TQBA September / October 2015 schedule

TQBA can now unveil its schedule for the beginning of the Fall. More details on these events will be provided soon.

September 12
Hornet Hullabaloo, MS / Novice, @Greenhill (IS-147-A / MS-15)
Falcon Fest, MS / HS, @Fulmore (IS-147-A / MS-15)

September 19
Patriot Games 2, MS / HS, @Rawlinson (IS-147-A / MS-15)

September 26
Sparkling City 2, Varsity @Flour Bluff (IS-147-A)

October 3
Viking Invasion, MS / Novice, @Village (IS-147-A / MS-15)

October 10
Kickoff Classic XI, HS, @Seven Lakes (IS-148)

October 17
Alamo City, HS, @Trinity (IS-148)

Check here for more scheduling news as it’s available.

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LASA 2nd, Harmony Top Small School at NSC

LASA earned another national runner-up trophy Sunday, going 16-4 at PACE NSC and losing a disadvantaged final against Detroit Catholic Central (18-1). Corin Wagen led LASA with 71.67 PPG (through 18 games), while Ethan Russo added 65.56 and Alex Denko had 46.67. After beating Maggie Walker (16-3) 510-330 to reach the final, DCC proved too much, winning 470-370.

Representing Harmony North Austin solo, Henry Hawthorn finished 18th overall, going 12-6 to secure the small school title. Hawthorn scored a remarkable 148.89 PPG to close his high school career.

St. John’s (10-5) finished 31st, while Cinco Ranch (6-8) finished 61st in the 96-team field.

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HSNCT Wrap-up: Harmony earns Top 12 finish

Having covered LASA’s national runner-up performance, let’s look at the remaining Texas teams:

Harmony Science Academy – North Austin posted what is believed to be the highest-ever finish by a small school qualifier, tying for eighth place with four other schools, finishing 12-4. Their playoff losses came against two of the top three teams, LASA A and Detroit Catholic Central A. Henry Hawthorn scored 86.53 points per 20 tossups and Ali Barreh added 35.15 for Adam Escandell’s squad, who eliminated tournament top scorer Sam Blizzard of Northmont in their final win. It was an outstanding final NAQT appearance for the senior trio of Hawthorn, Barreh and Brian Nardone. Sophomore Peter Wofford is left to lead the way for future HSANA teams.

St. Mark’s was one of the best Texas stories of Sunday, winning three consecutive elimination games to finish in a tie for 21st place. Sophomore Patrick Magee led the way with 44.55 PP20T for the Lions, who eliminated local rival Cistercian 380-90 along their Sunday playoff path. After a disappointing ninth-place finish at state, it was a strong rebound performance from Paul Mlakar’s group.

Among the teams tying for 34th was the Village School, finishing 8-5 for a second year in a row. Senior Erin Dindoruk scored 53.31 PP20T, while Vishal Puppala contributed 25.74 PP20T for Tav Tavakoli’s team, which has impressed in their first two HSNCT trips. Also coming in at 8-5 were LASA’s B and C teams, led by John DiCarlo and Nishanth Kalavakolanu respectively. These eight underclassmen will be back for another shot next year in Dallas, to be sure.

Tying for 53rd place at 7-5 were the Seven Lakes squad led by Sameer Suresh and Adesh Thapliyal, and the Cistercian group led byt Joshua Maymir and Ethan Scott. Texas’ last playoff team, tying for 77th, was Reagan, led by underclassmen Sam Lin and Abhi Rao.

The remainder of the Texas contingent:
At 5-5: St. Thomas (110th), St. Mark’s B (122nd), Brandeis (143rd), Clark (149th), LASA D (154th), and Cistercian B (164th)
At 4-6: Cinco Ranch (174th), Kealing (178th), Bellaire (179th), Jay (217th)
At 3-7: Boerne Champion (250th)

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Arcadia ends LASA’s three-peat dream

For the first time, NAQT’s High School National Championship first-place trophy is going to Southern California.

Justin Nghiem scored 55 points in the final as Arcadia (16-3) High School from the Los Angeles area beat LASA 410-285 in the HSNCT single-game final in Chicago, preventing a three-peat for the Austin ISD magnet school.

Confronting the same foursome that eliminated them a year ago in the round of 7, with three returning players of their own, Arcadia overcame six negs in the ultimate match (five in the first half; four from captain and leading scorer Kevin Wang) by simply taking control of the direction of the game. Arcadia buzzed first on 17 of the 21 tossups heard, and despite LASA’s 210-135 halftime lead, it was evident that the Californians would determine on their own – positively or negatively – who would claim the title.

For the LASA group of Alex Denko, Forrest Hammel, Corin Wagen and Ethan Russo, it resembled their last on-stage elimination match, the year before as LASA B taking on LASA A. Like last year, they were faced with an opponent that negged six times, mostly in the first half, to spot them a halftime lead. And like last year, they never seized control of their own destiny.

Arcadia’s title run was defined by leaving little doubt in their victories. After their first four games Saturday morning, they simply had no close-call wins. With losses by 15, 35 and 150, they posted 12 Saturday afternoon and Sunday Ws, with none closer than the 125-point final. Their two victories over third-place Detroit Catholic Central (14-4) were by remarkable margins of 430 and 395 points.

Yet when their Sunday win streak ended in a 375-360 loss to LASA in the winners’ bracket final, their fate last year must’ve come to mind. In that tournament, they lost a heartbreaker by 5 to St. John’s at the same stage, never trailing in the match until after the clock expired. They never recovered, losing their next match, 405-305, to Denko, Hammel, Wagen and Russo.

On the flipside of the coin, Sunday’s 15-point win meant LASA could finish no worse than second, simply needing to avoid consecutive losses to claim a third successive crown. They had already beaten DCC by 175 and Eric Xu’s Western Albemarle by 105 before their Arcadia victory, and everything seemed to be lined up for them. Denko had 15 powers in the first 4 LASA wins Sunday, leading them into the first clash with Arcadia – and leading his team with 49.74 points per 20 tossups heard (PP20TUH). Wagen followed with 40.46, and Russo with 36.34.

LASA’s momentum disappeared on the stage in the Grand Ballroom, where DCC stayed alive with a 575-295 drubbing of LASA, posting 12 powers to force a 2-vs.-3 matchup with Arcadia for a place in the final. Jack Watts and Austin Foos combined for 155 points – and nine powers – as the Michigan side left LASA in its wake.

DCC’s ascendance would come to an even more abrupt end when Arcadia arrived after eliminating IMSA (13-5). The Shamrocks wound up on the opposite end of another 12-power performance on the main stage, and an even more lopsided scoreline than they inflicted on LASA: 580-185. Remarkably, Arcadia’s 15-pointers were split evenly across their four players, three going to each.

This set the stage for the final – and the momentum seemed to shift again as Arcadia’s stumbles helped LASA to an early 90-(-10) lead. But LASA never got going, taking little besides what Arcadia donated, and even as a fifth neg – this one protested – allowed LASA an 85-point halftime lead, something had to change.

That change wasn’t coming. Arcadia plowed forward, with only one neg the remainder of the game, to replace the memories of last year’s close call with a story of relentless speed and a devil-may-care attitude to their brief setbacks.

Fitting then, perhaps, that their stat line as a team for the final match reads 6 powers, 6 10s, and 6 negs. Yet this achievement required no selling of souls, nor any sleight of hand – Arcadia reign as deserving, impressive champions.

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Follow Texas’ teams at HSNCT via our score sheet

20 Texas teams are taking part in NAQT’s High School National Championship Tournament on Saturday and Sunday in Chicago. Follow them via our Google sheet. There are four tabs on the bottom: Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. We’ll be updating these as often as we can. Sunday, we’ll add a playoffs tab.

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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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