The following article was a guest contribution by Abhinav Karthikeyan and Chris Tong
1. Thomas Jefferson High School A
Undisputed #1 team in the country and PACE title favorites, TJ A has proved itself on many sets and contains extreme depth that is almost unheard of. Led by the aforementioned and formidable Fred Zhang, TJ A’s players contain extreme depth and can power at any level. James Kuang, the literature player has put up gaudy stats at nearly every tournament he’s gone to (even hard college ones!). Kuang had 9 powers at Sun God Invitational and an absolutely absurd 21 powers at Penn Bowl. He definitely has the depth to power at PACE and HSNCT. Fred Zhang, is not only one of the, if not best history players in the country, he is extremely good at science and can also get questions at higher difficulties in subjects such as fine arts and thought. Kevin Wang is one of the most talented music players in the country and has amazing depth in music, but in my experience playing him, can also power history and other current events questions. Even without a decided fourth player, TJ A is already a favorite to win not only PACE, but HSNCT as well. They have proven very well that they are the #1 team in the country.
2. Montgomery Blair A
Blair A is made up of humanities generalists Anson Berns and Sophia Weng, science player Katherine Lei, and history player Matthew Shu. Katherine is one of the top science players in the country, especially on biology, where on HS-nats difficulty, I would not be surprised if she powered every non-stupid biology tossup and 30ed every bonus. She is also remarkably consistent and rarely negs. Anson covers literature very well, being one of the top literature players in the country, and Sophia covers well for the infrequent gaps in his knowledge. The both of them also cover visual art and RMPSS, with music being their only weak spot. Matthew also has very deep history knowledge and can put up high power numbers. The team will occasionally neg or play inconsistently, however. If Blair can fine-tune a few of their minor issues, I definitely see them contending for both the HSNCT and the PACE title.
3. Richard Montgomery High School A
Richard Montgomery A’s team will differ for PACE and HSNCT (not decided yet), but A at HSNCT will definitely consist of Daniel Yang, Olivia Chen, and Abhinav Karthikeyan. Daniel Yang is one of the most talented players in the DC Metro Area providing in depth coverage in science, RMP, music, and some literature. He does not neg that often and often powers all questions in science and mythology. Olivia Chen is one of the top literature and fine art players in the country, up there with Anson Berns, Olivia Lamberti, and co. Her remarkable depth in literature is also complemented by her depth in fine arts. Together, Olivia and Daniel cover nearly all the canon. Abhinav is the main history and geography player, very good at the latter, which comes in handy at HSNCT. He can put up high power numbers, especially on NAQT sets due to his geo, current events, and history knowledge. Abhinav also can powers sports questions almost all the time. He can neg a lot in some games, so he has to work on that and getting some more depth before nationals. With some more studying before nationals, RM A could definitely contend for a high ranking at HSNCT. Fourth player at HSNCT is currently decided between Derek Chu (history player), Kevin Lu (NAQT/Generalist), and Justin Posner (History, RMP, Lit). At PACE, RM’s A team will almost definitely consist of Olivia, Daniel, Justin, and Derek. Justin’s a history-focused generalist, who reads a lot and can cross-category power at PACE-level. His depth of knowledge is absurd and although he can neg a lot in some situations, he definitely brings a new and dangerous element to the RM A team. Derek Chu is a very talented history player who fills in a lot of Justin’s gaps and also can power PACE-level mythology and philosophy. I think RM has a better shot at HSNCT because of more variability than PACE, but time will tell!
GDS is led by the notorious Matt Siff who provides very good and amazing coverage in most of the humanities. He is accompanied by sophomore Arthur, who is very decent in history. I am not sure who their third and fourth players will be, but in the ranks include Alex Moon, a very decent literature player. If GDS can improve their supporting cast to Matt Siff, watch out for them at PACE.
5. TJ B
TJ B will probably consist of some combination of Ben Xu, Julia Zhou, William Wang, Sohom Paul, and Prithvi Nathan (one of them will be on A, the rest on B). All these players are amazing in their own right. William Wang is an amazing history player with tons of depth and also specializes in fine arts (I think?). From what I’ve seen, Sohom is very decent in science coverage, especially chemistry. Julia Zhou is a bio and literature player, who can make many good buzzes and can contribute on many categories. Ben Xu is a fine-arts focused generalist who put up very good stats at RMBAT. Prithvi Nathan is a geo/history specialist, who is very very good at geography (can attest from geobee days), and can provide a great boost at HSNCT. This is probably the best B team in the country and the collection of talent is absurd. They’ll probably have a decent run in playoffs at HSNCT and do very good at PACE!
6. Montgomery Blair B
Blair B consists of generalist Ian Rackow, science player Chris Tong, history player Shawn Zhao, and fine arts player Jason Liu, all of whom have decent generalism skills. Their biggest weakness is definitely literature, where nobody is competent in, while their strongest subject is probably music, with Ian and Jason having specialist-level music knowledge and Chris and Shawn being competent at it as well. Additionally, they have decent combined history knowledge, especially with Shawn being very deep in certain areas. Their performance in science will depend on how Chris plays, which can vary wildly depending on which sweater he’s wearing. The four of them have never played together at a tournament together, however, and will probably have consistency and negging issues. If they can get over those, they might be able to pull off some upsets at nationals.
Centennial consists of history specialist Anthony Duan and some other people. Anthony is one of the top sophomore history players, with insanely deep knowledge in African history for some reason (he firstlined a tossup on [redacted for potentially unclear set content]). As of now, we don’t really know anything about the rest of their team. Thomas is a MOPper, but the non computational nature of quizbowl questions hurts his ability, and we also don’t know if he’s going to either nats. The other various members of Centennial aren’t that good, but will occasionally make some deep buzzes. Adam Knox is very good at trash, which definitely comes in handy at HSNCT. They probably won’t be too bad, but I think they will be just in or out of the playoffs at HSNCT; I don’t expect them to come anywhere close to last years’ 7th place finish.
Abhinav Karthikeyan is currently a sophomore at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland. Chris Tong is currently a sophomore at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland.