Comparing Governor's School Teams

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What was the best Governor's School team?

Poll ended at Tue Jun 19, 2007 10:37 pm

1995
0
No votes
2000
2
7%
2004
4
15%
2007
21
78%
 
Total votes: 27

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Comparing Governor's School Teams

Post by jbarnes112358 »

Several people have asked me how this year's Maggie Walker Governor's School team compares to our past great teams. I am hesitant to be nailed down on this question because I think highly of my former players and would hate to insult any of them. At the risk of insulting those that I am omitting, however, I will throw out four candidates to consider in case any of you more objective old-timers would like to express an opinion.

In 2001 our school moved to its new location and added the Maggie Walker name.

The first candidate would be the 1995 team led by the legendary Amanda Goad. That team won NAC, but since that predated NAQT and PACE, it is hard to know how they might fare on the better formats of PACE and NAQT. I expect they would be excellent on these modern formats though. It should be noted that I was not the coach of this team, and never actually saw them play.

The second candidate would be the Matt Weiner led 2000 team that came so close at NAQT and PACE but lost out to the State College team that people still rate as one of the all-time greats.

The third candidate would be our 2004 team that was a little behind what was perhaps the best team of all time, the legendary TJHSST team. We came in second to them at NAQT, and actually beat them at PACE in the most remarkable game I have ever witnessed.

This year's team is of course the final candidate. This was certainly our most accomplished team in term of victories. We won more than a dozen tournaments, including a college tournament, our VHSL state championship, our TV competition, and the two premier national championships with impressive scores down the stretch.

So, if the brain trust out there will care to rate these teams, I won't have to do it. Please vote and/or discuss.
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Post by Wall of Ham »

I'm gonna say 2007. Why? The stats show it. They've averaged more ppg in 2007 than in any other year at both tournaments. They've lost fewer games, and in most of the games MW has lost this year, it has been close against top teams. They have consistently proven that they are better than most teams in the nationals, and that is what'll make them memorable.

Clearly I'm biased for 2007 since that is the only team I've seen. And stats can lie as question style changes. And I can't really judge the 1995 team. But generally all these things add up to a very good team. In 2007, Maggie Walker clearly studied and practiced, and along the way risen above everyone else, in a time where quizbowl is at its peak in popularity and more and more teams are understanding the hs canon better.

The best Maggie Walker team? Probably. Does it matter though? Probably not. Team personnel overlap. Question style and subjects change. Our coach values each and every one of her past teams, and tells us all these stories about past teams, but she never really compares them. Of course, I like to think we're her favorite team. I think the greatest thing for a coach must be to be with their team, to work with them and push them and resolve personality issues and so on. Spending hours in hotel rooms with 8 crazy kids trying to make them sleep at a decent hour, driving a van 5 hours in the night with only their singing to keep you awake, and making arrangements for buses, tournaments, practice questions tends to do that for you.

Dr. Barnes, you have one heckuva good team. Who cares how they're rated? They've been fun, yea?
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I would like to second the general message of Barry's post.
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Post by jbarnes112358 »

Nicely stated Wall of Ham. For all the reasons you mentioned I personally did not want to rate our past teams, but people kept asking me. I value all of my players, even the ones that did not finish all that high, and even those players who did not put quizbowl at the top of their priority list. I realize that the poll will be biased toward the recent team, because it is the team with whom most of the readers of the forum are most familiar, and because they did put up so many quality wins. Even in years when we did not finish all that high we had players who worked hard and gave it their best shot. Some years emerge with better teams because the stars line up right. Players peak at the right time, players who complement each other's knowledge bases come along at the right time. Some players are just more passionate about the game. Sometimes a perfect storm develops and a team becomes a great one. Sometimes when that happens for your team, it is happening for some other team at the same time, which can be bit frustrating as a competitor.

But it is fun to watch really good teams play, no matter what school they are from. I marveled at those great TJ teams even as they beat us without mercy time after time. Our current A team saw them too. They were utterly destroyed by TJ as freshmen. But, they were also inspired by them.

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Post by First Chairman »

I admit, that's like asking Coach K about the best Duke team he's ever coached. With the game the way it is now and its evolution in the last 10 years, I think the 2007 team is probably just better than the 2004 team, but I think personality-wise both of them are very likeable.
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Post by jbarnes112358 »

E.T. Chuck wrote:I admit, that's like asking Coach K about the best Duke team he's ever coached.
:lol: Hardly...But, thanks for the compliment.

E.T. Chuck wrote: With the game the way it is now and its evolution in the last 10 years, I think the 2007 team is probably just better than the 2004 team, but I think personality-wise both of them are very likeable.
You are right about the personality thing. Both teams are humble and very likeable. At least one of my players was a little upset I even started this thread, thinking that it sounded a little arrogant. I certainly hope it does not come across that way. I certainly do not personally want to compare this team to teams from other schools. Others can do it if they like, but I would be uncomfortable doing so. That is the reason I did not participate in that poll from a few weeks ago.

Any sort of comparisons across eras is difficult, but is interesting. Like in baseball (yet another sports analogy) the game evolves, making valid comparisons difficult.
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Post by Byko »

One thing I'll note in particular that impresses me about the 2007 MLWGSGIS team is the balance among the players. It may be true that Mark and Will generally had more PPG, but as I was going through the statistics this weekend, in virtually every game, every player was getting multiple tossups correct. There wasn't a weak link on that team anywhere (which makes it that much better if someone happens to have an off game because another player can easily pick up the slack), and that's something that particularly impresses me.

While I never saw the 1995 GSGIS team, I did get to see the 1996 edition (that still had Amanda Goad) at the NAC that year. For that era and the kind of competition that existed at that time, they definitely were an incredible team. I think I remember hearing of them scoring over 400 points in the NAC championship final that year but just barely losing to Houston Memorial in a game apparently considered by some to be the greatest of all time. At that time, that might have been a true statement.

That 2000 team was definitely impressive--I remember seeing them defeat State College in the first game of the 2000 NAQT finals in a hotly contested battle in which they ran out of bonuses when the two teams got all of the first 24 tossups.

I remember the 2004 team being very balanced as well, and in my mind, that PACE NSC final is probably the greatest quiz bowl game I've ever seen. Maybe QBTV Classic can re-air that one sometime. :wink:
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Post by First Chairman »

I think you mean TVQB... :)

I will also join in that the balance on the 2007 MW team was very similar to me to State College 1998 and TJ 2005. I certainly think that the teamwork on all of those teams is particularly comparable, but I also see that many of the top teams we've ever gotten from MW, SC, TJ or DCC have very good teamwork breadth and depth of knowledge. As other people have pointed out, the NSC does quite a job to test that in all teams in ways many other nationals do not.
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Post by No Sollositing On Premise »

I played against the 2004 Gov team at least eight or nine times, and they are definitely among the absolute best teams I have ever seen. That PACE final from my senior year was one of the most intense games I have ever witnessed, even if I slept through the first half of it (I hadn't slept in the past 36 hours thanks to the all-night grad party the night before).

I've only seen the 2007 team play once, but they were clearly the class of this year's group of top-tier teams. I can't put them above the 2004 team, if only because I know that they would have dominated the entire year if our A team hadn't been in the middle of our three years of Kreloff.

So, bottom line, the little elves in my head rank the 2004 team ahead of the 2007 team, but only by a small margin. As I said earlier, both of those groups are among the all-time greats.
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Post by Matt Weiner »

I just realized that I've been involved in quizbowl for ten years, so I should probably make some sort of "top 10 HS teams of the past decade" list to spur discussion. I'll probably answer the question of this thread indirectly there.
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Post by First Chairman »

Matt,

Compile nominations first. As long as you don't have some big "master bracket" like ESPN is doing for "greatest athlete ever." Or maybe you could if you wanted to.
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Post by BuzzerZen »

I think Matt Weiner of all people has earned the right to make grand pronouncements unfettered by the piddling opinions of lesser mortals.
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Post by segregold »

We came in second to them [TJHSST 2004-2005 team] at NAQT, and actually beat them at PACE in the most remarkable game I have ever witnessed.
Considering what I've heard about TJ's team those years, any team that is capable of coming in a close second to them/beating them at PACE deserves a position among the stars.
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Post by First Chairman »

BuzzerZen wrote:I think Matt Weiner of all people has earned the right to make grand pronouncements unfettered by the piddling opinions of lesser mortals.
Perhaps... but if ESPN can make a contrived media event out of something like this, I'd figure we could pump up the message board with this. ;)
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Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants »

I think the 2003 team should be a candidate at least. That was the only year MLW ever skipped PACE, and I think they would've had a shot at it then. They went 10-0 on prelim day at NAQT nationals (beating an SR Sidarth-captained TJ by 5), then choked at the very end of playoff day, dropping three straight (including a 4th place game to I think St. John's). TJ, Dorman, and MLW were all almost even that year. The funny thing is MLW did lose one tournament to StAB I remember, so they were pretty dangerous too. Plus that probably shows back then just as with the 2007 team, they might lose a game in a tournament, and win a couple by the skin of their teeth, but they usually came through with the 1st place trophy. Even if the 2007 team wasn't as dominant as TJ or a couple of the old SC teams, I think there's some value in getting beaten but still pulling through with the win in the end, because it shows that those teams can certainly compete with MLW (especially in a lot of the spring tournaments where they were missing Mehdi or Mark), but MLW was able to come through in the clutch a la Acie Law, so they get my vote. Okay sorry about the sports cliches.... but yeah, it's sad that everyone remembers the team members of the PACE winning 2004 team, but Eric Nielson helped them along the year before and deserves credit for that and for really being a top caliber player.

With regard to the 2007 team, I think all the players on it are now better than anyone on the 2004 team except Wren Elhai, who really carried it though it was of course by no means a one man show. The balance of this year's team really impresses me, though of course Will usually ended up being lead scorer. Also, it's interesting how 2000 was Matt Weiner's sophomore year and yet his peak at least according to NAQT results, but that's partly because Art V. was just a great player.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Wall of Shawarma wrote:Also, it's interesting how 2000 was Matt Weiner's sophomore year and yet his peak at least according to NAQT results, but that's partly because Art V. was just a great player.
I checked NAQT stats and for 2001 there's a Matthew Daniel listed but not Matt Weiner. For 2002 it just says Matt. Matt Weiner can correct me if this is him, but I don't think so.
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Post by The Atom Strikes! »

I'd have to say that this year's Gov team was probably the best. They won two of the three events in the quiz bowl triple crown of national events, and the third part is :chip:. They were truly unparalelled in quizbowl this year.
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Post by DumbJaques »

THE THIRD PART IS NOT CHIP BEALL
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Post by BuzzerZen »

CHRIS IS RIGHT

THE THIRD PART OF THE QUIZ BOWL TRIPLE CROWN IS CHICKEN FIGHTS AT PANASONIC
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Post by jbarnes112358 »

Wall of Shawarma wrote: Also, it's interesting how 2000 was Matt Weiner's sophomore year and yet his peak at least according to NAQT results, but that's partly because Art V. was just a great player.

Matt Weiner was a senior in 2000, not a sophomore.

The Matt in 2001 and 2002 was Matt Daniel another excellent player. Art Vilassakdanont and Phil Kidd were also marquee players during that era that led top ten teams.

You are right; 2003 was another excellent MW team, going undefeated in prelims at NAQT- Myrtle Beach, yet ending up a disappointing 5th. You are also right about Eric Nielsen leading that team as a senior with 3 juniors. The team did get better the following year, however. An analogous situation, was last year's Maggie Walker team with 3 juniors and senior Xun leading the way. They finished 3rd at NAQT and PACE, narrowly missing 2nd in both cases in the final question against State College and Richard Montgomery, respectively. And, of course, MW came back even stronger this year.
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Post by jbarnes112358 »

DumbJaques wrote:THE THIRD PART IS NOT CHIP BEALL
There really is no third part.
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Post by aestheteboy »

On a very slightly related note, do you think teams in general significantly improved over the past decade or so? I heard that a decent team today would crush a decent team in, say, 2000 because questions and competition today are much tougher.
I guess the fact Dr. Barnes made this thread suggests that that is not true.

It'd probably be interesting if someone hosted a tournament on very old nationals questions. I don't think too many teams have heard them.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

But most of the top teams have. At NAQT for scrimmages we ended up hearing an old packet we'd read half of the tossups from two weeks before. It oddly didn't affect the outcome, because we played the same all the way through. When we scrimmaged Maggie Walker we used a different set entirely because they'd heard almost every HSNCT. Most top teams use old PACE and HSNCT sets to practice.
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Post by AKKOLADE »

jbarnes112358 wrote:There really is no third part.
The third part is making quality posts on hsqb.
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Post by cvdwightw »

In general, I think that the teams are better today because the questions have forced them to be better and there is more competition. I think that if we had some of the powerhouse teams/players from the past play against today's best on today's questions, they wouldn't hold up well; however, if those past teams were seeing the same quality of questions and level of competition, they would be just as good. It's hard to determine since I can identify the following as reasons comparisons across eras are difficult:

1. Emergence of NAQT as the best nation-wide regular-season high school writers, and their expansion into several states that (with the exception of maybe a couple of teams) were mostly non-factors on a national level. Now, not only do we have a somewhat accurate comparison across areas, but states like California, Illinois, and Minnesota have started to emerge on the national scene.

2. Increasing irrelevance of NAC and demise of ASCN. Outside of the Irmo 2002 team, few top-level teams at NAQT or PACE are going to NAC and making an impact. Back when this was one of two established nationals, winning it was kind of important. Now there's very little overlap between HSNCT/NSC and NAC, and attendance is declining. Unlike :chip: , ASCN actually attracted a few top-level teams every year, even during its slow decline since around 2000. Now it's apparently defunct. So it's very difficult to compare a team that finished well at the two established mid-90s nationals to one that finished well at the two established mid-00s nationals.

3. In conjunction with 2, the establishment of NAQT and PACE as running "legitimate" national tournaments. Both of these nationals have now been around for almost a decade, and they have each grown quite a bit since their inception in both field size (HSNCT may hit 200 in the near future if space allows) and vision of what a quality national tournament should have. Both of them have hit their stride in producing quality national tournaments, even if they do it in slightly different ways.

I have no doubt that if some of the best teams from the past were allowed to play in this landscape, they would do very well for themselves. When I saw this year's HSNCT questions, I found myself thinking, "The 2003 me would have sucked on these", but I know that playing on the NAQT 2007 regular season stuff would have better prepared me for 2007 HSNCT than playing on 2003 regular season stuff.
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Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants »

jbarnes112358 wrote:
DumbJaques wrote:THE THIRD PART IS NOT CHIP BEALL
There really is no third part.
Winning a college tournament :wink:

My bad about the Matt Daniel confusion, I actually looked at those stats a long time ago and forgot about how it just had first names. The funny thing is, if Matt Daniel had magically graduated from W&M (or MW) later, and if Neel Rai of 2003-2004 MW fame never transferred...then perhaps W&M quizbowl would've done better than 0-9 at Penn Bowl this year :oops:
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Post by The Atom Strikes! »

SwissBoy wrote:I'd have to say that this year's Gov team was probably the best. They won two of the three events in the quiz bowl triple crown of national events, and the third part is :chip:. They were truly unparalelled in quizbowl this year.
Although I probably didn't make this clear enough, my reference to :chip: was supposed to be disparaging. My point was that you won both of the really respectable high-school format tournaments. I'm sorry for not making myself more clear.
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