The Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance Presents…
Midseason Attempt at a NorCal Statistical Analysis
Made by Unofficial Student Association
(aka MANSA MUSA)
Article I: A Brief Overview of the Circuit, circa January 2016
One factor that makes a midseason analysis difficult is the lack of headtohead games
between full A teams. Only twice this season have a full Davis A and Homestead A faced off,
both at Cal Cup 1. Aside from Davis, none of the top five teams attended ACF Fall, while Cal
Cup 2 saw a final between two depleted Davis and Homestead teams. Escobar’s Dhruv Muley
only attended CC1, which Harker’s Edgar Lin didn’t go to. Besides Davis and Homestead (who
split their A team in the interest of qualifying two teams), Sac Winter wasn’t attended by any of
the teams ranked here.
One thing that can be noted, however, is the apparent lack of science specialists among
the best teams in the field. Both Davis and Homestead lack a committed science player, and the
two strongest science players in the circuitDhruv from Escobar and Bibhav Poudel from
Dougherty Valleyattend few tournaments. Harker’s Swapnil Garg is probably the closest thing
to a science specialist among the top five teams. If any teams want to pull off upsets against the
top teams in the field, locking down the science canon is a good way to go.
As the second half of the season kicks off, there are exciting matchups ahead. The battle
for the Cal Cup trophy will probably contested by Homestead and Davis, each with one win to
their name. Harker and Escobar (if Dhruv shows up) both have good chances to take a surprise
win. Palo Alto, Saratoga, Dougherty Valley, Valley Christian, Bellarmine, and Amador all have
the potential to take games off of the top teams. Homestead, Bellarmine, Valley Christian, and
Harker seem to be well situated going into next year, while Davis, Palo Alto, and Dougherty
Valley will probably be looking to rebuild.
As for JV, Pioneers is the team to watch out for. Impressively, they are led by the
sixthgrade Shiva Oswal while Josh Rollin (8?) provides most of the support. Interestingly, they
got the 4th highest ppb at both CC1 and the 3rd highest at CC2. Other JV teams to watch out for
include Davis B, Escobar B, Challenger Ardenwood, and Leland.
Article II: Statistical Breakdown by Team
Team Rank aPPB Powers
1 Davis 24 23.57, 23.46, 21.33 CC1: 56, CC2: 49, Sac Winter: 82
Eliot Williams (11): Some history, some CM, in contention for strongest literature player with
Anthony DiCarlo (12): Decent in lit and history, with deep knowledge of visual fine arts and
extraordinary depth in myth and religion, He performed impressively at CC2.
Teddy Knox (12): US History, generalism
Ethan Skinner (10): A good lowlevel generalist with strengths in literature and history, but
will play JV for Cal Cups.
Very strong PPB, due to good teamwork and discussion on bonuses, with a lot of depth. Davis
can be very negheavy, especially Anthony and Teddy. They put up impressive performances
at ACF Fall and Sac Winter (against a relatively weak field both times). Excellent knowledge
of the meta, thought, and the smaller categories (fine arts, myth, etc.)
2 Homestead 52 22.30, 21.94 CC1: 41, CC2: 35
Jessica Chen (12): One of the strongest literature players in NorCal, some music
William Scott (11): One of the best generalists in the region (as shown by his leading
Homestead to the finals of CC2 without Brandon or Jessica)
Brandon Herren (11): History, esp. U.S. History, trash
Tom Gabrielson (11): Geography
Excellent fundamentals, especially on literature and history. Science is sketchy.
3 Harker 75 21.46, 20.21 CC1: 40, CC2: 44
Nikhil Manglik (11): Generalist with focus in History
Swapnil Garg (10): Generalist with focus in Math/Science. Working to improve on Lit/Art
Edgar Lin (10): Generalist. Able to cover a lot of ground. Especially strong in history, myth,
Strengths in history and science, with weaknesses in literature and arts. The team revolves
around Nikhil, Edgar, and Swapnil
4 Escobar 77 21.72 CC1: 52, CC2: 30
Dhruv (12): One of the best science players in Norcal. Made a very impressive showing at
CC1, but has not shown up since.
Support is provided primarily by Anup Hiremath (11) and Karthik Bharathala (12)
5 Amador Valley 126 19.89, 19.21 CC1: 31, CC2: 31
Jason Chen (12): Generalist, lead scorer
Manan Khattar (11): science support
Weilun Wang (12), Joseph Mo (12), Yash Prakash (12): Additional support
6 Valley Christian 157 19.47, 18.34 CC1: 23, CC2: 31
Omeed Askary (11): Generalist with focuses in history and religion.
Andrew Rao (11): solid science support
Dhilip Raman (11): solid lit support.
A strong lead scorer with a team that sometimes shows up. When the whole team is present
they are a force to be reckoned with (see CC2), but when it’s just a few of them the team is
much easier to take down. Another young team that looks well situated going into the next
7 Dougherty Valley 173 19.09 CC1: 15, CC2: 45
Bibhav Poudel (12): Science
Yashasvi Sharma (12): Very strong on NAQT
Gautham (12): Mythology
After losing most of their scoring from Eric Chen (UC Berkeley) and Cody Zheng (also
Berkeley), this looks to be a rebuilding year for Dougherty Valley. However, they showed
their mettle at Cal Cup 2, where they had the highest number of powers per game.
8 Saratoga 189 18.74, 18.18 CC1: 23, CC2: 36
Mason Tian (11): History, leads the team.
Nate Ney (12): Science, Math, Sports
Bryant Chang (11): History
Unsurprisingly, very strong on history. Have bounced back impressively from graduation of
Bruce “Bruce Cannon” Lou and most of their other regular A-teamers.
9 Bellarmine 191 18.81, 17.90, 17.34 CC1: 18, CC2: 27
Hieu Nguyen (10 or 11?): Quite good at high school canon literature
Atul Saha (10):
Kevin Chang (11): Good science fundamentals
Pravin Ravishanker (?):
Moved up from the top of JV last year. Quite young, very promising for next 12 years.
10 Palo Alto 194 18.76 CC1: 25, CC2: 37
Trevor Filseth (12): Deep knowledge of history, especially US
Trevor is one of the strongest individual players in the region. However, with an inability to
cover a significant portion of the distribution (and thus convert enough tossups) he won’t be
able to place highly unless he branches out or finds some support.
Article III: Descriptive Breakdown by Team
1. Davis (24)
The team placed 24th in Morlan’s PPB rankings, and their extraordinary breadth and depth of
knowledge makes them formidable contenders. Although they will have to replace their two
departing seniors, Anthony DiCarlo and Teddy Knox, this team retains Eliot Williams and Ethan
Skinner enough talent to continuously challenge for local and national titles. Quick buzzers,
but can sometimes have a negging problem.
2. Homestead (52)
Although seemingly powered by Jessica Chen’s literature, this is still a balanced and dangerous
team with more than enough firepower to hurt any team. More than capable of replicating their
top 8 finish at HSNCT if everything goes right. They will have a hard time replacing Jessica next
year, but the real danger lies the year after that when the other 3 members of their team graduate.
3. Harker (75)
Relative newcomers to the top of the Quiz Bowl field, Harker’s strengths are in science and
history. Although attempting the same model as Homestead, they are far more prone to bad
buzzes and negs, indicating a need for more knowledge, especially in the lit and art categories.
The team is in good hands for the next two years, as none of their top 3 scorers (Nikhil Manglik
(11), Edgar Lin (10), and Swapnil Garg (10)) will graduate. The team will seek to make a
positive impression on the national scene this year. The team can lose big to teams when falling
behind early and can be affected by overconfidence against lower-ranked teams.
4. Escobar (77)
Largely a one man show powered by Dhruv Muley (12), one of the best Science players in
NorCal QB. However, he shows up infrequently, meaning this Escobar team is talented, but
needs to develop more players in order to take the next step into contention. Ranked 77th in
Morlan’s rankings, but without Dhruv, the number of powers they get drops significantly.
5. Amador Valley (126)
A solid team that finished 8th at CC1 and t5 at CC2. Jason Chen is the heavy hitter on this team,
while Manan Khattar provides support on science and Weilun Wang plugs the gaps. They
haven’t yet threatened to break into a finals match, but they have the ability to take down any
team in the field. They’ll almost certainly continue to place in the top 8 or so for the remainder of
the year, but I would be surprised if they finished anywhere higher than 4th unless they put in
some serious studytime.
6. Valley Christian (157)
Led by Omeed Askary (11), with main support from Andrew Rao (11) and Dhilip Raman (11).
Omeed’s generalism, combined with Andrew’s science and Dhilip’s literature specialties, create
a balanced team with few holes. The full team presents a formidable opponent, but they will need
more depth to defeat the top teams. Looks to be in a good position for next year, since none of
VC’s main players will be graduating.
7. Dougherty Valley (173)
After losing their top two scorers (Eric Chen and Cody Zheng) last year, Dougherty Valley faces
major challenges covering the high school canon. Gautham Pavar (12), Bibhav Poudel (12), and
Yashasvi Sharma (12), returning members of last year’s Nationals team, provide some depth in
science, geography/CE, and myth, but they will need to find additional dedicated players to bulk
up their knowledge and challenge the teams above. Next year figures to be another rebuilding
year for DV as all three of their remaining players graduate out.
8. Saratoga (189)
Traditionally a History Bowldominant team (with the notable exception of Bruce “OneMan
Army” Lou), Saratoga is led by Mason Tian (11), a history specialist. However, Saratoga has
proven that it can branch out to Quiz Bowl subjects, even after the graduation of superstar Bruce
Lou. Nate Ney (12) and and Bryant Chang (11) provide supporting knowledge of science, other
history, and sports. Saratoga’s strong performance at Cal Cup 2 shows that they can upset other
teams, especially if they can gain depth in nonhistory categories.
9. Bellarmine (191)
Bellarmine loses last year’s entire Ateam, with a completely new team that won the JV division
of Cal Cup last year. The team has a strong grasp of fundamentals and can definitely steal
tossups from teams placed higher, as shown by their 2nd place at ACF Fall. Sophomore Hieu
Nguyen is a strong literature player, and junior Kevin Chang is an upandcoming science player.
Bellarmine has no graduating players next year, so with continued studying, they will most likely
place quite well.
10. Palo Alto (194)
Led by history specialist Trevor Filseth (12), who has lowlevel knowledge of the high school
canon as well. Although very capable in the history department, Palo Alto is held back by a lack
of knowledge in the rest of the quiz bowl canon. Until this team gains other players to
complement Trevor, this team will not be able to progress much farther than their current
placing. In addition, they will have to find a replacement for Trevor next year.
Article IV: Individual Tournament Analysis
Cal Cup 1
Cal Cup 1 saw the only matches this season between a full Homestead A and Davis A. Their
games against each other were both extremely close, and decided on the last tossup (375310 and
345340, both in Homestead’s favor.) Escobar with Dhruv took third, while Harker (without
Edgar), Valley Christian (without Andrew Rao) and Palo Alto rounded out the top 6. Although
Davis led the field in powers (with 56 to Escobar’s 52 and Homestead’s 41) Homestead
converted more tossups (128 to Davis’s 124 and Escobar’s 111). Notably, there was quite a gap
between the top 4 ppbs (Davis, 22.1; Homestead, 20.94; Escobar, 20.36; Harker, 20.1) and the
rest of the field. Homestead and Davis had 21 negs each, Escobar had 22, and Harker had a
fieldhigh 32, indicating a bit too much aggression. This tournament showed the parity at the top.
Although ACF Fall was the next tournament open to all high schools, it was sparsely attended,
with only Davis and Bellarmine attending out of the top 10 teams. Davis eased through the field,
with a ppb 5.67 higher than the next highest and an average margin of victory of 337 points, even
without highscorer Anthony DiCarlo. However, Bellarmine showed their ability and potential
by taking second, only losing to Davis throughout the day.
Cal Cup 2
A weakened field all around, with Davis’s Teddy Knox, Homestead’s Jessica Chen and Brandon
Herren, and Escobar’s Dhruv not showing up. Harker was the exception: with Nikhil, Swapnil,
and Edgar all in attendance, they effectively placed t3rd, and achieved the 3rd highest ppb.
Homestead brought on Brij Desai to fill the gap left by Brandon and Jessica, and he helped
William reach the finals through a halfpacket playoff against Harker. Similarly, Davis reached
the final by defeating a strong Saratoga team in another halfpacket. Saratoga showed their
ability to branch out from history at this tournament, jumping up 8 places and increasing their
PPB by nearly two points. Valley Christian, too, with the addition of Andrew Rao from CC1,
increased their PPB by about 2.5 points. Davis again led the field in powers (49 to Homestead’s
35, Saratoga’s 36, and Harker’s 44). Both Davis, Homestead, and Saratoga had very few negs
(10, 15, and 11, respectively), while Harker also reigned in their negs a bit (dropping to 21 from
CC1’s 32), although they were still tied for the highest in that category with Dougherty Valley.
In Davis’s case, this can be at least partially explained by the absence of Teddy. Homestead
achieved the highest ppb in the field (21.94 to Davis’s 21.16, Saratoga’s 18.74, and Harker’s
20.21). This tournament saw substantial improvement from Saratoga and Dougherty Valley (who
hadn’t sent their A team to CC1).
Another sparsely attended tournament, with only Davis and Homestead going out of the top ten
teams. Homestead split their A team in an attempt to qualify two teams, but with a JV team
dropping the morning of the tournament, they were unable to do so. Davis moved their JV
standout Ethan Skinner to the A team, and with Teddy’s reappearance, brought their stats up
significantly from CC2 (also played on an IS set), pulling 23.01 ppb (up almost 2 points from
CC2) and 82 powers to Homestead A’s 32 and Homestead B’s 31. Interestingly, Homestead B,
which was CC2’s Homestead A, scored almost exactly the same ppb (21.94 and 21.91). Davis
led the Varsity division in negs, with almost twice the negs of Homestead A (27 to HA’s 14 and