PACE NSC Commentary and Coverage

May 27, 2010

First Set of Team-by-Team Previews

Filed under: Team Previews — George Berry @ 8:03 pm

Ok, time to begin a series of team-by-team previews for the teams playing the 2010 PACE NSC.  In this post we will detail the competitive resume of eight of the top teams that look primed to try to take home the title next weekend. All previews were written by myself and Eric Douglass after consulting with other experts.

State College Area High School– Where does one begin to discuss State College A?  Their seemingly limitless mastery of the high school science canon? The outstanding performance at ACF Nationals? The fact that, with the exception of Christoph (replacing the graduated Ben Geselowitz), they are all juniors who have already played in a PACE NSC Championship game? How about the absolute devastation they have left in their wake at every tournament they have played, high school or college?  This is an absolutely scarily good team that will only be better next year.  Clearly the favorite coming into the NSC, but do they have the mental toughness to endure a field as tough and as evenly match as the top of this year’s NSC? Only time will tell. They won the first four NSCs, but have only returned to the title games twice since then. Is this the year they finally get one for the thumb?

Maggie Walker Governor’s School– Last year,  the only team at the NSC that could stop the Maggie Walker team was the Henry Gorman-led Wilmington Charter team. That team has added a real 4th scorer over the course of this year by adding JR Roach to its core of Tommy, Sarah, and Greg. Quite possibly the only team in attendance at the 2010 NSC that has beaten State College. They can certainly pull it off again, but will they?  Consistently lacking the killer streak to buzz with a gut instinct could cause them to drop a game or two. Greg and JR provide a very strong coverage of history and current events, and the team has a very strong coverage of literature when Sarah and Tommy are added to the mix.  Would appear to be the favorite to take on State College in the finals. Maggie Walker is the only team since State College’s run of NSC championships ended to win a second time- will they add a third?

Paul Dorman– Certainly has what it takes to beat either of the above two. Eric Huff coached teams have traditionally done very well at the NSC, including the 2003 championship.  Dorman traditionally plays with  very much an anti-Maggie Walker approach: playing with a ruthless aggression to the point of being able to freeze another team out of its strongest categories by buzzing faster on a guess than the other team can recognize a clue it knows, allowing Dorman to get the win.  Unfortunately, this strategy can quickly blow up in a team’s collective faces if a team becomes too aggressive, giving the other team lots of free points to catch up or pull away. Dorman has performed extremely well the last three years, but returns no one from last year’s A team- Can this new group live up to the Dorman teams that recently have come tantalizingly close to a title? Certainly a super-playoffs contender, could they leap the two teams ahead of them?

Georgetown Day School– Senior Matt Jackson no longer has Ian Eppler around to cover him, but has emerged as a devastating solo player and leader of a team.  He has blown away several PPG marks along the way, including as he won tournaments such as the Delaware Blue Hen while playing solo. However, he has not been able to beat Maggie Walker or State College- perhaps the only black marks on GDS’ record outside of questions of how much he can get from his teammates. GDS hasn’t appeared in the finals of the NSC since losing to State College in 2001- can they get back? GDS is certainly a lock for the playoffs, and will very likely make it to the super-playoffs. Also, GDS is the only team in this grouping that does not regularly “play up” to enter college tournaments, outside of an ACF Winter appearance by Matt. If Matt Jackson can finally topple the Juggernauts above him, he could force his way into the national title game.

St Anselm’s Abbey School– Last year, two members of the St. Anselm’s team were called in to cover for a team that had left, and had previously been almost exclusively an It’s Academic team prior to that spring.  Since then, U.VA-bound Senior Matt Bolllinger has exploded onto the scene as one of the top individual players in the high school game. While Matt’s game often draws comparisons to Matt Jackson, Aidan Mehigan and Jacob Wasserman provide much better support than the secondary scoring of their cross-town rivals. Also unlike GDS, the team consistently is becoming a regular of the college scene, making up for their newness on the scene with more recent play on hard questions.Almost a lock for the super-playoffs, and like GDS, could force their way into the title game picture with a strong upset or two.

Southside– Southside first began to make waves last spring, culminating in a playoff run at the 2009 NSC, where they picked up quality wins against Loyola and Chattahoochee, before beating fellow South Carolina team Dorman.  Since then Southside has appeared at several college tournaments with consistently strong performances, and even traveling to Virginia to play in Maggie Walker’s GSAC tournament, where they were able to take State College to the limit in a very close game. They combine balance with excellent individual performances. Ming Lin and Amit Bilgi often lead tournaments in scoring, and players like Ben Cole provide solid backup. They’re deep enough to field two good teams at most tournaments, so it will be interesting to see what their two NSC teams’ lineups will be.
Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy– For most of the year, no one has been really sure what to make of LASA.  They have been dominating the Texas circuit, but no one was sure how they would compare once they got out to nationals and got to face the other strong teams from the rest of the country. Seemingly taking this criticism as a challenge, LASA flew to New York in the snow and cold of February to play Prison Bowl at Hunter, where they ran over the field, including beating St. Anselm’s and Dorman. Dorman responded by flying out to Texas a few weeks ago to run over the field at a Texas tournament using the NAQT DII-SCT set, including beating LASA multiple times. While the two may not meet at HSNCT, they are almost certain to meet in the NSC playoffs or super-playoffs to settle this growing rivalry.

Hunter College High School– Last year, Hunter College won all three events at the Weekend of Quizbowl, before a deep run into the NSC playoffs. Hunter has recovered well from the loss of Guy Tabachnick, with both Lily Chen and York Chen making sizable contributions.   Lily and York can get a sizable amount of literature and science, but one is left to wonder how competitive they will be at history. Zihan Zheng has strong pockets of deep knowledge- hopefully he can tap into those pockets to allow Hunter to jump some teams that would otherwise be in front of them.  Hunter is probably right below the cut-off to make the super-playoffs, but could force their way win with an upset or two.

Southside, Hunter, and St Anselm’s are all not competing in this year’s NAQT HSNCT, which has its previews at NAQT contender Detroit Country Day School is not playing the PACE NSC.

In the non-distant future, we will have more previews of the teams that are just short of being in this level.



  1. I wish we were coming to this. 😦

    Comment by Andrew Chrzanowski — May 27, 2010 @ 10:53 pm | Reply

    • Then you would probably have gotten a paragraph about Caesar Rodney!

      Comment by George Berry — May 28, 2010 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

      • Aw man, more paragraphs about CR?! Hmph. We might have actually deserved it this time…

        Comment by Andrew Chrzanowski — June 1, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

  2. In the 2 games we’ve played against Hunter, we’ve gotten a total of 1 history tossup. I’d say that’s actually their strong suit.

    Comment by Matt Bollinger — May 27, 2010 @ 11:55 pm | Reply

  3. Southside’s A team for NSC will be Ming Lin, Ben Cole, Neil Luu, and Amit Bilgi.

    Comment by Ming Lin — May 31, 2010 @ 12:12 am | Reply

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