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2015 NATIONAL ACADEMIC CHAMPIONSHIP HIGHLIGHTS

New Orleans Phase 2015

Deep South Rules in New Orleans
Teams from New Orleans, Atlanta, and Birmingham Triumph

Pingry, a Perennial Powehouse

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Left to right: Coach Malla Godfrey, Abhiram Karuppur, Greg Cortazo, Will DiGrande, Andrew Verdesca

In a wild Memorial Day, the final matches in each division, Middle School, High School JV, and High School Varsity were not decided until the last question.

New Orleans Lusher Charter School, in only their second year at Nationals, entered the playoffs ranked No. 2, and advanced all the way to the last High School Varsity game in New Orleans. Earlier in the playoffs, they defeated Bayside 370-165 and Gadsden 400-230. Meanwhile, Pingry, seeded No. 1, found themselves in the last game after beating defending champs Jesuit 410-225 and Buckhorn 445-155.

Pingry finished No. 2 in the nation in 2013 and 2014. This year they returned with the same team that finished 2nd in 2014. In this year's last New Orleans Varsity match Lusher led after the first period, 55-40. Pingry, however, owned the bonus round. They grabbed four of the five bonus opportunities. They swept the SELF PORTRAIT visual bonus and the U.S. NEWS bonus, surging ahead to a 160-75 lead at halftime. In the Sixty Seconds Round, a rare double-sweep saw Lusher get all 10 right in the mystery category, which turned out to be Mars; and Pingry answered by running the FAMOUS FEMALE POLITICIANS category. Pingry, then, entered the "Stump the Experts" round with that same 85-point lead.

Pingry extended that lead to 100 after identifying "neutralization" after hearing definitions of the word in Linguistics, Immunology, and Chemistry. Then Lusher erupted, with eight correct answers compared to Pingry's one the rest of the way. Their answers included Temperate rainforest, James Baldwin, Spanish-American War, Local Group, 1.5 liters in a quantitative Chemistry problem, and identifying the Russian language after hearing a choral music excerpt. They still trailed Pingry, 305-315, going into the last question. "Under Texas law, many agencies are to be abolished 12 years after creation. What do we call such a provision within a law that specifically abolishes that law after a given period of time unless expressly renewed by the government?" Lusher answered "Sunset Clause," winning the most dramatic Semifinal game ever, 325-315. They had overcome a 100-point fourth-quarter deficit, also an alltime record. They ended up 9-0. It was the second consecutive year a New Orleans team won the New Orleans phase. Pingry applauded their opponents after the game, an exceptional display of goodsportsmanship.

The Lusher team moments after victory

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Left to right: Keely Mizell, Zoe Almaraz, Isabelle Donahue, Betsy Hogan, Tiago Beaulieu, Cameron Cinel, Saul Schaffer , Coach Steven Pape

Junior Varsity

In the 6th annual Junior Varsity division play at the National Academic Championship, Altamont's A & B teams both advanced to the Final Four. Jesuit defeated Altamont B, and Altamont A overcame Gadsden. Altamont edged Jesuit in the final match, by a score of 265-260.

Altamont A, New Orleans JV champ

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Left to right: Coach Buck Crowe, Vivek Sasse, Asher Desai, Robert Denniston, Lincoln Sorscher, Arjun Guru

New Orleans MVP

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Lusher Varsity's Cameron Cinel, MVP

Who Wants to Be a Game Show Host?

Another edition of our "reality show," WHO WANTS TO BE A GAME SHOW HOST? was conducted. Students (graduating seniors) were invited to audition as moderators, and coaches played the game. Students understood the event to be a real audition for a job as one of the moderators at next year's Nationals. This year's winner was Sarah Kennedy Duncan from Jackson Prep.

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Sarah Kennedy Duncan

Washington Phase 2015

EL PASO'S CORONADO HIGH SCHOOL BREAKS ON THROUGH!
Harrison takes JV

Coronado advanced to the last DC Varsity game for the third year in a row. Losing out the last two years -- in 2014, they were edged out by Horace Greeley (NY) on the last question -- this time they won it, a narrow victory over a powerful West Chester East team. Their road to the final match saw them defeat Yorktown (VA) 455-190; Jenks (OK) 330-275; and Harrison (IN) 370-260. Meanwhile, East Varsity overcame Smithtown West, 355-280; No. 1- seeded James Bennett (MD) 335-260; and Saratoga Springs, 390-180.

East Varsity led 55-45 after the first period. But Coronado grabbed the first bonus-round tossup, on "crop rotation," and swept the ensuing EXTINCTION bonus. East Varsity answered a tossup about "Aramaic," and picked up 15 points on the NOVEL QUOTATIONS bonus. Coronado answered a tossup about "Aristotle," adding 15 on the NONFICTION FILMS bonus. East Varsity got "Beethoven" from an audio clue, and took the lead after they swept the MARTIAL ARTS bonus. Coronado answered "Excelsior" on the next tossup but managed only 5 points on the LITERARY CHARACTERS bonus. They led at halftime, 125-120. A perfectly symmetrical 60 Seconds round saw a 90-10 split on both East Varsity's category (MEDITERRANEAN ISLANDS) and Coronado's SAY THANK YOU foreign-language category. Three quick tossups in a row saw Coronado take a 55-point lead on answers of: Lohengrin, A Midsummer Night's Dream; Azerbaijan; and arranging four wars in correct chronological order. East Varsity got 20 points after identifying Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and Richie Valens after audio clues. Coronado got 15 on a Trig problem and pulled to within 20 points of the lead after identifying Venus of Urbino. Three unanswered 20- pointers gave Coronado a 355-275 lead: they identified a Roy Lichtenstein painting; a Molecular Biology term, and then their most impressive answer of the game: they got Alexander Nevsky before music from the classic Eisenstein film was heard. East Varsity got two in a row, including the last score of the game, on Current Events: Speaking to Islamic clerics, the president of this country said it is time to "revolutionize our religion." He lamented that extreme interpretations of Islam have antagonized the entire world, and challenged religious leaders to revise their teaching. Of which country is Abdel Fattah al-Sisi currently president? (Ans. Egypt) Coronado won it by a score of 355-310.

The Coronado team moments after victory

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Left to right: Coach Matthew Ballway, Andrew Paton, Luke Minton, Sheel Patel, Teddy Cai

Coronado had two players -- Luke Minton and Andrew Paton -- who had been with the team the previous two years, during their runs to the final DC contest.

West Chester East Varsity

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First row: (l to r) Kee Harish, Josh Donovan, Andrew Cheng, Joe Mariani (holding the trophy), Tracy Heim (coach),
Chip Beall, Charlie Porter, Charlie Barton

Second row: (l to r) Rohit Goyal, Kevin Diestelow, Aaron Harman, Philip Mathew, Matt Heeb, Stanley Timson,
Jon McKellar

Other Giants

James Bennett (MD) participates at Nationals most years. Often they make the playoffs, but this is the best Bennett team we've ever seen. Undefeated in the prelims, entering the playoffs ranked No. 1, defeating North Forsyth (GA) 370-250 before West Chester East pulled a 335-260 upset. The same can be said about Saratoga Springs (NY), which advanced to the DC final four after pulling major upsets over two Westchester County teams, White Plains and Briarcliff, before they met their match in East Varsity. But it's the best Saratoga Springs team we've ever seen

Junior Varsity

It was a great year for West Chester East, whose JV team advanced to the final DC match for the second consecutive year. Harrison (IN), no stranger to JV or Varsity playoff games, won the day by a score of 245-205

Harrison JV

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Left to right: Coach Beth Zeh, Lincoln Weber, Ben Anthony, Agustin Garcia, Thomas Kennell, Carl Landskrond, Kensington Eiler, Julie Lee

Auditions

North Forsyth's Justin Ebert won the DC version of WHO WANTS TO BE A GAME SHOW HOST.

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Justin Ebert

DC MVP

Coronado's Luke Minton, for the second consecutive year, was named MVP.

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Lusher Varsity's Cameron Cinel, MVP

A Fond Farewell

Watson Chapel High School (AR) has been a contender at Nationals for the past five years. Coach Ronette Metcalf is retiring. We thank her for bringing consistently competitive teams to Nationals, and wish her the best!

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Coach Ronette Metcalf

Chicago Phase 2015

BISHOP KELLEY FROM TULSA WINS CHICAGO

First timers Henderson County (KY) entered the playoffs ranked #7, but they defeated John Cooper (TX) 305-240; Houston (TN) 335-290; and Lakewood (OH) 245-235 to advance to the final match of teams competing in Chicago. Meanwhile, Tulsa's Bishop Kelley, seeded No. 1, defeated St. John's (MA) 345-265 and Gehlen Catholic 380-215.

Bishop Kelley

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Left to right: Wyatt Evans, Mitchell McKinstry, Devin Raine, Joseph Mellor, Jack Powell, Gabe Bingham

Henderson County vs. Bishop Kelley

Henderson County trailed Bishop Kelley, 35-60 after the first period. Henderson County's sweep of the VOCABULARY bonus helped them achieve a 100-100 tie at halftime. The 60 Seconds Round was perfectly symmetrical, with Henderson County gaining 90-10 on the mystery category THREE-LETTER WORDS, and Bishop Kelley gaining 90-10 on THE ROMAN EMPIRE. A 200-200 tie going into the final period! Henderson County's 20-point scores included a visual question: "Emmanuel Radnitzky was the original name of this photographer who had a major role in Dadaism & Surrealism. By what name is he better known?" (Ans. Man Ray) and Astronomy: "This type of star is named for a constellation of an Ethiopian king that contains the first star of its kind ever identified. What is this type of variable star that Edwin Hubble used as a distance marker to determine that the Andromeda Nebula was a separate galaxy?" (Ans. Cepheid variable) Bishop Kelley's 20-pointers included one on Analytical Geometry and one on nations with the most Muslims. Bishop Kelley won it by a final score of 300-255.

Henderson County

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(l to r) Sarah Hardy, Isaac Oettle, Zach Beickman, Austin Meredith, Jack Hardy, Lance Gibson, Cole Privette, Will Hardy

Junior Varsity

Chicago MVP

Bishop Kelley's Wyatt Evans was named Most Valuable Player.

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MVP Wyatt Evans

Auditions

Collin McLeod from Houston High School (TN) won the Chicago version of WHO WANTS TO BE A GAME SHOW HOST.

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Collin Mcleod

The Circle of Death
For the first time ever, this year's three-team double-elimination event took five games:

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Louisiana vs. Oklahoma vs. Texas! Lusher defeated Kelley in the first match, 305-240. Lusher then beat Coronado 305-265, aided by their sweep of the LANGUAGE category in 60 Seconds. Coronado then won out over Kelley, 430-260, in a game highlighted by Coronado's Luke Minton single-handedly adding 105 points with six consecutive correct "Stump the Experts" answers: Macular degeneration, Hooke's Law, Der Blaue Reiter (from a visual clue), Archetype, The Second Sex, and Glorious Revolution. The fourth match featured Lusher and Coronado again. After Lusher swept another 60 Seconds category -- HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY -- they took the lead over Coronado, 235-230 going into the final period. Trailing Lusher, 285-260, Coronado collected 95 unanswered points with answers on Caravaggio, Alfred Nobel, Analytic Geometry, Symphonie Fantastique, and this one: "Match each of the four poetic meters to the word which exemplifies it. Meters: anapestic, dactylic, iambic, trochaic. Examples: merrily, barter, understand, rehearse." (Ans. Anapestic, understand; dactylic, merrily; iambic, rehearse; trochaic, barter) Coronado won it, 355-300.

That forced an unprecedented fifth Circle of Death game, as Lusher and Coronado were 1-1 against each other. That game was tied at halftime at 115 apiece! But Coronado swept their 60 Seconds category, WORLD WAR I, and entered the final period with a 265-185 lead. In Stump the Experts, they ran off a string of 135 unanswered points, with answers of: Creedence Clearwater Revival (audio clue), Lorraine Motel, sugar molecules, ellipse, Paul Klee (visual clue), Shield volcano, Peter the Great, Gouache. The third meeting of the two teams ended with a decisive win for the Texas team, 445-215. It was the fourth national championship for a Texas team; Dallas Skyline won in 1985, Houston Eisenhower defeated Virginia's Maggie Walker Governor's School in 1996, and John Cooper won in 2009.

Prizes

  • $3,000 for Coronado
  • $2,000 for Lusher
  • $1,000 for Bishop Kelley

El Paso Coronado, second in DC in 2013, 2014 ... Nationals Champs in 2015

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(l to r) Sheel Patel, Teddy Cai, Coach Matthew Ballway, Andrew Paton, Luke Minton

Junior Varsity

We hadn't seen St. Thomas (MN) for several years. Their varsity team made the playoffs every year they participated, and they won it all in 2004. This year, they brought a fine JV team, which advanced to the final Chicago match. They were out-dueled by Daviess County (KY) 330-245. This was Daviess County's second JV national championship. No. 2 in the nation: Altamont, also undefeated. No. 3: Harrison High.

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(l to r) Evan Clark, Mason Clark, Karli Sanders Max Smith, Jasmyne Post, Eli Cooper, Stephen Ward

Daviess County JV averaged an astounding 375 points per game. That's more than Varsity Champ Coronado! And JV games are not designed to be more difficult than Varsity games, so naturally we expect lower scores in JV. Obviously, however, Coronado faced a higher competitive field in the Varsity division than Daviess County did in JV. But it's interesting to imagine how far Daviess County might have advanced in the Varsity division. Nonetheless, 2015 Daviess County is by far the best JV team we've ever seen, and they earned the $1,000 prize for top JV team.

Coach of the Year

Pingry's Malla Godfrey led her team to the national semifinals for the third consecutive year. This year Pingry finished No. 1 in the nation with a 387 points-per-game average.

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Malla Godfrey

Rookie of the Year

As a national semifinalist, Henderson County was the obvious choice for top honors among first-timers. Gehlen Catholic (IA) was also an impressive rookie team, defeating Plano (TX) and Detroit Jesuit, advancing to the Chicago Final Four.

Scoring Leaders

At the NAA, we judge teams not only on tournament progress (how far they advanced in the competition), but also on average points, and seldom does a team lead the league in both. Last year, New Orleans Jesuit finished No. 1 in points, at 363, as well as tournament progress. This year Pingry earned top honors in points with a 387 points-per-game average. Coronado finished second at 359; James Bennett and Bishop Kelley tied for third at 341.

Kentucky Rules

The most impressive state at this year's tournament was Kentucky. Anchorage Middle School advanced to the Elite Eight in New Orleans. Johnson County Middle School won DC. Henderson County finished second in the Chicago Varsity division. Daviess County, for the second time, captured the national JV title. Danville Bate and Edmonson County both advanced to the Middle School playoffs in Chicago. With the most Alabama teams ever at Nationals, they distinguished themselves in New Orleans: four of the Elite Eight in New Orleans Varsity div. were Alabama teams -- Bayside, Gadsden, Buckhorn, and Sparkman -- and two of the Final Four were from Alabama. Three of the Final Four JV teams were from Alabama, with Altamont winning out.

Tennessee and South Dakota

T For the first time ever, a South Dakota team advanced to the playoffs. Congratulations to first-time participant Spearfish High School. First-timer Houston High School became the first Tennessee team to make the playoffs since 1985, when University School from Nashville finished second in the nation.

Arkansas Eclipses New York

For the first 17 years, Texas had more teams than any other state at the National Academic Championship. From 2000-2014, New York led the league. This year, Arkansas had the most teams -- 24 to New York's 20. A major reason is that most Arkansas middle schools/junior highs have quiz bowl teams, while most in New York do not.

Small-School Champs

We crown a champion from among the small schools that come to Nationals (defined as any school with 500 or fewer students in grades 10-12 and a non-selective admissions policy). This year, Gehlen Catholic edged out Briarcliff by advancing to the Chicago Final Four.

Gehlen Catholic

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(l to r): Megan Kellen, Drew Dickman, Jozef Lamfers, Nathan Klein, David Puhl (captain) and Aaron Stoll

Qualifying for 2016 Nationals

Keep in mind that all 2015 playoff teams have automatically qualified for NAC XXXIV. Return to QUnlimited.com in September, when information on our next QuizNet and 3-2-1 events will be posted. We will also provide details on next year's National Academic Championship

Hall of Fame

Induction into the Hall of Fame means joining a very select group. In the past 32 years, only 21 players had made it. This year, Coronado's Luke Minton joined the assembly of immortals. He's the only junior ever to be so honored! Luke was instrumental in Coronado's second-in-DC finishes in 2013 and 2014, was named DC MVP in 2014 and 2015, and this year he led Coronado to finishing No. 1 in the nation

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Luke Minton

Next Year's Champs?

Yikes! Luke Minton returns in 2016 as a senior. Coronado remains the team to beat in 2016.

Hall of Fame

Induction into the Hall of Fame means joining a very select group.  In the past 31 years, only 19 players had made it.  This year, two joined the assembly of immortals.  Max Smiley led Horace Greeley to the national title in 2013 and to winning DC in 2014.  Kevin Yokum was New Orleans MVP in 2013 and in 2014 led Jesuit to finishing No. 1 in the nation.

  • Mike Keller (Irmo, SC, '85-87)
  • Eric Evans (Granville, OH, '88-89)
  • Jim Paluszak (Dorman, SC, '89-91)
  • Matt Bruce (Booker T. Washington, OK, '89-92)
  • Mark Staloff (East Brunswick, NJ, '94)
  • Brad Rutter (Manheim Township, PA, '92-95)
  • Brad Harris (James Island, SC, '92-95)
  • Amanda Goad (Governor's School, VA, '93-96)
  • Scott Petty (Houston Eisenhower '95 and Houston Memorial '96)
  • Justin Powell (James Island, SC '95-98)
  • Ryan Cooper (James Island, SC '95-99)
  • David Madden (Ridgewood, NJ '98-99)
  • Jonathan Hess (Irmo, SC, 1998-2002)
  • Sara Sheer (Horace Greeley, 2001-2004)
  • Matt Pargeter (Holland Hall, OK, 2002-2005)
  • Nate Mattison (Byram Hills, NY, 2004-2006
  • Fuhe Xu (Harrison, IN, 2004-2007)
  • Ariel Schneider (Harrison, IN, 2004-2007)
  • Dylan Hames (Booker T. Washington, OK, 2006-2008)
  • Alex Pijanowski (Harrison, IN, 2011-2013)
  • Max Smiley (Horace Greeley, 2013-2014)
  • Kevin Yokum (New Orleans Jesuit, 2013-2014)
  • Luke Minton (El Paso Coronado, 2013-2016)

WINNERS OF OUR 33 TOURNAMENTS

  • 1983 -- Walt Whitman (Bethesda, MD)
  • 1984 -- Wheelersburg (Wheelersburg, OH)
  • 1985 -- Skyline (Dallas, TX)
  • 1986 -- Irmo (Columbia, SC)
  • 1987 -- Walnut Ridge (Columbus, OH)
  • 1988 -- Eleanor Roosevelt (Greenbelt, MD)
  • 1989 -- Dorman (Spartanburg, SC)
  • 1990 -- Collegiate (Richmond, VA)
  • 1991 -- Dorman (Spartanburg, SC)
  • 1992 -- Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, OK)
  • 1993 -- Torrey Pines (San Diego, CA)
  • 1994 -- East Brunswick (NJ)
  • 1995 -- Governor's School (Richmond, VA)
  • 1996 -- Houston Memorial (TX)
  • 1997 -- Edison (Huntington Beach, CA)
  • 1998 -- State College Area (PA)
  • 1999 -- James Island (SC)
  • 2000 -- Manheim Township (PA)
  • 2001 -- Irmo (Columbia, SC)
  • 2002 -- Irmo (Columbia, SC)
  • 2003 -- Horace Greeley (Chappaqua, NY)
  • 2004 -- St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN)
  • 2005 -- Holland Hall (Tulsa, OK)
  • 2006 -- Byram Hills (Armonk, NY)
  • 2007 -- Harrison (West Lafayette, IN)
  • 2008 -- Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, OK)
  • 2009 -- John Cooper (The Woodlands, TX)
  • 2010 -- Zionsville (Zionsville, IN)
  • 2011 -- Harrison (West Lafayette, IN)
  • 2012 -- University of Detroit Jesuit (MI)
  • 2013 -- Horace Greeley (Chappaqua, NY)
  • 2014 -- Jesuit (New Orleans, LA)
  • 2015 -- Coronado (El Paso, TX)