IHS Brain Team Ties for 27th Place at National Scholastic Championship


Here are the results of the Brain Team's trip to Chicago for PACE NSC. The team from Ithaca, composed of juniors Andrey Shakhzadyan, Daniel Xu, and Casey and Luc Wetherbee, played in 12 matches on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. and ending roughly 10 hours later.  In the first set of seven preliminary matches, the team played against other nationally ranked teams from Missouri, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Michigan, California, Georgia, and Virginia, finishing with a 4-3 record and sorted into the Tier II bracket for the afternoon matches. Their record could easily have been 6-1, however, as two of these matches were decided with the very last question (one of which decided by only 10 points, the narrowest margin mathematically possible in this format). 
 
After a quick lunch and some last-minute studying, the team played in five more playoff matches against teams from Maryland, New Jersey, Georgia, and the Singapore American School in Singapore. They also played against their downstate Pennsylvania rivals from Delaware Valley, whom they defeated at tournaments played in Ithaca and in Delaware Valley, but were defeated by - and lost a $2,500 prize to - at TC3's High School Challenge in March. The questions were on our side this time, and Ithaca walked away from the afternoon playoff matches undefeated, ending Saturday play with a 9-3 record.
 
A good night's rest left the team ready to finish their play at the tournament with three more final ranking matches on Sunday. They lost their first match against a team from Illinois in a narrow defeat (only a 30-point spread) and they lost their second match against arguably the best team from Northern California, but they won their third against a team from South Carolina, resulting in an overall 10-5 record for the tournament and a tie for 27th place out of the 96 teams playing. This is a bit lower than the 21 ranking Ithaca had been given prior to nationals, but is considerably higher than the tie for 53rd the team finished with last year.  Moreover, while many of the top-finishing teams at this tournament were composed almost entirely of seniors, Ithaca's team is all juniors, meaning there will be some significant opportunities for advancement in the national QuizBowl circuit next year.
 
This tournament marks the end of the 2015/2016 season. The team played well all year round, and we couldn't be prouder of what they've accomplished. We are eager to see what they can do next year. Thank you to everyone for your support!

~Ben Kirk
NYS Master Teacher
Brain Team Advisor


IHS Brain Team: juniors Andrey  Shakhzadyan , Daniel Xu, and Casey and Luc Wetherbee