The following article was a guest contribution by Abhinav Karthikeyan, Gus Carvell, Justin Chen, Prat Jai, and Alex Moon.
GDS A (9): GDS’ performance at HFT was exceptional. Matt Siff is one of the country’s best generalists and overall players. However, the key to GDS’ recent success is the flourishing of the other three players on the team. Alex Moon has become a great literature player, consistently powering at both BHSAT and at HFT, even when playing with Matt. Arthur is a very consistent history player and has quickly picked up biology to fill Matt’s holes, resulting in over 2 powers a game at HFT playing with Matt. Nathaniel is a History/CE/trash(?) player who shines on NAQT sets and provides good support to the team. Overall, they had an insane 24.52 ppb at HFT while sweeping the field against national contenders such as Manheim Township, TJ, and Blair, demonstrating their great depth and real knowledge. A very deep run at both nats is likely.
TJ A (13): Composed of history player and captain Will Wang, literature player Ryan Xu, fine arts player Karthik Prasad, and science player Stefan Calin, TJ A will once again be a major force at nationals. The emergence of Stefan in one year of quizbowl has provided TJ with someone who can scale up with relative ease at higher difficulties, although Stefan is known to be somewhat of a wild-card. Ryan is quietly a top 5 literature player in the country, Karthik has some deep knowledge in fine arts, and William Wang consistently puts up outstanding buzzes on history and visual arts, leaving a team with impeccable humanities coverage. All four players scale up very well, and they have good team chemistry as William, Ryan, and Karthik have been playing together for several years. If they can shore up their negging and minor inconsistencies, a very deep run at both nats is likely, with PACE being the team’s strong suit.
Blair A (14): Blair A’s team will likely consist of a core of history player Matthew Shu, history and RMP player Shawn Zhao, and science player Katherine Lei. Katherine is arguably the top science player in the country this year and has the ability to lock teams out of the science distribution. In addition, Katherine is a deadly literature player in certain areas and has the ability to get top-tier fine arts buzzes as well. Matthew and Shawn combine to form an extremely elite history duo, as shown against Millburn A at NHBB last year. Shawn is also extremely good at mythology and religion, picking up strong buzzes in those areas. The fourth player will likely be either Chris Tong, Jason Liu, or Albert Ho. This team’s strength lies on bonuses, and they had 23.77 PPB at HFT. This team will be a strong one at HSNCT and PACE, with experience and team chemistry as the core has played for four years together. The coverage of fine arts and some other areas of literature will be tested against the upper teams in the country, however there is no doubt that Blair A is good enough to beat any team in the country.
RM A (20): RM A is led by generalists Abhinav Karthikeyan and Justin Posner, who both possess deep knowledge in history and literature. Abhinav has insane knowledge in geography, while Justin is excellent at RMPSS, forming a terrifying duo that can lock down the humanities. Their consistent top 5 finishes at NHBB proves that they are one of the strongest history teams in the area. The duo’s coverage is supplemented by Derek Chu, who is a myth/visual fine arts/history player. The team’s science player is still yet to be determined, but it will be either Danesh Sivakumar or Kyle Liao. RM’s weakest subjects are probably science and music, which is not to say that Kyle and Danesh aren’t very good, and if one of them steps up their game RM will do very well over the next two seasons, as they will only graduate Derek this spring. The team’s recent performances can be described as nothing less than “scary”. RM has swept the field at both BHSAT and IS-186, with unadjusted PPBs of 22.24 and 23.64, respectively). RM is on track to make T-15 runs at HSNCT, PACE and NHBB, if not higher at HSNCT due to Abhinav’s geography and sports knowledge. Although RM is currently only ranked 20th, they can beat any team in the top 10 on the right packet.
TJ B (26): TJ B this year consists of the squad that won JV NSC last year. Their captain, Anuraag Kaashyap, is a very good history player with insane mythology knowledge, and his ability to lock down Latin-related things makes him a serious threat against any team. Kevin Zhang is an incredibly good literature player who also knows philosophy and social science, and further supplements the team with strong coverage in physics and math. Vishal Kanigicherla is an amazing biology player who is also very, very good at fine arts with some religion and mythology knowledge as well. Last but not least is their NSC-superstar Vance Kreider, an auditory fine arts monster who also knows miscellaneous categories such as some history and geography. This team took down a “full” Blair A at HFT without Vance or Vishal(!) and averaged 23+ ppb with little fine arts coverage. Watch out for them at nationals – this is without a doubt the top B team in the nation and they could make a very, very deep run at both nats as this team has the skills to challenge even T15 teams.
TJ C (48): TJ C is currently 3 sophomores – Pratyush Jaishanker, Elliot Lee, and Justin Chen. This trio emerged out of nowhere, since last year Justin did not attend TJ and Pratyush and Elliot did not put up any remarkable stats. However, after their performances at MWT and HFT, they have shown their skill. Justin is an excellent literature player that can get consistent powers on all sets, from high school regs to college who also has deep myth and some phil knowledge. Elliot’s history skills have become remarkable this year and he can power history even against top tier teams. He has also started to pick up fine arts. Pratyush is a good science player that can generalize on history and current events, but does neg a lot sometimes. His specialties match HSNCT’s distribution, so a strong performance there is likely. Currently trying to fill some holes and find a fourth player, the team has great synergy as a 3 man (they beat a t25 team as a 3-man!) and can put up good ppb as well. If this team can find a suitable fourth scorer, expect a pretty deep run at both nats.
Centennial A (50): Centennial A this year is led by strong specialist Anthony Duan, who is very good at history and geography. Anthony can power tossups against even top tier specialists and though he can be very inconsistent, he’s an underrated player. While Anthony’s supporting players are good, they don’t have quite the depth of knowledge to make this a consistently top-tier team. Regardless, Mahta Gooya and Carter Matties both put up good performances on HFT and IS-186, helping take down Langley twice and scoring 20.64 and 23.73 PPB at the two tournaments, respectively. Centennial should be able to make a good run at HSNCT, and could also surprise at NSC.
McLean A (56): Mclean hasn’t changed much in the past years, and they still retain insane history player Justin Young. Though they haven’t played too many tournaments this season, they have generally done very well when they have played, such as sweeping Cavalier Classic (IS-188) against solid teams such as Norfolk and BASIS. Young is remarkably good at history, and has superb neg control, going 76/58/3 on 188. This year, Young seems to have picked up a relatively strong freshman, science player Ethan Zhou, who provides good support. Not much can be said about McLean this season as they haven’t played much, but they’ll do well at nats.
BASIS McLean A (58): Basis this year is quite a dark horse. They are led by skilled generalist Justin Ward, who is great at history and combines well with science player Sam Kaufman and supporting player Anna Yang. Last year, Anna got a lot of powers at NSC, and this year, they seem to have improved by leaps and bounds. Basis is a solid team and did very well at IS-186, their only loss being from the undefeated Richard Montgomery A. Although I wouldn’t expect an insanely high finish this year, they will retain most of their scoring and next year they definitely have a good chance to make a deep run at nationals.
Blair B (77): Although Blair B’s current composition is’t finalized, they will be quite good come nationals. The team is led by Chris Tong, an amazing science player who is also very good at geography, and has strong knowledge in music. Chris will be supported by three players from the pool of sophomores Albert Ho, Leela Mehta-Harwitz, Jason Liu, and Martin Brandenburg. Albert is very good at history and can also get great buzzes in other categories. Leela is good at history with some knowledge in other categories such as RMPSS and literature. Jason was a key member of Blair B at NSC last year and is very good at fine arts. Martin is a strong history player, forming an overall solid team. Expect a strong finish at HSNCT especially, but Blair B could do quite well at both nationals.
Langley A (82): As they’ve only played one tournament as a full team, Langley is seriously underrated. Their lead scorer William Orr is one of the most skilled literature players in the area, if not the best, and he’s also very good at fine arts with some other generalism to boot. At BHSAT, William put up over three powers a game while at HFT, he managed an absolutely absurd 4.5 P/G and was the top scorer by 11 points. Although Langley hasn’t entirely filled the hole left by the graduation of Dan Ni, William has better support than many of the other top players in the DMV. Daniel Mousavi is a good science player with quite deep knowledge in biology, Ari Tretiak is a decent generalist who fills holes, and history specialist Aidan Nguyen has rapidly improved throughout the season. It’s probable they will make a deep run at both nats, but they will likely do better at PACE due to William’s specialties.
RM B (129): RM B is led by history player Gus Carvell, who is supported by myth specialist Jaewoo Chung and literature player Michael Xie. Gus is a good generalist who is very good at history and can buzz on some parts of the literature canon, averaging 3 powers a game on BHSAT. However, he does neg a lot, making him a bit inconsistent. Michael is pretty good at literature, and he and Jaewoo are both solid on auditory fine arts. The team will also have whichever science player isn’t on A team, filling out the roster to form a team with very solid coverage. RM B could do pretty well at nats, but will need deeper knowledge to excel on a higher difficulty.
Churchill A (160): Churchill is led by generalist Manu Sundaresan and history player Stevie Miller. Stevie gets crazy powers in history and is decent at the other humanities, particularly RMPSS. Manu is a pretty good generalist who can buzz on the entire HS canon, making an overall balanced team. Though Churchill can pull off upsets thank’s to Stevie’s depth and Manu’s generalism, their third and fourth players haven’t put up the statistical performances this season to make Churchill a serious threat at nationals.
Norfolk Academic Guild A (173): Norfolk is led by Ean Casey, who is a solid generalist with particularly good mythology and literature knowledge. Sadly, aside from Ean, Norfolk isn’t amazingly good. Their stats at Cavalier Classic were reasonable, but Casey doesn’t have much support. If another player decides to step up Norfolk’s dominance may emerge, but at the moment they are simply ok.
Abhinav Karthikeyan is currently a junior at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland. Gus Carvell is currently a sophomore at Richard Montgomery High School. Justin Chen and Prat Jai are currently sophomores at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. Alex Moon is currently a senior at Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC.