November 28, 2013 Rankings
4. Seven Lakes (Fall: 19.38 BC; Kickoff: 20.57 BC, 7.8 PPG)
At ACF Fall, the Andi Qi, Sameer Suresh-led Seven Lakes team erased an early 170-0 deficit against LASA B with a furious comeback to earn a final-tossup victory against the team currently in the national top-5. On IS-128, the packet set used at Kickoff and Alamo, Seven Lakes had the 2nd highest bonus conversion in Texas (behind Harmony) and nearly matched Harmony’s power-per-game output.
Finding better individual scoring balance is a top priority for the Katy school; Seven Lakes posted a Littrell score of 4491 at Fall. If coach Jay Jackson can find a pair of players who can join Qi and Suresh and bring the Littrell-number closer to 3000, the bonus conversion numbers would likely surge and their chances of success in the spring will markedly improve.
3. Harmony (Fall: 20.83 BC; Kickoff: 21.06 BC, 7.8 PPG)
TQBC Qualified at Kickoff
There is no better example of quality program development than the Harmony Science Academy-North Austin. In just their 4th quiz bowl season, Coach Adam Escandell has guided his team on a slow and steady rise to state (and national) distinction. Their bonus conversion improvement over four seasons demonstrates their pace of growth: 8.02 (2011 Rodeo), 12.58 (2012 Rodeo), 19.49 (2013 Rodeo), 21.06 (2013 Kickoff).
This fall, Harmony has defeated each of the five teams that follow it in these rankings, and won its first tournament. The team has moved in the top 40 nationally and has to be among the favorites to take top honors at the new Small School National Championship Tournament. As this group moves forward, the play of its supporting players is crucial to its continued ascent. Henry Hawthorn has turned himself into one of the best players in the state, but his teammates can be inconsistent. Their ACF Fall Littrell score of 5084 is concerning. If Harmony is able to find a more consistent and balanced attack, this squad will be among the nation’s best, and would be a threat to beat any team on a given packet.
Notable Wins:xxxxxxSeven Lakes (455-160, Fall), Bellaire (415-220, Kickoff),
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxReagan (350-205, MFT), St. Mark’s (400-235; 330-165 Kickoff),
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxSt. Thomas (305-240, Fall)
HSNCT Quals:xxxxxx(1) Kickoff
2. St. John’s (Fall, 24.83)
In 2013, Carlo De Guzman was the only underclassman chosen as part of the National All-Star Team; along with LASA A’s Nathan Weiser, he’s one of the two best individual players in the state. De Guzman led a short-handed St. John’s team to a near victory at ACF Fall. St. John’s is the only high school team to have defeated #1 LASA A in a match this season and began the fall as the #2 ranked team nationally. Correspondingly, St. John’s Fall bonus conversion (24.83) ranks 2nd nationally among high schools.
As a 2-player, Claire Jones is one of the best in the nation; she was the highest scoring second player at the local ACF Fall. Vinay Gajula stepped up at ACF Fall and has great promise, but the absence of Deven Lahoti (due to illness) was costly in the three tight matches against the best team. Better balance (Fall Littrell index of 4240) will be a key for St. John’s moving forward.
Though not as deep as LASA, St. John’s has one of the deepest programs in the state, alongside Reagan. Without any of the five current players who finished 4th at HSNCT in 2013, St. John’s Red and Black teams both finished with bonus conversions better than 18.00 at Kickoff.
1. LASA A (Fall: 25.14 BC (A), 24.01 BC (B))
TQBC Qualified at ACF Fall
In 2013, Austin’s Liberal Arts and Science Academy, led by National Coach of the Year Jason Flowers, achieved a program milestone with a dramatic victory in the final of the 2013 High School National Championship Tournament. HSNCT hero Nathan Weiser is the only returning member of the winning squad, but his new teammates, all fellow seniors, have shown themselves to be just as formidable as their predecessors.
Weiser, joined by Alex Freed, Ben Jones and Arnav Sastry, began the season ranked as #1 team in the nation. They finished in 3rd at the college event Penn Bowl and defeated national #2 St. John’s twice in three meetings to win the Texas edition of ACF Fall. At that tournament, the foursome displayed almost perfect balance (Littrell number of 2542) and registered the top Bonus Conversion stat in the nation among high schools.
Last year, LASA qualified five teams for the HSNCT and placed four in the playoffs. They are a threat to do the same this season. Their second squad is currently ranked #4 in the nation, finished in the top group at the collegiate Penn Bowl, and finished 3rd at ACF Fall. Its 3rd and 4th teams combined for 10 wins at ACF Fall and should challenge once again for the playoffs at HSNCT. No school has a better 1st team and no school has better depth. LASA is not only the best program in Texas; it is the nation’s top program.