PACE NSC Commentary and Coverage

June 2, 2010

Previews, Part 2

Filed under: Team Previews — George Berry @ 12:01 am

Earlier, we previewed eight of the top big name teams that would be in attendance at this year’s NSC. In that same vein, as our Pre-NSC coverage continues, here are some more, albeit shorter, shout-outs to other teams that could have a very good weekend.  Again, thanks to Eric Douglass for helping all this come together so quickly.

Thomas Jefferson– How could it be a NSC without a strong showing from Thomas Jefferson? The team that seemed to be falling apart in the weeks before last year’s NSC has been replaced by a team of juniors that gets along much better. They beat a Maggie Walker team that was missing JR at NAQT states, and came close to pulling it off again at Prison Bowl and at NAQT Mid-Atlantic Regionals.  TJ A had a disappointing finish at HSNCT, but should still finish strong this weekend. While generally a step behind the rest of the top level teams, on the right packet they can hang with just about anyone. Should make the playoffs and finish anywhere from the middle to bottom of their playoff bracket, but this team is built for next year. TJ B will be decent, but inconsistent.

Dunbar– The central question here appears to be: will the full Dunbar A appear? Lately Dunbar has routinely been missing starters at tournaments and it has hurt their performance.  They were shorthanded at HSNCT according to reports, and that will send expectations for them tumbling going into the NSC. Expect a finish in the playoffs if they are at full strength, and if they aren’t either in the bottom of the playoffs or if they get a bad draw just outside where they can tear up the consolation playoffs.

Charter School of Wilmington– After finally winning a title for coach Bill Tressler at the 2009 NSC, can Charter keep its drive and motivation to add another title to their shelf?  The last team to return to the title game after winning the tournament was the 2000-01 State College team. Henry Gorman and Neeraj Vijay will be missed, but Charter is certainly not out of it by a longshot. Charter has seen its in-state dominance threatened recently by the rising Caesar Rodney program, and will be looking to show that they are still one of the national elite by way of a deep run through the playoffs in hopes of re-capturing the championship.
Alpharetta– While perhaps not the best team in Georgia, Alpharetta is almost certainly led by one of the state’s best individual players. William Horton has developed in a very solid player that will likely have few issues adjusting up to the harder questions of the NSC. This is Alpharetta’s first NSC, so a team not familiar with their brand name might find themselves behind pretty quickly once William starts getting some tossups early. Will certainly have a solid chance at the playoffs, but doubts remain as to how far this team can go in their first year at PACE.

Torrey Pines– Stephen Liu continues the tradition of a very strong player emerging from Southern California, following the footsteps of Auroni Gupta and Anurag Kashyap.  He comes billed as a very strong generalist in his own right, but there is cause for concern regarding the lack of support he will be able to pull out of his teammates. Torrey Pines acquitted themselves fairly well at HSNCT, and certainly remain a contender for best dressed. Of course, as Ike Jose displayed last year in his game against State College, a dominant single player can top the more balanced team if he gets hot at the right time.  Probably a middle of the playoff brackets finish can be expected.

Hoover– According to one source, they are “very strong in history, but with a major gap in science.” Easily the best team in Alabama the past two years, firmly supplanting the Brindlee Mountain dynasty. They have yet to make a major splash on the national scene however, so they could end up overlooked. As with Alpharetta, this is also their first NSC, so it has yet to be seen how well they will rise to the occasion.  Hoover could end up in the playoffs, but has just as likely a chance of just missing them.  It will really come down to who they have to play to get in.

St. Joseph’s– This is a team that WINS GAMES!!!!!!!!!! Their coach— the ever dynamic ED POWERS, remains one of the nicest guys in quizbowl, even in defeat, and his team seems eager to continue their rapid ascent up the ranks of the good teams in the northeast.  They really do know how to win games, shown in their history of repeatedly beating statistically stronger teams, suggesting a HIGHER GEAR they can switch into when the going gets tough.  They will need to keep that higher gear all weekend, as at PACE a game with your guard down quickly can slip away and become a game lost.

Rockford Auburn– Lloyd Sy and Zahed Haseeb seem to have done a good job taking over for Siva Sundaram on a team that finished in the top 10 at the 2009 NSC. Another top ten finish in 2010 will be a tall order, but they appear to be a statistically well rounded team. They have consistently appeared to be the Cream of the Crop in Illinois this year, and that should continue at NSC. They should still make the playoffs, but don’t expect a super-playoffs appearance unless they play much better than expected.
Adlai Stevenson- Returning to NSC for the first time since 2001, Adlai Stevenson will be unfamiliar to many of the non-Illinois teams, but they have been pretty competitive in their pretty competitive home state. They beat Rockford to win the NIU ATROPHY tournament in April, and they posted impressive bonus conversion stats at the Illinois NAQT championships. It’s safe to say they’ll win some games at NSC.

Detroit Central Catholic– Former NSC champions Detroit Central Catholic would like nothing more than to return their team and state back to the NSC title picture, after the early dominance of Michigan teams falling just short to State College gave way to the era of the Mid-Atlantic after Richard Montgomery’s surprise win in 2002. However, the team has taken a step back this year. DCC has historically been one of the strongest teams in the mid-west, but with Bryan Berend and Brett Harrison having moved on, can DCC find its way back to the NSC playoffs? . DCC turned in another impressive performance at this year’s HSNCT, but last year finished 4th at HSNCT after finishing in the bottom of the NSC playoffs.

duPont Manual– duPont Manual often gets a hard time for their aggressive style- commentaters are quick to note that they neg themselves out of games, giving such claims as “duPont Manual and negs go together like milk and cookies,” and citing their performance at the 2009 HSNCT, and on NAQT questions in general, where 3-4 negs is a good game for them, and can get as bad as 7-9.  But when they can keep the negs down, they can win games.  Look for them to be in the playoffs, if they can keep their aggression working in their favor.

Walt Whitman– Two years later, the team from Whitman that won 2008 NSC over Thomas Jefferson in an incredibly intense final has all moved on, with Doug Graebner left to try to push Whitman back to the top.  Whitman still has a very good chance to make the playoffs but could easily be knocked off by a hungry challenger eager to make a statement.

Walter Johnson– Last year, Walter Johnson was the only team in the field to beat eventual champion Charter. Kuo-Kai Chin appears to have stepped up after the departure of Daichi Ueda, but Walter Johnson is probably lacking the firepower to pull off more than one to two big wins. Walter Johnson will probably be returning to the playoffs, but don’t expect as strong a performance as they got in the Ueda years.



  1. WJ has played great whenever they heard mACF questions, and i expect them to maybe place the highest of all the teams you listed here. They’ve been consistently underrated this year (by me as well) largely from people assuming they could never be good again with Daichi, but also because they just didn’t attend that much stuff. Kuo-Kai is a studying machine though and he can absolutely take over games on his own. With the improvement that his teammates have been making in the last few months (see HSNCT stats), they can really be a force.

    Comment by Andrew Chrzanowski — June 2, 2010 @ 11:09 am | Reply

  2. Oh, duPont Manual is shorthanded — missing our science, music/opera, and myth player

    Comment by Nick — June 5, 2010 @ 10:06 pm | Reply

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