The following article was a guest contribution by Prahalad Rao, Rohan Navaneetha, and Shourjo Ganguli.
Unlike previous years, this season of Ohio Quizbowl kicked off more quietly than usual. With a lot of amazing players graduating in 2021, it’s easy to overlook this side of the Midwest, but several teams remain extremely strong throughout the state. Here is a brief analysis of the Ohio Circuit going into this year:
The Main Powerhouses:
1. Solon A: Although they lost Pranav Sivaram (Science) and Sam Wang (Literature), Solon A recovered relatively well over the summer. Solon A featured two slightly different lineups in as many tournaments, returning senior Grant Maiorana (Fine Arts/Science) and adding juniors Prahalad Rao (History/Current Events) and Rohan Navaneetha (Literature/RMPSS), as well as being joined by senior Shayak Chakrabarti (History) or junior Ethan Feldman (Science). Solon A proved that it could overcome powerful teams, defeating Beavercreek a total of 3 times at two different tournaments, and notching a close win over a strong DCC A team at Beavercreek’s Fall Invitational. They are probably stronger on mACF sets (as evidenced by their 9.5 powers per game on CALISTO II) than they are on NAQT (8.56 p/g). Solon A’s weakness this year is mainly in a diminished science coverage, but also their colossal neg count – 65 negs over a total of 19 games.
2. Beavercreek A: Despite losing three quarters of their team to graduation, Beavercreek also rebounded quite well. Unlike previous years, which featured strong individuals largely carrying the team, this year’s Creek A is shaping up to be a more specialized one. They return a powerful Science/Music specialist in senior Alan Xie, and they promote seniors Arunn Sankar (History/Visual Arts) and Shourjo Ganguli (Literature), as well as sophomore Anna Kuang (Fine Arts). Beavercreek achieved 7 powers per game and a second place finish at Miami Valley, losing twice in relatively close games to Solon A. However, at their own tournament, they struggled somewhat, leading the field in negs and losing to Solon 545-175 in the finals play-in game. Beavercreek’s one advantage is that Arunn, Alan, and Shourjo played together at several tournaments throughout the 2020-2021 season, helping them to work more seamlessly as a team.
3. Copley A: Traditionally a powerful team in Northeast Ohio, Copley graduated its main scorer Nathan Hazlett, as well as Science specialist Ryan Pinard and supporting scorer Nick Carrino. Junior Ryan Lee, no longer playing in Nathan’s shadow, seems to have exponentially improved over the summer, as evidenced by his 44/28/10 statline in 7 games at the Summit County Academic Challenge League; he is currently the leading scorer in the field. He is supported by junior Rachel Young, who also seems to have improved a lot, as well as juniors Abhi Medapati, Dylan Stuckey, and Joshua Garner.
4. Northmont A: Despite a lackluster start to their season, with relatively poor performances at Scottie and UK Fall, Northmont proved that they are still a relatively strong team with a good performance at the Columbian Exposition. Northmont’s lineup seems fluid this year, consisting of main scorers Adam Williams and Avery Rieger (both sophomores) as well as freshman Ethan Kral, and being supported on-and-off by sophomores Ryan Fitzgerald and Bridget Scranton. Northmont suffered the entire loss of their previous A team, and it’s likely that they might take a few years to recover to the level that they once were at. Still, with two tournament wins as of October, they are well on their way to remaining a top team in Ohio.
5. Toledo School for the Arts: A relatively unknown team until last season, TSA had an amazing year, sweeping the Varsity Division of the Toledo Area League, placing 6th overall at AQBL’s February Invitational, and finishing 2nd at the OAC Northcoast/Northwest Regional, where they lost only to Solon A. TSA is led by main scorer Calvin Bostleman, who has deep knowledge in a wide array of subjects, but appears to be a Science/Literature specialist for the most part. Their main problem this year is probably a lack of scoring support for Calvin from his teammates, but if the 2021 Toledo Area League is any indicator, they have already begun to turn that around.
Mason: Despite largely flying under the radar last year, where they only competed at the OAC Southwest Regional and UK Spring, Mason had a relatively decent performance at Beavercreek’s Fall Invitational, boasting the fifth-highest points-per-bonus in the field (exactly 20.00). Their strongest player appears to be Colin Owen, who has some deep knowledge in history and literature. Mason’s problem seems to be Colin’s lack of support in scoring from his teammates, but if they can turn that around they will potentially be one of Ohio’s strongest teams this year.
Solon B: After moving Prahalad and Rohan (and occasionally Ethan Feldman) up to A, this year’s Solon B will largely consist of last year’s Solon C. Sophomores Varun Sathyajeeth (History/Geography), Sarah Dong (Fine Arts/Biology), and Prajval Kesireddy (Science) have all shown great improvement in their categories over the last year, and will probably be mainstays on this year’s iteration of Solon B. Freshmen Kartik Bhat (Fine Arts) and Yashwin Kunam (Science/History) have also performed well playing on Solon B this year.
Miami Valley: MVS retains junior Andrew Holzinger, sophomore Arshaan Kahlon, and senior Lakshmi Jain, their second, third, and fourth scorers, respectively, from last year. After graduating William Groger, who was arguably the best player in the state, the three of them will have to get used to playing outside of William’s shadow. Still, Andrew’s strong performance on IS-204, as well as the three players’ history of performing strongly, especially on NAQT, indicates that MVS could potentially recover to the level of being one of the top 4 or 5 teams in Ohio.
Walnut Hills: While they don’t play many tournaments, they had an impressive 7th place finish at the OAC State Championship, and a 9th place finish at the NAQT State Championship. While not as well rounded as many of the other top teams, Walnut Hills does boast a strong coverage of History, Science, and Geography. Their leading scorers this year seem to be seniors Benjamin Liu and Nikhil Kothari. Walnut Hills finished 5th overall at Miami Valley’s Kickoff tournament, and averaged around 3 powers per game.
Benjamin Logan: Ben Logan had a good season last year, with decent performances at Columbian, Tippecanoe, and Pettisville. They are led by juniors George Ahuntae and Isaac Napier. While they struggle to scale up to regular difficulty on most categories (other than History), Ben Logan had a good performance on this year’s SCOP Novice at the 2021 Columbian Exposition.
Prahalad Rao is currently a junior at Solon High School in Solon, Ohio. Rohan Navaneetha is currently a junior at Solon High School. Shourjo Ganguli is currently a senior at Beavercreek High School in Beavercreek, Ohio.