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.