at the end of May.

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Harmony Science Academy-North Austin wins SSNCT

HarmonyWinsSSNCT

Coach Adam Escandell, Ali Barreh, Brian Nardone, Henry Hawthorn, and Peter Wofford (from left) pose with their 2015 SSNCT Championship Trophy and NAQT president R. Robert Hentzel.

Congratulations to Harmony Science Academy-North Austin, coach Adam Escandell, and the team of Ali Barreh (2015), Henry Hawthorn (2015), Brian Nardone (2015), and Peter Wofford (2017) who won the 2015 NAQT Small School National Championship Tournament on Sunday at the Atlanta Downtown Hilton. Harmony, which finished the event with a perfect 15-0 record, was the lone Texas representative. The Austin squad’s closest call came in the winners’ bracket final, a 30-point victory over Hallsville (MO), the reigning champion.

Harmony took its timeout down 335-385 with two tossups remaining and less than a minute on the clock.  Henry Hawthorn powered an American drama tossup and the team raced through a Russian history bonus to leave them down by 5 heading into the last tossup. Hallsville captain Jared Lockwood negged on a clue about an American senator and Hawthorn got 10 on the rebound to earn his team its place in the final. Coach Escandell’s team again defeated Hallsville, 450-375, in the first game of an advantaged final to claim the trophy.

This is the fourth NAQT championship earned by a Texas squad in the past 12 months. Last May Harmony-Excellence claimed the 2014 MSNCT title and LASA took home its second consecutive HSNCT title. This April, a squad of TQBA veterans representing the University of Texas earned the ICT Division II Championship.

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LASA wins 16th annual TQBA Championship

Austin ISD’s Liberal Arts & Science Academy won the 16th annual Texas Quiz Bowl Championship tournament on Saturday at Seven Lakes High School in Katy. The all-junior team of Trevor Binford, John DiCarlo, Ethan Russo, and Corin Wagen went 11-0 on the day and finished ahead of Harmony-North Austin and St. John’s School (Houston) with 9-2 records. A link to the event’s statistics is available on the TQBA archives page.

This is LASA’s second consecutive championship and fifth overall. This year’s championship LASA squad and last year’s victorious quartet share no members. With the victory, coach Jason Flowers’ school now is tied with St. John’s for most TQBA Championships. The remainder of the top 8 were: Katy Taylor (4th), San Antonio Reagan (5th), Village (6th) Cinco Ranch (7th), and St. Thomas (8th).

San Antonio’s Brandeis High School was the winner of the Division II section of the tournament for teams of freshmen and sophomores. The team of sophomores Kumaran Arulmani, Stephen Chen, Nathan Corbin, and Pranjal Singh finished the event with a 8-1 record ahead of a trio of 6-3 teams from St. Thomas (Houston), Reagan (San Antonio), and Shepton (Plano). Reagan won the tie breaker sequence to earn the 2nd place plaque.

This is the last varsity event of the 16th TQBA season. Texas Quiz Bowl will resume next fall with events in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and more. We applaud the competitors from each of the 54 different schools who competed at the various contests this year. We thank our crew of talented adult staffers who contributed their time and made the events possible. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year.

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Follow TQBA HS State live on Saturday

The Texas High School state championship is day after tomorrow at Seven Lakes HS in Katy. Use this link to view our schedule grid, where we’ll be posting scores throughout Saturday. The tentative matchups for both divisions are already listed there. The JV division is a full 11-team round-robin; the championship division features two pools of eight with a rebracket.

Good luck, and see you this weekend!

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Texas Invitational recap

Last weekend’s Texas Invitational, on the campus of Trinity University in San Antonio, gave some of the best high school teams in the nation a pre-nationals look at each other, creating several talking points for the two months before HSNCT.

Saturday’s MUT event was claimed emphatically by Detroit Catholic Central, who won their first 11 games of the day despite an early hiccup, an overtime win over LASA B. They opened afternoon playoff pool play with a 475-135 victory over LASA A (11-3, 2nd), beat Auburn (9-5, 4th) twice by a combined 365 points, and lost only in a late rematch to LASA and on a protest to the hybrid Labimsa team (11-3, 3rd). DCC captain Jack Watts scored 54 PPG as the Shamrocks averaged at least 20 PPB in each of their last nine rounds of the MUT tournament.

Harmony North Austin (9-5, 5th) pushed to the front of the second tier, winning its two clashes with Chattahoochee (6-8, 7th) and splitting with Northmont (7-7, 6th). The event’s three leading individual scorer wound up in this day-end pool: Sam Blizzard (95.36 PPG), Norman North’s Caleb Kendrick (79.29) and Harmony’s Henry Hawthorn (69.64).

Sunday’s NAQT tournament saw LASA (12-1) prevail over Northmont (10-5) in overtime of the first game of an advantaged final, capping a double-elimination tournament that produced many tight scorelines.

No one escape the eight-round preliminaries unscathed. After beating Northmont on a tiebreaker and Auburn (7-5, 5th) by five, LASA A was thumped in its last prelim by DCC, 445-260. DCC, in turn had lost a shootout to Northmont and escaped Cinco Ranch (4-7) on a tiebreaker. Northmont also dropped preliminary matches to Auburn and Chattahoochee (9-3, 7th) — Hooch finished 7-1 in the morning, losing only to Auburn, while Auburn suffered losses to LASA B and Norman North.

In the afternoon, the 16 teams entered a double-elimination tournament where the bottom eight seeds began with one loss. The story of this phase of the tournament was Norman North, which climbed through the losers’ bracket from the #9 seed to finish fourth, beating LASA B, Harmony (6-6, 8th) and DCC (8-3, 6th) along the way before elimination at the hands of Northmont. A strong showing from a team that opened the day 0-3.

In one winners’ bracket semifinal, the hybrid Labimsa team (7-5, 3rd) overcame DCC, notching eight of the match’s 12 powers. Labimsa’s subsequent two losses, to LASA A and to Northmont, were by a combined 15 points.

LASA A then rallied in the final, scoring 70 points on the last two cycles to force a 310-310 tie, then winning with an Alex Denko power on an ancient Europe tossup.

The individual leaders saw the same three at the top: Blizzard, Kendrick and Hawthorn, followed by Chattahoochee’s Nirav Ilango, Cinco Ranch’s Amol Patil and Labimsa’s Adam Fine. Auburn’s Cole Timmerwilke was seventh, while eighth-grader William Golden was eighth.

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Longhorns victorious at ICT

UT_ICTD2Congratulations to the University of Texas team of Joseph Langas (Jay ’13), Arthur Lee (LASA ’13), Andi Qi (Seven Lakes ’14),  and Arnav Sastry (LASA ’14) who won the Division II championship at this past weekend’s NAQT Intercollegiate Championship Tournament in Atlanta. The quartet of TQBA alumni went 13-1 during the tournament to finish ahead of teams from the University of Chicago, Stanford University, and University of Georgia. The Austin-based squad’s lone loss came against Carleton College. Other former TQBA players participating in the event included Alex Freed (LASA ’14) and Nathan Weiser (LASA ’14), who represented third-place Stanford, and third-leading scorer Carlo DeGuzman (St. John’s ’14) from Texas A&M.

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