2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

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2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by InfinitePeng »

Nats season has officially come to an end! Congratulations to Chicago, Cornell, Waterloo and all the other teams who played nationals this year. As I'm currently sitting in the airport waiting for my flight, I figured now is as good of a time as ever to do my favorite annual favorite thread.

A reminder: this thread is about shouting out any players, teams, people, teams, organizations that you want to share any praise for as well as any stories associated with them. This is not any kind of player poll though you're certainly more than welcome to give some recognition. I'll add my own post when I finish writing it, of course. I'm looking forward to reading everything that people have to share!
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by Serpentine284 »

I want to start this off by saying thanks to every moderator/staffer this year. It's not easy reading for that long for very little pay, so a huge shout-out to everyone who set aside a day or more of their weekends to help us play more Quiz Bowl. I cannot thank these generous people enough.

There's a whole bunch of people I've interacted with this year that deserve a ton of appreciation. To start, I want to give some love to some of the official and unofficial members of Cornell QB. I've enjoyed every interaction I've had with Nathan Zhang, Raymond Wang, and Richard Niu, all of whom inspire me to keep learning and growing as both a player and as a person outside of the game. It's crazy for me to think that I was incredibly close to quitting QB, and that if it wasn't for Nathan convincing me to solo the online Yale WORKSHOP mirror, I might've been out of this game for good. Thankfully, I stayed and got to become friends with these three awesome people. Richard especially might be my favorite teammate to play with, this dude knows so much and is only getting better. With him carrying us, hopefully we can make a run at CO 😂. I want to also show some love to Geoffrey Wu and Forrest Weintraub from Columbia as well as Owen Mimno from NYU. These three have made me want to return to NYC again and again to play all the tournaments I can there. While my budget and time sadly only allowed me one trip, it was such a great experience thanks to these three and I can't wait to come visit again soon. I'll hold off on talking about Forrest as a teammate in-depth in case there's a post-season poll happening this year, but needless to say she was an incredibly fun and enjoyable teammate as well. I'd also like to shout-out Aum Mundhe from ̶R̶i̶d̶g̶e̶w̶o̶o̶d̶ Rutgers and Andrew Zeng from Stanford for the absolutely hilarious interactions I've had with them this year. I never thought that talking about hot takes and hypothetical QB scenarios for hours on end could be so fun until I met Aum, and I never thought I could hear ridiculously hot takes until I met Andrew. The discussions I've had with these two has made QB so much more interesting to me as a game away from the buzzer. Both Ben Chapman from Toronto and Michał Gerasimiuk from Stanford deserve shout-outs as well, they are incredibly fun people to talk to and I really admire their balance between their love from QB and their career. Finally, I'd like to shout-out Rosa Xia from Cornell and Jason Hong from Brown for being awesome friends outside of Quiz Bowl (not to say that they aren't awesome in QB, the late-night review tradeoffs with Jason were very fun and helpful). Their passions are so vivid and their hobbies are so interesting, it's really quite a joy watching them just be themselves. I could never possibly imagine a better Maya and Judge than you, Jason❤️.

I suppose it's hard for me to shower individual praise on every member of Chicago QB, but I definitely want to show some appreciation for Nermeen Rahman, Ezra Santos, and Jay Kim. They are some of the absolute nicest and most fun people I've ever met, and I love every interaction that I got with y'all in Chicago, even if it wasn't a whole lot. I'd also like to shout-out both Aayush Goodapaty and Ned Tagtmeier for always being a bright spot of coming back to UChicago; love you two to death.

Outside of these two circles, there's a few more people I'd like to show some appreciation for. First and foremost, I feel like I can't talk about people I've grown close to this year without talking about my GOATed NBMT teammate Mitch McCullar. Mitch has one of the most ridiculous brains I've ever encountered, because this dude just eats books and displays a passion for analyzing literature that I've yet to see matched by anyone else. Mitch has well and truly inspired me to read way more than I ever thought I'd want to; he has this way of making the stuff he likes seem super interesting, even objectively boring shit like Henry James 🙂. I'm super excited to see that he's going to grad school at Penn State, the Northeast circuit ain't ready. Speaking of people possibly going into grad school, I also want to show some love to Vivek Sasse. I really didn't expect to still talk to my Nats teammate from last year, especially with the European time zone difference, but I'm super glad that we still kept in touch through that, because he remains one of my favorite people in QB. Having no teammates really made me miss having Vivek on my team second-lining impossibly hard math like it was easy. I didn't get to see him too much this year because of the coastal difference, but Ryan Sun from Berkeley is still one of my favorite people in the world, and I'm so glad that he's still in QB if only so I can selfishly see him more. Finally, I'd like to round this out with a shout-out to Arya Karthik. It's been so fun getting to know them better, and I'm very glad they returned to QB because it is insane watching them play. Their knowledge is absolutely ridiculous, their style of play is so unique, and their passions are intense. Every time I meet Arya, I feel like I'm being treated to a lunch date with a brilliant genius in the making. I can't wait to see how they progress in England, and you can bet that I'll be reading Ariadne, of Naxos page-to-page once they're done with it.

I think that about wraps up my piece on this. Hopefully someone (please not me again) runs the post-season poll this year so I get the chance to talk about how good these players are at the buzzer too. With that being said, thank you all for a wonderful year of Quiz Bowl, and I can't wait to see how next year shakes up!
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by towery »

It was a wonderful first season for me playing quizbowl up in the Northeast. I've had the pleasure of meeting so many great people at the many tournaments I attended this year and would like to shout out a few.

The Brown unit of Mason Yu, Megan Wang, and Alex Jiang have been a pleasure to match up against at many tournaments throughout the season. They're all super cool people with excellent team chemistry, I look forward to battling it out with them for the foreseeable future. I would also like to thank Brown's Jason Hong for hosting multiple well-run tournaments and congratulate him on his monstrous individual performance this season.

I've found that there's no better place to spend a Friday night in Boston than at MIT quizbowl running some high school regs packets. Katherine Lei and Nathan Sheffield are both great players and even better friends, I'm super glad to have become good companions of our friends across the Charles.

Thanks to Jordan Davidsen and Matthew Sif's hosting efforts, I have spent far too much time in New Haven, CT this year. Yale tournaments consistently have good staffers in every room, even with field sizes over 20. I also have to thank my high school teammate Richard Zheng for letting me sleep on his couch for all four Yale tournaments this season, thanks, Richard. I would also like to shout out Jem Burch, who on top of knowing every anagram of RETAINS, is very dangerous on the buzzer.

Some other teams I especially enjoyed playing this year; the Harvard Js, Joy An, Jeffrey Fung, Justin Duffy, Jake Greer, and James McCurley. My biggest regret this season is not going to more Harvard practices. Jack Rado, Cooper Roh, Jason Qin, Forrest Weintraub, and Andre Wong of Columbia are all absolutely insane players and fun to play against despite the point differential.

I would like to thank Khugan Chan for his love of the game, community involvement, and just being a positive force in NEQB. I also have to thank Walter Zhang for letting me ride in his Uber to Brown and also being one of the coolest people I've met this year. Finally is Chis Dech (hi Chris), who is always quite positive at tournaments and created the ever-important NEQB discord server.

This academic year has been so fun because of all the wonderful people in the quizbowl community. Every tournament I attended was made so much better by all the friends I would get to face off with again. Thanks for the great season.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by Jcm48 »

For someone who's made a majority of their friends through qb, it seems really odd to me that I've never actually posted in one of these threads, so here are some people that I've interacted with in the last year or so that I really should shout out.

Firstly, from the Minnesota team, I'd like to mention our graduating seniors. Ben Weiner has been our (mostly) fearless leader for the last year, and is really good at it. I think (hope, perhaps) that he'll be around the club in the future, but playing on this team won't be the same without him constantly getting bio questions on things I've simply never heard of because they were on an MCAT practice test one time or something. Urbas Ekka has always been an entirely positive presence in practices and games, and I'm sure that I speak for the rest of the team when I say that his 22/20 nats statline is surely the most Urbas note to end on. Nic Tunks, besides being the team's pet finance bro, is surely the strongest film player I've ever had on my team. He's just completely insane at it but has I think not been recognized for this. He should be! For being a relative newcomer to quizbowl, he's also genuinely a very curious person and I hope he stays around the game in the future.

Lastly from this group, I'd like to thank Ethan Ashbrook, who I consider a good friend and can't really believe I've most probably played a closed tournament with for the last time. This is a more personal note so I apologize if it's a little out of place, but earlier this year I was having a particularly bad time mentally, and he noticed this, messaged me unprompted, and generally made sure that I knew he was there if I needed him, which I greatly appreciated and was one of a number of catalysts to my getting better. He's also (obviously) been a blindingly strong lit and basically entirely real knowledge chem player for as long as I've known him, and he probably has the largest collection of academic book title knowledge I've seen in quizbowl. I look forward to continuing the tradition of buzzing in on every "description acceptable" tossup we hear in practice with "description" in his honor, and hopefully continuing to play opens with him as well. I also really think ACF should give his excellent proposal to ban undergrads a second look.

In short, I've got a great many memories from this iteration of Minnesota QB that I won't soon forget, and I'll miss this group a lot. I'll move on now to the non-Minnesotans, of whom there are really too many to name.

I'll start by talking about the many Missourians that I consider friends (again, I'm sorry if I don't mention you, I'm writing this from RDU airport while half asleep and will probably mistakenly leave out a couple people): namely Alice Wang, who is one of the first people I was ever friends with in quizbowl and (along with the other founders of the MQCSS server) was at least somewhat responsible for my getting online, Ethan Smith, who I only sometimes get a chance to talk to but I appreciate for his interesting philosophy takes and general presence in the Missouri servers nonethless, the Truman State core of Donal Ryan and Fred Garvey, who besides being a pretty scary team to play against due to simply refusing to make mistakes, are people I have very much enjoyed being teammates with in the past and talking to, June Yin, who is a good friend and a great science player besides, and Ganon Evans, who is both an extremely funny guy and a really positive writing mentor that I'm quite grateful to for handing me opportunities on the SHOW-ME set. I hope they're all around quizbowl for a long time to come.

From the north circuit, I'd like to collectively thank the Iowa State team, particularly Guy Indorante, for being an extremely positive presence at every tournament they attend. I'll also single out Conor Thompson here, who I consider one of my best friends. We share regrettably similar sleep schedules and less regrettably similar interests, so I've wound up talking to him at 3 AM about obscure regional high school teams, LearnedLeague, Formula 1 feeder series races, and geography of various flavors on more nights than I can count in the last year. I think it's fair to say that my life would genuinely be a lot worse without him in it (and besides, who else is willing to humor my attempts to write tossups on Cody, Wyoming?).

There are also many others I should mention that don't really fit in with any of these groups: Sky Hong, another member of the SHOW-ME cabal and past open teammate that I don't think I will much enjoy the prospect of playing against in 5 years or so, Shahar Schwartz, a friend of the Minnesota team who I always enjoy getting a chance to talk to, and Sinecio Morales, who I share many spaces with and am always glad is around.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I'd like to thank my favorite person in the world Joy An, without whom I am unsure whether I'd even be here to type this post. They've been endlessly supportive to me over the past few years, be it within quizbowl or not, seem to never forget anything they've ever learned, are a genuinely good and caring person, and (I'm sure they'll love to hear this most of all) have seemingly never been wrong about anything. There's legitimately only a little bit of sarcasm seeping in here, for once. I'm so genuinely glad they're in my life and I've got no idea what I'd do without them.

Thank you for the fantastic few years of quizbowl, all of you. I'm looking forward to continuing to meet good people through this game for years to come.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by Inscrutable Fox »

I think it's pretty self-evident that Matthew Lehmann is Very Good at quizbowl and deserves to be at the top of your polls in pretty much every category when the voting happens. More importantly, he deserves recognition as a wonderful teammate and one of the nicest people in quizbowl. He is always so friendly, humble, and the staunchest supporter and consummate hypeman for his teammates both current and former. I learn something new every time I play alongside Matthew, and he'll be sorely missed in St. Louis.

Charles, Paul, Neal, Amith, Jeremy, and the rest of the WUSTL team are also all excellent teammates and players, who get less space this year since I'm not graduating and they're not leaving WUSTL just yet. Briefly, Charles always provides leadership as well as a cheerful attitude even at the end of very long days of quizbowl when everyone else only has the energy to be exhausted. Many thanks to Paul and Amith for patiently listening to all my whispered and post-game commentaries, and sharing the experience of balancing med school responsibilities with a time-consuming hobby like quizbowl. Jeremy, similarly, is always a calm presence to my more high-strung existence and a great person to discuss music with (and math too, I'm sure). Neal along with our president and treasurer, Jonah and Gavin, have put in so much logistic work to get the WUSTL club to both nationals, and I'm constantly impressed with how much he's grown in the last three years I've seen him play.

Finally, I'm so so proud of everything the leadership of the Duke and UNC clubs have accomplished in the last few years. Ryan Humphrey and John Stathis built the club back up from almost scratch before I arrived, and left behind the infrastructure we needed to keep things going even when I "retired" for a year. John Stathis also deserves credit and appreciation for setting up the Duke-UNC discord several years ago, laying those foundations for the Triangle community, and his continued support of the clubs ever since. Kevin J, Ashish, Jacob, Shauf, Jim, Henry, and all the others since have built a strong, welcoming community within the Triangle and served the broader quizbowl community well with not only this latest nats but also their contributions to tournament hosting, discourse, and various sets (shoutout to Ryan and Grant as well for leading the other ARCADIA iterations and their role in supporting the many talented writers coming from the Triangle).

When I took over the Duke quizbowl team in 2019 I would never have dreamed we'd see a Triangle nats. I truly can't describe how much joy it brings me to have been able to come back to play at Duke this year, to see the Duke and UNC teams excel, and to see so many of our alumni return to support.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

More skill-based appreciations will be reserved for the Player Poll thread when that goes up.

Serpentine284 wrote:I definitely want to show some appreciation for Nermeen Rahman, Ezra Santos, and Jay Kim. They are some of the absolute nicest and most fun people I've ever met
HEARTILY seconding this. I’ll also add that their club leadership this year was diligent, thoughtful, welcoming, inclusive, and competent. (As a former club officer and leader, I don’t bestow any of those adjectives lightly.) At times when many elders were abroad, swamped, and/or otherwise preoccupied, this trio stepped up in a big way and kept the Evil Empire’s ship of state afloat for players of all levels of involvement.
  • I’ll add that it’s been a thrill to watch these three, none of whom had the opportunity to do quizbowl in high school, grow tremendously as players. Watching them take the game into their own hands this year -- dedicating themselves to QBreadering and reading and flashcarding, and making a two-team DII run for the ages -- was, to be frank, inspiring to us on the A team.
  • (I’ll also add that Ezra is the current inheritor of the famed Max Schindler-Kai Smith science flashcard deck. So yeah, watch out everyone else!) Update: I have been informed this is as of now more of a spiritual, not a literal, inheritance
I also greatly appreciate the elder members of the officer corps, Robert Condron, Ned Tagtmeier (“TACK-meer”) [citation needed], and Liam Starnes, for doing a tremendous amount of admin work, such that I could just "show up and play". Thanks also to Robert and Ned for understanding and sharing some of my extremely online brain-poisoned cultural touchstones.

Some people in quizbowl are just genuinely excited about their specialty, eager to talk about it with anyone, and always ready with informative and interesting information when you do. To largely-artificial points-seeking generalists like me, the sincerity is both refreshing and edifying. For now I’ll single out John Marvin (e.g. philosophy, jazz) and Dennis Reppen (e.g. paleontology, ecology) as two people from whom I've learned a lot in this way. It's also tremendously entertaining to watch this sort of person destroy a question from knowledge that you know is 100% Real, which John and Dennis have also done many a time.

Adam Fine for letting me give ridiculous and under-informed suggestions on science bonuses from word association alone (especially when I’m right).

The ever-dependable Claire Jones has become a fast friend, as I’m sure is no surprise to her many other fast friends across the years and continents. Despite somehow having 0 posts on this here website, she is ever-outspoken, and never afraid to inject a dose of much-needed perspective when quizbowl is out of step with academic scholarship or real life. She also makes truly ridiculous buzzes and hard part pulls look effortless, because to her they actually are. And she’s willing to talk with me about embarrassing books like [redacted] and [redacted]. Retroactive thanks to Oxford University Quiz Society (c. 2018-20 incarnation) for rekindling her interest in quizbowl; this is the second time OUQS has done that for someone I care about (Spence Weinreich being the first) and it may not be the last.

Cavan Gabaldon O’Neill, Arthur Gayden, and Aden Sun are all scary to practice against and well-poised for rapid improvement. The future is theirs for the taking if they want it. Dream big, show up, buzz smart.

Purdue and Indiana for their enthusiasm about hosting well-run quizbowl tournaments in the Lower Upper Midwest. It’s a tougher trip for us specifically, but it’s good for the community as a whole that a state where there were once no collegiate tournaments at all is now stepping up to anchor the circuit.

It’s very cool seeing Waterloo and Toronto representing #CanadianExcellence at the highest levels of this game. I hope that continues, and that whatever Waterloo has been doing to retain and retrain former Reach stars can be extended more broadly.

Geoffrey Wu has been doing Atlas-like work holding up the community with QBReader, without which my achievements this past year would have been greatly attenuated. (More on that in a future post.)

It was a very pleasant surprise to have the fabled Danila Kabotyanski, Puncher of Ice, Harker of Vagrants, Driver Through the Ocean of Milk, back on the circuit after a twelve-year (!) gap. It’s a nice bookend that a delightful and encouraging presence from my first year of college quizbowl was much the same, albeit with fewer negs and more literacy in the Chagatai language, in my last.

Some appreciations for people who weren't strictly speaking active "players" this year:

Thanks again to the many Area Olds, including but not limited to Connie Tzeng, Dylan Minarik, Tejas Raje, Billy Busse, A. Montgomery, Matt Bollinger, Alex Damisch, John O’Neill, and Adam Sperber, for welcoming me to a new city and reminding me of the many things outside Hyde Park.

Everything John Lawrence said in his Carper oration about what he “couldn’t have done without” me has the causal direction entirely reversed. I’m really glad he’s still around.

George Charlson has been an ever-steady supporter of us as a full team, well beyond what most of us would realistically ask for or expect. I know I'll never quite replace Matt O. Jackson (economist) in George's heart, but it's an honor to at least be beside him there.
Last edited by Adventure Temple Trail on Tue Apr 23, 2024 6:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by DavidB256 »

Since a strange first practice that involved too much discussion of Kissinger's legacy, I've grown to love my peers at Hopkins. I've never felt so uplifted and complemented by teammates as I did at Nats this weekend. Sinecio Morales is a genial dude in every aspect. A true master of the easy part, he loves what does and he puts effort into what he loves. I look forward to saying "omg hi" in the lobby of Wyman Park Building for years to come. Seth Ebner is a supreme purveyor of Polish chocolates and wry conversation. It's a beautiful thing to watch an honest man get a linguistics buzz in this economy. Jonathan Lau eats Nats-exclusive history giveaways like men like air. His post-round commentary is as deep as his AirPod in my headrest. Max Niebur is a tragically shadowed matsci god who, as he explained at the ice skating rink, is well aware of the applications of his research. I haven't yet gotten to play alongside Elizabeth Jewlal, but getting me a free ticket to a Baltimore SO performance surely counts as necessary practice for the -5 AFA points that I grossed at Nats. (Goldberg is not a composer and variation is not a genre, fun fact.)

A great tragedy of moving north this year has been seeing less of the North Carolinians—it was a unique pleasure to speed-talk about research with Vincent Du this weekend and to receive Henry Goff's (not actively a player, but can't not mention) earnest encouragement.

Cooper Roh was a trooper about the hot sauce (that is still) in my car.

Through increasingly terrible media, Joseph Chambers continues to prove to be the most robust individual to ever quiz. Giovanni Mazzeo does not quiz.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by InfinitePeng »

Hi, so I've officially graduated from college (or, have been graduated for the last 4 months) which puts an end to my undergraduate quizbowl “career” if you want to call it that. I wanted to take the time to appreciate not only the people who made this season great but also the people and teams who defined the last 4.5 years for me.

First of all, much appreciation to Braden Booth and Owen Arneson, star duo of Mizzou this year. It was awe inspiring to see how the culture shifted in the club the moment they stepped into the organization. Braden in particular has been so casually good that it blows my mind, look out for what he does in the future because he’s not stopping anytime soon. Owen is not only very good at quizbowl as well but is one of the coolest people you could ever talk to and just an all around chiller.

Thank you to Brendan Fuller, Zach Vogelsmeier and Drew Scheiner for being the first cohort of people to stick with the refounded club. Without those three playing what felt like every tournament they could as freshman, I’m not sure Mizzou would be the organization it is today.
Much appreciations to Brendan in particular for taking on the tireless job of MUQB President and taking on the work I no longer felt compelled to do and doing it even better than I ever could. Thanks to him Mizzou played, hosted and did more things this year than maybe any other year ever.

I have to mention Max Ryle, the quiet hero of Mizzou Quizbowl who remained a stalwart through the entire rocky year of 2020-2021 and unflinchingly did the tasks that nobody else wanted to do during that time period as Acting President. Without him, I wouldn’t be posting on this forum today.

Connor Lee is genuinely the funniest person I know. He’s also incredibly hard working, a great leader and just somebody who gives so much time to the club that he deserves a medal. I’m extremely glad that he’s around and proud of the person he’s become.

Here’s to all the other Mizzou people including but not limited to Cameron Jones and his immaculate calmness, Austin Timmerman for his meticulous scorekeeping, perfect attendance and good vibes, Dede Binkhoelter for being a truly fascinating presence in many ways, Doug Sachs for being genuinely the nicest person of all time, Mukund Vishwandwa for being the first person to join the refounded club when I still had to cold email people, Alex Rottegen for his excellent mustache and social media acumen and many many many other people in the club who I all adore so dearly but I’ve run out of space for.

Much appreciations to other delightful people on the circuit like the folks at WUSTL whose consistent presence at tournaments we’ve hosted has anchored the circuit for many years, the wonderful people at Nebraska for their enthusiasm and love for the game, Missouri S&T for their rare but always treasured appearances, to June Yin for always being willing to staff and constant friendship, Anna Csiki-Fejer for just being Anna and finally Giifti Bendi for being someone I can trust and confide in.

Thank you to Fred Garvey and Donal Ryan for being one of the brightest points of light on the Midwest circuit. It is always such a pleasure to see them at whatever tournament they show up to and despite constantly getting clowned on by them for not ordering enough pizzas and how 2023 SCT went I still love them very much.

Thank you to all the people at MOQBA for continually supporting me, giving me opportunities to help out whenever I could and making sure that MFAT every year isn’t a train wreck. It’s really inspiring all the work that they’ve done and have continued to do. Jeffrey Hill in particular deserves some kind of lifetime achievement work for his tireless effort to expand pyramidal quizbowl in Missouri, every team that has done well in the last few years from the state owes him in some kind of way.

Thank you to Ganon Evans for always believing in me.

Thank you to my fellow Missourians of Joel Miles and Gabe Forrest. It’s so wild that I’ve seen both of them grow from local Missouri Discord legends into powerhouse players, editors and writers of their own. I’ve known them since the very beginning and it has been a joy every step of the way.

Shoutouts to Jordan Davidsen who thought it was a good idea to make me the liveblog coordinator for all of ACF this year and was (mostly) proven right despite having to cover for me a few times. Thanks to them I was able to staff nats this year which was easily one of the best quizbowl experiences I’ve ever had.

Uh here’s where I shout out a bunch of misc people I think are amazing like Forrest Weintraub who I hope someday learns vfa (but in all seriousness has been a major help in transition related things just to name one of many things i owe her), Aum Mundhe for constantly tolerating my hovering at nats, Rosa Xia for being such a sweet person who gives lovely hugs whenever I see her, Owen Mimno for actually watching films, John Marvin for talking to me whenever he sees me, Anila Moparthi for being my best friend in the Illinois club, doing my eye shadow and just generally always being there for me when I moved to Urbana-Champaign. There’s all of NYU and Brown who I’ve had nothing but awesome experiences talking with at dinner, Illinois in general to thank for letting me cosplay as a student and show up to their practices, movie screenings and various other things. I would also like to appreciate Matthew Siff, Arya Karthik, Daniel Ma, Charles Hang and Jeremy Cummings for being GOATED teammates to play with at opens and I’m really sorry that I’m not good enough to score more than like 5 points per game.

and finally yes, to you the person reading this as well. Whether I've spoken to you dozens of times, one time, in person, on Discord or never at all thank you so much for being here.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by sophiemlyman »

I'm new to this, so bear with me!

I want to shout out some of the folks who have made this year so great for WUSTL quiz bowl. First off, major credit is due to Jonah Schwartz, Neal Joshi, and Gavin Wagner for all the work they've put in as members of our exec board. The weekly emails (particularly the email signatures) do not go unnoticed, and the team has grown significantly this year thanks to their work. I would also like to recognize some of our new members who have killed it this tournament season, including (but not limited to!) Sebastian Pujet and Rohan Krishnamoorthi. My fellow second-years Conner Yamnitz and Henry Lytle have also leveled up their game considerably this year with some impressive performances. To our grad students, namely Charles Hang, Matthew Lehmann, Jeremy Cummings, Amith Punyala, Annabelle Yang (expert beanie-maker!), and Paul Lee, thank you for your guidance and leadership, and those of you who are leaving us after this year will be sorely missed! And of course, I would be remiss not to mention don, whose skills both as a player and a reader are always appreciated.

As for others, it's always great to play with SIUE and Mizzou. Though my tournament attendance has been pretty shoddy I have loved the ones I've gotten to play at, thanks to teams like you. Although Emerson Moore is but a lowly high school player, I am so proud of all that he's achieved at Paideia and selfishly hope to see him continue on the collegiate circuit. I would also like to shout out Eli Perlin, both for his tireless support of my efforts as self-made Outreach Coordinator and because I have a feeling he'll get a kick out of this (assuming someone shows it to him).

Thanks, everyone, for a great season. Hope to #spot you all next year :grin:
Last edited by sophiemlyman on Mon Apr 22, 2024 5:19 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by joycan98 »

In the interest of not being here all day, I will keep this post mostly to seniors. Plenty of time to thank the rest of y’all in the years to come :)

First, a million thank yous to Jeffrey “Named Reactions” Fung, who has been the most wonderful teammate, friend, and club president this year. I have big shoes to fill! Jeff’s consistent levelheadedness and endless good humor have been critical to getting through long tournament days, and on a more personal note, have eased my transition into a new circuit and team in a way I will forever be grateful for. He’s also a brilliant player and one of the most dependable teammates I’ve ever had. I will be sure to buzz firstline (and neg) on every organic chemistry tossup I hear next year in tribute to him.

Another teammate I will miss terribly next year is Jake “I Love That Flag” Greer, an endless treasure-trove of random, insanely-deep history knowledge and hilarious in-game commentary. A very special shoutout to Jake for inventing possibly the funniest bit of all time when, having grown sick of me following every buzz I got at Nats with “oh, I have a poster of that in my room” or “oh, I have that on my bookshelf,” he followed his buzz on “bogs” with “oh, I have a bog in my backyard!”

Next, I of course have to shout out Forrest “This is Physics-Adjacent” Weintraub, who I’m so grateful to have gotten to know over the past few months. Forrest, aside from being like, pretty good at the game, is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. She has the kind of curiosity and enthusiasm that reminds me why I like this game so much. I will pray for her to recover from her crippling addiction to the game, but in the meantime, I’m glad I was able to meet her through it :)

I have so much gratitude and love for Jordan “If You File That Protest, I’ll Kill You” Davidsen, someone who has never stopped being a source of positivity and good vibes since I became friends with him however-many-years-ago. Jordan was easily God’s strongest tournament director in the northeast this year, and as a result, received God’s hardest tournament director battles. Thank you for persisting, Jordan. Beyond that, he is such a bright and deeply-caring person, and the northeast will not be the same without him.

Ethan Ashbrook? I Hardly Know Her! is an amazing player and person—I was honored to have him as a teammate at least year’s CO, and he is always an absolute delight in-round. I am sure he will be dearly missed by many in the game next year.

Jason “Mrrown” Hong is, as we all know, insanely good at the game. He has always been the model of good sportsmanship when we’ve played each other, and I have no doubt that much of the camaraderie Brown’s teams consistently display is in no small part due to his kindness and leadership.

Finally, I will shout out a few non-seniors who are particularly important to me: James “Certamen” McCurley, who has never heard more than two lines of a classics question in his life, Sky “Shinkansen 100% Speedrun” Hong, who I pray will continue to let me call her “my kid” even after she has far outgrown the title, and Joel “Occult Pentecostalism” "Record High RAADS Score" "Joel Christopher Miles" "Kilometers" "Have You Heard of This Band Called The National" Miles, who knows what he did.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by Dantooine is Big! »

A shoutout to Enes Kristo, of course. I, like the rest of us, yearn to become the Count of Monte Kristo, "and understand that divine intervention feels better when you do it yourself."

It was, and always will be, an honor.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by slowdie »

The greatest gratitude must go to Elizabeth Larkin at Cornell above all others, who is the greatest person I have ever met at a (History Bowl) tournament. You inspire me like nobody else, and you know me like nobody else. I must also appreciate all of Cornell QB for willingly reading Chris Packet and directing all complaints and inquiries to the correct email address.

This post would not exist without the brilliant Eli Issokson, the true leader of Brandeis Quiz Bowl, and the most likely to be made a Marshal of the Empire by the King Cake Baby. Terror belli, decus pacis, semper. And, of course, my brilliant teammates Jack Granahan, Nathaniel Martin, Jason Gordon, and Harrison Sugarman. Time and again you have put up with tournament after tournament of my hunger, for which I hopefully make up with my Indian restaurant choices. Eli, Harry, Jason, and Tanner Eustace, godspeed, all of you. And to my e-board, Jack, Nathaniel, Stephen Gaughan, Kate Wisnudel, and Ryan Powell, I appreciate you all for being the greatest e-board in helping me enforce despotism run our great club.

I must mention Jordan Davidsen, Matthew Siff, and all of Yale for hosting time and again, and specifically Jordan and Bree who heard me say "How Yale-core is Gilmore Girls" and did not immediately execute me. I also thank Lukas Koutsoukos for getting me fruit at ACF Fall and gaslighting me about word pronunciation.

We cannot forget Jason Hong for his acumen at the game and his meows.

To Khugan Chan, who I have known since elementary school, what a joy it is to continue to know you and to enjoy the wonderful game of Quiz Bowl (and History Bowl) with you.

I must mention Joy An for your infinite sense of fun and whimsy, to say nothing of your skill for the game. Also, I appreciate Harvard QB for letting me sit in that one time.

We cannot forget Julian Moody and Towery McNeil, because the real Quiz Bowl were the bromances we made along the way. Also, I appreciate Peter Scully for his tournament hosting.

Long live you all, and long live Quiz Bowl.
Last edited by slowdie on Mon Apr 22, 2024 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by etotheipi »

This past year has been the most important in my life. Though quizbowl has only been tangentially involved in the Matters of Importance I have had to exist and change in the face of, there are still an uncharacteristically large number of quizbowl-involved people I would like to - I need to - thank in this regard.

Some of you may know that I made the decision, after finishing with my editing obligations at CO last year, to quit quizbowl entirely - all playing, all writing, I even cut ties with a number of acquaintances whom I had only really interacted with in quizbowl settings. I will not go into the reasons why, but it is obvious that this decision really did not stick; by December, I had decided at least to play CO 2024, and I eventually also decided to play ICT and an ESPN mirror. I have still not really started back studying in any consistent fashion, but I will be there soon - this is a promise, Oxford Quizbowl.

While I am not sure how I feel about still being in quizbowl, I am sure that the hobby is the correct place for me at the moment, and want now to list, in no particular order, all the quizbowl figures who made interventions in my life during this period to bring me back to the game, who have changed my relationship with the game, and who have emerged from the confines of the game to play deeply important roles in my life proper.

Amogh Kulkarni was one of the two quizbowl people who really put an effort into maintaining ties with me throughout my time away from the game, and even up to the present. Despite the fact that we weren't particularly close before this past year, he got lunch with me on a couple of occasions, offered support to me, and in the end played a nontrivial part in my returning to the game, simply by helping me understand my relation to its players (to be precise, the fact that I could manage my general feeling of alienation from the Geist of quizbowl) far better. I'm happy to consider him a friend of mine, in fact the only friend I have whom I am lucky enough to be able to actually meet not rarely - and look forward to spending more time with him in both the near and slightly-less-near future.

Matt Jackson offered me an hour or so of his time this December, in which he really helped me sort through a number of my feelings toward the game, and properly articulate to myself the place it could occupy in my life. For this I am deeply grateful. More generally, the various gestures of support for me, no matter how small, of respected figures like Matt, Jordan Brownstein, Mitch McCullar, and Tracy Mirkin have helped me feel more at home in a community I was really not sure of my place in a year ago. I should also again single out Henry Atkins for effectively mentoring me through my first real editorship; I would not even have really wrapped my head around it without him.

I am happy that Sinecio Morales and I are as close as we are, especially given all that he has had to put up with from me. (Though I gave him free linear algebra tutoring in return, so really it's he who owes me.) I don't really have anything much to say here, because his most important interventions into my life are not exactly in areas I would wish to expand on in a public forum. But his support for me when I needed most, and his continuing support for me now, is a great part of why I have managed to take what has happened to me in the past couple of years and to transmute it into something worth looking at, usable - is a great part of why I am able to speak as a coherent whole at this moment - which is to say, why I am able to speak at all.

Paling, albeit, in comparison to what I've just articulated, I do have to add that Sinecio is a very, very fun teammate, outside of the game but more importantly in an ineffable way by virtue of how he plays the game - play an open with him if you ever get the chance; you won't regret it.

Thank you, also, to my friends and acquaintances in the IRYCO Discord, especially the ones whom I got to hang out with over voice chat at least a couple of times: Sinecio, Ali Hamzeh, Omkar Marathe, Camden Williams, Owen Riley, and Vikram Narasimhan. While I did not really give any of these people an avenue of communicating with me while I was away from quizbowl, they were all quick to welcome me back into their ranks upon my return. Camden was always very solicitous about my well-being, and has offered me support on a number of occasions, which really has helped. Out of the non-Sinecio people in the above list, Ali is the person I've spent the most time with, and I'm glad I have been able to act as a sort of mentor to him over the past year, though despite my best efforts I have not been able to help him recover from his crippling addiction to Fitzcarraldo Editions.

Though it feels a bit wrong to think of him as a quizbowl person, Gabe Forrest is the person I know who best embodies my conception of the spirit of quizbowl, which admittedly seems not to have very much to do with other people's conceptions of the spirit of quizbowl. He is frighteningly well-read, he is the second-most-intelligent person I know (I am sure he will not be offended by me saying that the Fräulein Richter shall always be first), and more importantly he is absolutely brilliant at making use of this knowledge: the level at which he does thought is equal to that of the best philosophers and authors I've encountered. Every wall of text he posts at me is a privilege, the fact that he reads and works to wrap his head around every wall of text I post at him, no matter how large - and I do ramble - is similarly a privilege. He is to me intellectually what Sinecio is to me emotionally - and, as I have with his help come to understand over the past year - these two domains are in the end the same substance viewed at two different angles.

The aforementioned C. K. Richter has asked me also to thank her here even though she has nothing to do with quizbowl, so I will do this. She'd be a very good quizbowler, far better than I am, if she ever cared to try her hand at the game.

I would like to finish by thanking everyone in the quizbowl world who has had a meaningful/"philosophical" conversation with me over the past year - a couple of the aforementioned people, as well as two others in particular over the past couple of weeks - who have helped me understand myself, the world, the events of my life far more deeply. I will not name their names for privacy reasons, but they are the ones whom I have been able to truly be myself to, and this is not something I get to have often. Their interventions in my life are perhaps the greatest privilege quizbowl has given me.
Last edited by etotheipi on Tue Apr 23, 2024 12:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by forrestw »

It has been an incredible privilege to be able to play for Columbia alongside my teammates. Geoffrey, Cooper, and Moses are all unbelievably good at quizbowl but are also incredibly wholesome presences and wonderful friends both inside and outside of the game. I'm thankful for Moses' calming presence and quiet sense of humor, Geoffrey's ability to connect literally any statement in conversation to a science clue, and Cooper's constant positive energy. This was such a fun team to be a part of and I will miss it dearly.

We are also incredibly blessed to have such a large team at Columbia--shout out to Jack, John John, William, Albert, Derek, Jason, Andre, Andrew, and Shea for making practice always be the highlight of my week. I'm especially thankful to Albert, without whom I would not have joined quizbowl. He has been one of my best friends throughout college and is one of the nicest people in the circuit. He also has the most insane, random real knowledge on topics ranging from Basque-Icelandic pidgin to Emil Cioran.

While I love my team, the friends I've found in the northeast and across the circuit are what makes quizbowl truly special. I'm especially thankful for Rosa Xia, who was the first friend I made from outside Columbia and whose enthusiasm, positivity, and love for all that is good and beautiful are apparent from the moment you meet her. It's been a privilege to share in her love of cats, poetry, medieval romances, and the natural world. She helped me learn to love poetry, which I had always disliked, and convinced me that I could be not-terrible at quizbowl literature. It's also nice that no matter what I do, there will always be someone in quizbowl who's more of a catgirl than me. Along with Rosa, I'd also like to specially shout out Joy An and Megan Wang, as we were all the only girls on our respective nats teams. They are both incredible players and unbelievably smart and cool people, and I'm excited to see them dominate the northeast for years to come. I'd also like to reiterate my shout out to Joy--getting to know them over the past few months has been a privilege and they have taught me so much about subjects I previously found boring (chemistry and visual art).

At this point, I've effectively become a quasi-member of Cornellqb, and they have been a huge part of what I've enjoyed about the past year of quizbowl. Raymond Wang and Richard Niu are both incredible at music, and not only has their mere presence been a huge motivation for me but they're also wonderful sources of listening recommendations. I'm also really happy that Richard took an astro class this year since it gave me someone to nerd out with. Without Nathan Zhang's enthusiasm for and genuine interest in analytic philosophy, there is no way I would have learned or studied anything about it this year. I've also grown to value Raymond, Richard, and Nathan's friendship immensely, as well as that of other Cornell-adjacent people: Amogh Kulkarni, my fellow cat Jason Hong, Owen Mimno, Andrew Zeng, Michał Gerasimiuk, and Ben Chapman. I'd like to especially thank Aum Mundhe for sharing my interests in basically everything, for helping me continue to see the joy in learning through his enthusiasm, and for being a source of encouragement and positivity when I've needed it the most this year. Playing with him at opens this year has also taught me that he's the world's best and most unselfish teammate--if you have the chance to play with Aum, do it.

Lastly, I'd like to thank anyone I interacted with at tournaments this year, whether as a teammate, competitor, or staff--you have all brought me joy through your support, kindness, and humor. This community has been the best part of being in quizbowl, and it has been an honor to be a part of it.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by Cosmas's Tabernacular Earth »

Upstate NY quizbowl has come a long way over the past few years, and there are a number of people who deserve thanks for making this year the healthiest we've been as a circuit. First of all, Will Hoover deserves a ton of appreciation as the one actually in charge of RIT quizbowl. Under Will, the club has grown to heights never thought possible during my time as a student. Will has excelled at both recruiting and retention, all while navigating whatever bureaucratic BS the RIT admin comes up with. John Hayes, Brian Bullis, and Duncan Brickner all have volunteered their time to staff tournaments as alumni. I feel like that culture of alumni sticking around and continuing to contribute to the club post-graduation is a major part of what gives RIT a reputation as the best tournament host in the circuit. Hopefully other clubs in Upstate NY are able to start building that as well. Chris Scheri was the only person to staff every tournament I ran this year, so he is my favorite Scheri. Sucks to suck Tom. Finally, no appreciation post for RIT people would be complete without Cade Reinberger. Cade is a good friend and a great practice opponent, and out of everyone on the Upstate NY circuit he takes the second-most crap from me and deserves appreciation for always being a good sport about it.

Outside of RIT, Deric Wagner of Binghamton has taken a school that didn't have a club 2 years ago and made it possibly the biggest club in the circuit. Binghamton's tournament hosting has gone solidly this year, and the Binghamton teams at every tournament seem well liked by everyone playing. Daniel Kolodny of Syracuse also has started hosting tournaments this year, and the continued diversification of hosting duties is sure to help the circuit in the long run. Hopefully Daniel will someday see his ambitious goal of ACF Nationals at Syracuse. Richard Niu has massively improved Cornell's ability to run tournaments, particularly in the area of finishing on time. Now the only thing Cornell needs to fix on the hosting side is finding buildings that don't lock everyone out. On the other side of Cornell logistics, they will really miss noted car owner Raymond Wang, who more or less singlehandedly got them to away tournaments this season. Raymond is also a fun guy to watch destroy every other tossup when he plays. I also must highlight Cornell student and local cat Rosa Xia, another good friend whose presence is always appreciated. Finally from the circuit I would like to recognize Morgan Usselman of Colgate, who has shown that it is possible for a club to be an important part of a circuit without being an elite team that plays hard sets. Colgate's reliable attendance on easy sets should provide an inspiration for those who maybe can't keep up with the local powerhouses but still enjoy quizbowl.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by megbo8888 »

I cannot start my appreciation post without first mentioning my incredible teammates and friends at Brown who I’ve had the absolute honor of playing with this year. Alex Jiang has an incredible grasp of all things VFA and is a certified expert at crafting memes about Pope cars and Percy Jackson. Mason Yu’s knowledge of science is nothing short of astounding, and his unparalleled work ethic inspires me to work harder to be a better quizbowler. Watch out for these two in the coming years as they will dominate the Northeast circuit very, very soon. And of course, I would not be here today without the one and only Jason Hong. Although you all know him for his insane buzzes on history and science, he took it upon himself this year to generalize into virtually every category and filled in all the gaps that rest of the team missed. More importantly though, his humble attitude and exceptional mentorship is what makes him stand out, and he helped foster the love I now have for the game. I will cherish his funny Instagram music reels forever.

I must also give thanks to the amazing people I’ve met in various tournaments this year. Every match against Towery McNeil and Boston University has been an absolute joy and I can’t wait to play more games against you guys next year. Games against Harvard J (Joy An, Jeffrey Fung, Jake Greer, James McCurley) are always a thriller and I want to give special thanks to Joy for being willing to room with me at ACF Nats. Forrest Weintraub is a true inspiration for me as an AFA player; her deep knowledge of all types of music truly encourages me to go out of my comfort zone and explore pieces that I would never listen to otherwise. I also want to give a shoutout to Jacob Hardin-Bernhardt, Eshan Pant, Owen Mimno, Cooper Roh, and Jack Rado for being incredible players and it was great getting to know you better this weekend.

Finally, I want to thank the Yale, Tufts, and MIT quizbowl teams for hosting such well-run tournaments for our region this year, as well as all the other competitors and staffers I’ve met who make each match so fun to play. It’s been a wonderful first season of quizbowl and this community of funny, smart, and kind people is what makes the game infectious. Godspeed to all and see you in the fall.
Last edited by megbo8888 on Tue Apr 23, 2024 9:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by amundhe »

Though neither of them currently play on a closed team, I’d like to first shout-out my mentors Emmett Laurie and Jeremy Tsai for teaching me a truly stupid amount of clues in philosophy, music, and art. Though both of them (wrongly) claim to be “old,” “washed,” and “bad,” they consistently subject me to a trial by fire when I play them at practice and opens alike by beating me on clues in my categories that I thought nearly impossible to know. In addition, both of their interests in film have inspired me to start watching movies for myself, and I look forward to the day in which I can actually know what they're talking about when they talk cinema. The two of them and David Song have remained incredible resources to Rutgers quizbowl long past their graduations and are a large part of why I feel comfortable engaging with the larger community at all.

Though we at Rutgers were rembarkably bad at aligning our free weekends for tournaments, the rest of Rutgers A made for great teammates who made it very easy to play together for the first time at UG nationals (and for Rutgers' highest placement at ICT since 2008). I’ve really appreciated Lexi Terman’s offers to drive and ability to make conversation during car rides, especially given that I’m usually not on more than like 2 hours of sleep before the tournament. Getting to know Kushal Aluru has been really nice as well, and his pretty incredible research grindset is very cool to hear about. Aiden Dartley has never once complained about being our best player in nearly half the distribution while the rest of us do small specialties, and learning clues from his AP Art History buzzes has been awesome. Jonathan Chen, Simon Emmanuel, Sophia Pan, and Mark Tawfik have all been great new members to have in the club this year and I hope to continue seeing more of them next year in practice, car rides, and (especially) on the buzzer! Vikshar Athreya’s started coming to Rutgers practice and has immediately cemented himself as a cornerstone of the club — looking forward to getting to play with him (and hopefully some cracked new first-years) in 2024-25!

In a perfect demonstration of their kindness, both Amogh Kulkarni and Forrest Weintraub have beaten me to the punch with regard to shouting out the Cornell hivemind people. The mentorship that both of them, along with Nathan Zhang, have provided me with regards to philosophy has made it one of Rutgers’ strongest categories at 2024 Nats after it being one of our weakest at 2023 Nats; it's also resulted in a legitimate interest for me that I'll continue to engage in long past when I stop playing silly buzzer game. Richard Niu, Andrew Zeng, Ben Chapman, and Owen Mimno have been extremely dependable teammates whenever we’ve played together, and I hope to get the chance to play with Jason Hong (Instagram's greatest cat meme dealer), Michał Gerasimiuk, and Geoffrey Wu soon, if only because they’re all incredible science players.

Despite Rosa Xia’s failings as a restauranteur, everything else associated with her (hugs, timely poetry recommendations, mochi, and the time she fixed my broken glasses) is the closest thing I have to the Form of the Good; in addition to being surface-level outwardly wholesome, she’s an incredibly wise person who’s been guided me through my toughest moments and refuses to let me doubt my self-worth. Despite what she’ll tell you about her relationship to quizbowl, she is the cat who represents it the most to me — she’s quick to share what she’s passionate about, and every clue in her questions comes from things that are of enough interest to her (and anyone she spreads that interest to) that she can rant about it for days.

Boy oh boy, where do I even begin with my glorious king Raymond Wang? Going to art museums with him this summer taught me a lot about how truly knowledgeable people engage with art and made going to art museums something that I began to enjoy doing for its own sake, rather than it being just an excuse to hang out with friends. Additionally, I cannot thank him enough for all the career guidance he’s given me, between offers of office tours, recommendations of study tools for actuarial exams, and even setting up an interview for me through a referral -- he makes for the best professional mentor I've ever had (and he might be good at quizbowl too).

I’ve been incredibly privileged to have gotten to interact with Yared Tadesse this year. To me, he’s an incredible candidate for “nicest person in quizbowl” (might just be my vote if there were polls for things like this) — he’s been nothing but a great host every time I’ve visited and been super willing to initiate many conversations to get to know me despite me being a pretty shy person. Yared's a great and super willing mod for tournaments that his teammates are playing, and hearing about his rise (and then seeing it manifest as championships at both UG Nats and the undergraduate division of ICT) has been pretty motivating. After hearing Yared trash-talk Raymond, I’m hoping to play against him in basketball at some point, though I suspect Yared can back it up on the court.

Alice Wang, Daniel Ma, and Noah Sheidlower are the familiar faces that I always look forward to seeing around at various tournaments (and post-tournament dinners), and I hope this continues for years to come. On top of that, all three of them are inspiring to me in just how real their knowledge of the arts are; I wish it was at all socially acceptable to have Anki out during a conversation so I can better remember what exactly they mention.

Lastly, my former teammates Nic Pruitt and Alan Wu are tremendous personal friends with whom hanging out is a must for me basically any time I'm near them geographically. Both of them were among those who first sucked me into the broader quizbowl community back when we were all far different people over half a decade ago, so seeing them both evolve as quizbowlers, professionals, and people has resulted in some of the best moments of my life. Both of them (especially Nic) are food connoisseurs who have greatly expanded my pallette and have provided some of the best restaurant recommendations I've had; I look forward to the day I can provide a restaurant recommendation that can match what they've provided me with. I'm hoping to continue seeing each of them around over the summers, winters, or whenever else they can (for Alan, this is apparently random trips to the Met Opera in March).

Thanks to everyone I've played against this year and I look forward to playing again next year!
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by SophieT »

I have a lot of appreciation for many people in this silly little game, but my familiarity with the game comes largely from the Florida circuit, which consists of a small but mighty cohort of individuals who have all impacted my life in their own ways.

Of course, I would not be here without the University of Florida Quizbowl team, mostly because of the fact that... that is where I go to school.

Anyway, I've been honored and privileged to be able to serve a club that I love so much as president this year, and I would not have been able to do any of it without the selfless collaboration of Tiffany Zhou, who is a badass powerhouse, an extremely intelligent human, and a wonderful friend to have. She is the one of the funniest, most humble and kind people I know, and I am so excited to watch this club flourish under her presidency in the upcoming year. She is much more organized and professional than I can ever hope to be, and I will miss her so dearly, especially whenever I think of Freddy Fivebear. In the same vein, I'd like to show my appreciation for Robbie Dreasher, who pulled through as our treasurer when literally nobody else would, and who is one of two members of the Gator Quizbowl/Greek Life crossover (with me being the other lol). He's incredibly bright and I have been incredibly lucky to have him and Tiffany as friends and executive members; they helped me greatly when I needed it, and through all of the strange circumstances of this year they have kept a level head and helped keep me on my feet. I owe this year to the two of them entirely.

To Graham Cope, thanks for being an incredible friend. We have too many inside jokes, post-practice trips to Bento and various other across-University-Avenue restaurants, weird Instagram reels, and 'hey girlie's to count, but I just wanted to make it clear that his presence at UF is a huge reason that I stuck around the club. I look forward varied Gainesville bar trivia for the summer to come and will miss him dearly when I go wherever I'm going (because idk yet but it's not here!). I will never say this to his face but he has been a wonderful friend to me and I have a lot of love in my heart for him. Graham, thanks for coming to practice when I beg you to because you really don't want to, and thanks for sticking with the game because I probably would've stopped coming to practice if you did tbh.

To John Nienajadlo, thanks for answering my weird anxiety-ridden Facebook messages three years ago about whether Gator Quizbowl required consistent practice attendance and if I could still join (no and yes), and for helping me to feel welcome in a space where I was entirely new. I had never played the game ever before I set foot into a random practice during the middle of September 2021, and I am indebted to John for being welcoming and kind enough to keep me going despite being super demotivated after getting bodied in those first few weeks. His friendship kept me in the club until the first time I first-lined a question in practice (it was pop culture, but whatever), and he's been a great friend throughout these years who's helped me understand that you don't have to be the best player in the room to enjoy the game (which is now my philosophy).

Hayden Prather, thanks for being my first friend in Gator Quizbowl and for the unwavering positivity (or 'clearpilled-ness') throughout the time we've known each other. It's been a delight to see him at tournaments this year, even more so now that he lives in Orlando. We grew into this weird buzzer game together and I've greatly enjoyed watching us improve alongside one another, and then watching him surpass me by several orders of magnitude. If we end up going to school together again, I'll be incredibly excited at the prospect of having him as a teammate again (sans neggnog, pls).

Thank you to everyone else at Gator Quizbowl - Biniam Alaro for being so good at history it's insane but also just being so kind it's also insane, Qingyu Zhang for absolutely carrying at ICT and being an amazing source of morale, Khanh Nguyen for "it's not glorbo they're trolling (it's glorbo)", Leo Law for the Leo 50/50, Leah Honsinger for being the most normal and levelheaded person in the room at any given moment (thankfully) and for nodding along when I update her on my linguistics studies, Yuliang Huang for his encyclopedic knowledge of the RTS and for his constant positivity, Eve Maramba for carrying on my unofficial historian legacy, Jonathan Hunter for being one of our resident filmbros and new VP (!!), and more who I'm forgetting. Thanks for coming for film packets and SCOP and Nats and trash and everything. This club literally doesn't exist without you.

Shiva Tegulla and Henry Keating (as well as the rest of UCF's officers), thank you for being strongholds of the Florida circuit and for hosting so many core tournaments throughout this year. I'm ecstatic to see where this circuit goes, and the UF/UCF/FSU clubs are on track for an incredibly bright future with such intelligent and warm people at the helm. Similarly, thanks to Sam Stella and FSU for hosting many tournaments throughout the year, and for always being a delight to interact with. I'm glad I got to spend my time as club president dealing with the ins-and-outs of the circuit with y'all by my side.

Thanks to Sean Farrell for being a fucking legend and keeping us all on our toes with how good he is at this game. UNF is small but mighty, and Sean's attendance at tournaments is always a delight and a challenge. Every time we play him, he just gets better and better - it's actually kind of absurd and awe-inspiring. You are a genius and I can't wait to see what you do next.

For people who aren't part of the Florida circuit but who have been very special to me throughout the year: thanks to Tracy Mirkin, who's technically not part of UF anymore and that makes me feel weird, but who is nevertheless quite present and always a pleasure to see. His positivity and kindness, as well as his willingness to give advice or discuss the intricacies of quizbowl, make him a wonderful friend to have both inside and outside the world of quizbowl. I've yet to meet someone who is as skilled and passionate as him at the game while also being an incredibly supportive, humble human and a great guy to have around. Thanks to Michael Kearney, Theresa Nyowheoma, Tomas Aguilar-Fraga, and Ganon Evans, who I literally met for the first time this weekend at ACF Nats and who immediately treated me with a kindness and openness that I couldn't even fathom. The "at-large" quizbowl community has always been rather intimidating to me, and they showed me that it doesn't have to be, which I am incredibly grateful for.

Last, but most certainly not least, thank you to Jordan Davidsen, the greatest partner (and partner-in-crime) that a silly little guy like me could ever ask for. All the words in the English language don't have the power to express what he's meant to me, both within quizbowl and within our personal lives. He is an absolute genius, a powerhouse of a quizbowl player (no matter how much he claims to be "awful" "bad" "garbage" etc.; do not believe him when he says these things), and a wonderful partner to go through this life with. He has inspired me to get more involved in the community for this game that I love so much, and he has helped me to become the best, most outgoing version of myself. He has put so much trust in me (thanks for letting me achieve my dream of making weird TikToks for ACF <3). He inspires me to challenge myself every day, to question my brain, and to seek more knowledge wherever I can get it. He is the most amazing person I have ever met and I am forever indebted to him, and incredibly lucky to have him by my side.

That's all from me, I think. I don't know what I'll be up to, come this fall, but I hope it's somewhere where I can continue to grow my love for this game and its community. See you all soon!
sophie torres
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by AlanFromHolmdel »

This season saw quite a lot change in my life. After a year with the Rutgers team, I transferred down south to Vanderbilt for the Fall 2023 semester (Don't worry Rutgers folks, I still love all of you. Except you, Aiden Dartley). I must give endless thanks to the whole Vanderbilt quizbowl team, including Aidan Fein, Gavin Markoff, Gideon Kpurubu (GAGA Squad!), and Bryanna Shao, for warmly embracing me and welcoming me to my new quizbowl home. This past year has seen countless memories formed which I will cherish for the rest of my life. I will ensure that as team chauffeur next year, our tradition of post-tournament Buc-ee's runs will not be ending any time soon.

Aidan's knowledge of and passion for everything Jazz, Brazil (and bossa nova too), and AFA in general is very inspiring. His buzz on "Nocturne in E-Flat Major" at Nats will not be forgotten any time soon. While it might sound a little sappy to say it, Aidan has been a bit of an older brother figure for me on Vandy QB and allowed me to mature significantly in QB as well as in real-life matters. I will be missing him and our painfully unfunny inappropriate brainrot jokes after he graduates (even if he will still be living literally across the street from campus).

Having Gavin on my team has been awful because the damned thief steals a lot of my hist TUs. Jokes aside, the breadth and depth of his knowledge across the categories of history, fine arts, philosophy, literature, and social sciences is frankly incomprehensible, but that might be because I will only ever be good at one subject (and maybe also some opera). I look forward to spending the next two years with him on this team as we stride toward bigger things (even if he is ditching me for Copenhagen next semester).

I don't think I knew what endurance was until I met Gideon. This absolute legend worked on a report for the entire car ride from Nashville to Bloomington, IN, and then stayed up through the night writing it, and then played a whole quizbowl tournament, and still practically did not sleep until after getting back to Nashville. His having to drop out from Nats last second might be an indelible mark on that otherwise impressive record, however. His religion coverage is incredibly deep, and I am truly envious of how much he knows about faiths and beliefs from around the world. I will certainly be missing him, his quirks, and his insane side category buzzes when he graduates in a couple of weeks.

Bryanna has been something of a matriarchal figure for Vandy QB. Although she hasn't been able to play so much this season (and flaked on us for Nats too! Unbelievable 40% attrition rate on this team!), she has been crucial in making our freshmen feel at home and moderating the behavior of certain team members at SCT. She's also the only person on this team actually good at literature, so it's a damn shame we haven't been able to have her around at tournaments too much. It is of course nice to have another cat enjoyer on the team. Very much looking forward to having her as club president next year!
amundhe wrote: Mon Apr 22, 2024 11:55 pm Lastly, my former teammates Nic Pruitt and Alan Wu are tremendous personal friends with whom hanging out is a must for me basically any time I'm near them geographically. Both of them were among those who first sucked me into the broader quizbowl community back when we were all far different people over half a decade ago, so seeing them both evolve as quizbowlers, professionals, and people has resulted in some of the best moments of my life. Both of them (especially Nic) are food connoisseurs who have greatly expanded my pallette and have provided some of the best restaurant recommendations I've had; I look forward to the day I can provide a restaurant recommendation that can match what they've provided me with. I'm hoping to continue seeing each of them around over the summers, winters, or whenever else they can (for Alan, this is apparently random trips to the Met Opera in March).

Thanks to everyone I've played against this year and I look forward to playing again next year!
Aww, thanks Aum.

With that, I absolutely cannot fail to mention Aum Mundhe. Although I ditched Rutgers and the team last year, Aum has continued to be a great friend throughout this past year-- as he mentioned, I even dragged him and a few other quizbowlers to dinner (French! :smile:) and then Turandot (not French :sad:) when I was back in Jersey for spring break. That spring break trip home also let me meet Owen Mimno for the first time (when I met him at MoMA and then took him to the Met Opera). His skill, alongside that of the rest of the NYU freshman squad, continues to thoroughly impress me. I should add that I will never not criticize his wardrobe; a cool grey shirt collar does not go well with a stone grey sweater, my friend. On the note of NYU, it does sadden me that I no longer play in the northeastern circuit, because I would have loved to see Jacob Hardin-Bernhardt's continued growth firsthand. We played in the same high school QB and NHBB circuits for years, and he was a perennial rival of mine, along with many others in the region. I guess I can also say the same about missing Andrew Zeng, another one of the guys from the NY/NJ NHBB circuit who I could just never beat (and also the inspiration to my one-off packet, Eternally Harmonious Heavenly Golden Dragon Open!). He has evolved into a monster who I have no hope of ever coming close to matching ever again. I unfortunately got to see him for only all of a couple of rounds this season.

In no particular order, I will be finishing off with some special mentions. Rosa Xia has always been a ray of sunshine and her real passion in poetry is always very inspiring. Forrest Weintraub and I both suffer from what some might call a morbid case of Francophilia, and I'm only a little bit jealous that she will be defending her title of Least Obsessed Rosa Fan for the foreseeable future. In the case of both Forrest and Rosa, I am still confused as to why they let cats run about in academic buildings at Duke and elsewhere (no, FoRRest, I will not meow back at you or call you "Fowwest"). Animal control has never been so lax. Even though he doesn't play anymore (at least for now), Daniel Ma has been nice to stay in touch with. Our shared love of Chinese history and his quirky packet will be on my mind for a while. Although I didn't get too much time to be around them this year, Joy An's chaotic energy and hilarity are unforgettable. Georgia Tech's Tianyu Xu has been a very fun rival to play against down here in the Southeast, and I cannot believe I'm ending the season down 1-3 against him. I will be running it back against you, buddy.

There are myriad others that I am forgetting here, and I mean no malice if I missed your name. This, along with the fact that I wasn't able to catch a lot of people at Nats this year due to our rush to get back to Nashville, is a bit of a sad ending to this quizbowl season. Thank you to everyone I have been around and played with or against this year! Anxious to see (or sadly not see) all of you next year!
Alan Wu / Wei-Ch'eng Chao / 趙威成
Holmdel '22
Rutgers '22-'23
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by bkmcavoybickford »

I didn't post anything in this thread last year, so this is two years' worth of thanks in one:

Firstly, to Penn Quizbowl- thanks for all the tournaments I played with you last year, and thanks for meeting up at ACF nats! It was great to see you down here in NC, and I'm looking forward to getting together next year. Sorry for quitting as vice president immediately after beginning my term. Special thanks to the admin people for doing so much logistics last year and this year's admin Celina, Vishal, and Anirudh for taking over the stuff I was going to do when I was there, I think and keeping me up to date on how it is up in Philadelphia. I'm really late on this, but thanks also to Alison for reaching out when she first realized we were both going to Penn.

While we're doing late thanks, might as well thank Nathan Zhang for inviting me to C++ despite having no affiliation with any C's, and Amogh Kulkarni and Raymond Wang for their service as head editors.

I already thanked y'all in the Penn Bowl thread, but why not shout out Penn Bowl people yet again here? Emmett and Noah were great head editors, who expended a ridiculous amount of effort to drag this set across the finishing line and were patient with my belief that all quiz bowl questions should be about linguistics. A whole bunch of people wrote great stuff for my categories, particularly Elias (also a Penn person!), despite being entirely new to writing quiz bowl questions.

And most importantly, a gigantic thanks to UNC (and Duke) quiz bowl! They've given me an exceedingly warm welcome and have done a great job of making the team an enjoyable environment. Tons of them have become friends I see outside of quiz bowl at this point, which has made transferring to a new school so much easier. They're also great at organizing tournaments and have inspired me to actually study some for quiz bowl, which I didn't think was in the cards for me after I left high school. Special thanks to the A team for being fun teammates for long tournament days and for knowing all the things I haven't been interested enough in to learn about, to the people with cars for providing many, many rides and always being willing to pick me up despite me being out of the way, and Ivvone and definitely a UNC quiz bowlerAshish for saying "Hey, what if you made a crossword for ACF Nationals?"

Also, thanks to all the people who make quiz bowl run behind the scenes- I don't know most of y'all well but I'm very grateful that you keep this hobby going.
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by cwasims »

Over the past four years, I have had the great privilege of playing on what it quite possibly the team with the most consistent roster in all of Quiz Bowl during this time. Andrew Salij, Nikhil Chellam, and myself have attended eight national tournaments and all the requisite qualifiers together, joined in our first two years by Rohin Devanathan (since graduated) and for the last two years by Sharath Narayan and Jason Huang. And now that era is at an end, certainly in the case of Andrew who graduates this year and likely in the case of Nikhil as well, who plans to graduate in the middle of the upcoming school year. There has been constancy over the years: we have been perenially second-bracket (although I think at our first ICT we were third), literature has always been a struggle, and the two chemists still neg each other out of science a bit more than they should...

But we have improved over time, inching upward over the years to now be comfortably top-15: Nikhil especially has come into his own as a top chemistry player and general knower of Asian history and religion. Andrew largely took a hiatus from Quiz Bowl in undergrad, and I hope these four years have been a worthy succession to his impressive high school career. There have been many good stories, most recently hearing endlessly about Nikhil's newfound fascination with the Mizo people of the Lushai Hills and the life story of Mary Winchester (also known as Zoluti). In many ways, Quiz Bowl takes on a new social significance in grad school, where there are far fewer ways to meet like-minded people from outside your own discipline (not to mention an intellectual significance; it is refreshing to think about and be rewarded for knowledge beyond the narrow topics you study). So I have to thank Andrew and Nikhil for sticking with Quiz Bowl (and putting up with me) these last four years - a post in this annual thread was long overdue.
Christopher Sims
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by JohnN »

With this being the first time I've actually had to stare graduation/post college life in the face this is going to be rough, but I have so many people I want to thank from this community (mostly crazy Floridians) that I wanted to get this out there before I forgot.

My first thanks I want to give to Graham Cope. I remember when he first joined the club a few years ago during COVID online practices and I didn't know or get to talk to him much but I have loved how our friendship has really blossomed the past couple years. He is an absolutely amazing person and quizbowl player and I have always loved going to practices and the couple of times I competed at tournaments with him (thanks for carrying my 0-1-0 performance at ILLIAC II lol). His vibes in and out of quizbowl are always amazing and he is easily one of the funniest people I know. I can't wait to see where this next year takes him and to see his growth as both a person and amazing player of this game. I'll definitely make trips back to Gainesville to staff next year just to see him.

I guess next would have to be Sophie Torres who I had the honor of spending more time getting to know closer especially over the last couple of years. I am so glad she joined and stayed in quizbowl all those years ago when I somewhat recruited her during my presidency as she is truly an amazing person and friend. From playing on "the team of all time" at 2024 ICT to countless quizbowl parties to watching me sit in the corner with a cone on my head after the Super Bowl (I stupidly picked the 49ers to win) so many of my amazing memories associated with my college years have her and Graham in them which make them even more special to me. I can't wait to see where her post-UF life takes her and know she will excel wherever she goes.

I would also like to thank Hayden Leif Prather for being super awesome and always bringing immaculate vibes and opinions everywhere he goes. From our first real interaction being the two of us fools driving up to UGA on a weekend to make him play Collegiate Novice solo while I staffed to being the other resident Family Guy knower of the club to the almost entire year we spent eating at the University Ave Tijuana Flats every Tuesday-Thursday after practice, I have loved every minute. We would occasionally butt heads when we were both officers but I still really enjoy and value Hayden's presence at every UF quizbowl event. I hope to still see him this next year now that we have both graduated when I staff tournaments so I can ask his opinion on whatever terrible movie we have both recently consumed.

I would like to take this time to thank Khanh Nguyen and Leo Law, who are the only UF quizbowlers who were there when I started 5 years ago that will outlast me. We all thought I would still be here longer than you guys but look who's the old man now huh. Seriously though both of them were here when I started and I have enjoyed seeing them for 5 years at practices, tournaments, parties, etc as they both always bring such interesting conversation and things to laugh at as they talk themselves out of the correct answer they said immediately to any bonus part. I would like to also thank Biniam Alaro for the insane and questionably fast production of movie packets for the club to read at practice almost every week (seriously idk how he makes them so fast). Without him I would not have been able to flex my concerningly deep knowledge of the Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises by first lining all of those movies which obviously everyone needs to see.

I would also like to thank all other current UF quizbowlers, there's too many of us to name out everyone but I have so many good memories with this club that it is going to be so hard to leave this year. You guys are the reason I held officer positions for 3 years so that I could see everyone on a weekly basis, and everyone always kept me grounded and gave amazing vibes at every practice or tournament and I really appreciate not having a single bad memory from my 5 years at this club.

Now I would like to thank some non-current UF quizbowl folks. Tracy Mirkin gets first thanks as he was what helped keep me in Quizbowl my first year. His amazing kindness and genuine interest in everyone and everything helped me to stay in this game when I was getting demolished my freshman year. Playing with him at CMST II at Georgia Tech a couple years ago was super fun, especially now that I can say I was second scorer on a Tracy Mirkin led team (ignore that I am the only other person who was on the team).I had a more fully fledged out post last year with my thanks for him so I will keep this one short, but I still appreciate seeing him at tournaments and parties this year and hope that I can continue to see more of him in the years to come.

I definitely also need to thank Mateo Acosta who was my partner in crime when I started quizbowl 5 years ago and was the only other survivor of my entering class in the club. Mateo was always so much fun to be around and talk to and to play on a team with. He would always be encouraging during tournaments no matter how tilted we might be as a team, and he was a part of our fated Florida B team at 2022 Nationals. Thank you for helping to carry my amazing (0-1-3) performance throughout that tournament and for also just being a super great friend for all 5 years that I've known you and always being my hype man. I missed you this last year but hopefully we'll reconnect in the future and be able to play some more pop culture tournaments together and reprise that 2020 ACRONYM team.

I would also like to thank some more folks who have since graduated from UF and moved on to do other things in life. Namely Zach Knecht who's up in Michigan land now at law school, he was the first president when I joined UF quizbowl and helped to create such a welcoming atmosphere that made me want to stay which I am super grateful for. Also Taylor Harvey for hosting my first quizbowl parties pre-COVID which helped show me that quizbowlers have personalities outside of just getting buzzes in a buzzer game. That really helped me want to stay in the club as I realized that the community is about more than just this game we all play and enjoy and really helped me make friends within the UF quizbowl community and make me want to get involved more with the larger quizbowl community.

Now for some non UF people. I would first and foremost like to thank Ganon Evans. He really helped me out so much in getting involved with and staying involved with ACF as he knows so much and genuinely wants to help out everyone he can. I love that I can call him my friend and can't wait to see where his future plans take him in these next few years. From replacing the ACF Nationals opening meeting to various ACF sponsored weightlifting (we all lose to Michael Kearney) competitions or videogame challenges to "It's giving mother!" when I presented him with a mother's day card at 2024 ACF Nationals to being relegated to the AC Hotel by Marriott Durham bench for sleeping, Ganon always takes everything and anything super well. His kindness and humor never fail to light up a room, both virtual and in person. I would never admit it to his face but I am definitely not a Ganon Evans hater (although I will gladly hold a spot on The List).

Next would be Jordan Davidsen. Every interaction I've had with Jordan has always been a positive one and he's never failed to make me smile or laugh. His personality and wit really are truly incredible and I am sad I only get to see him as infrequently as I do. I am excited for whatever the future holds for Jordan as I know he is really going to excel in every way with whatever he does since that is just his personality.

I'll also shoutout Zac Bennett who I had never really talked to other than for 2023 ACF Nationals logistics until this year. It was so cool to be able to see Zac at ICT this year and then again at 2024 Nationals as he's truly an incredible person. I'll always remember our fateful shopping trip to the Harris-Teeter the day before 2024 Nationals where the Ganon mother's day card plan was born and then having to circumnavigate the Home Depot to find a large box for the AV equipment (seriously you wouldn't think a large box would be that difficult to find?). Zac is so much fun to be around and I can't wait to hopefully work with him again in the future or at the very least see him at tournaments!

I would also like to thank the other members of the ACF board, who I have had less interaction with but still find amazing. Tomas Aguilar-Fraga was an amazing Site Coordinator this year and getting to work closely with them was truly a fantastic experience, made even better by meeting them for the first time at this years Nationals. Caroline Mao is always so much fun to talk to, especially since the two of us are always able to bounce Ganon hate off of each other so well in our group chats. Michael Kearney is such a thoughtful person who is infectious with his energy and truly is always focused on the minor details that others would let slip past in order to create a truly great atmosphere. Matt Bollinger is also someone who is super thoughtful and detail oriented but somehow still able to clearly see the big picture which is super amazing to have as an ACF board officer.

That's the end of my story I think, I'll also give a general shoutout to anyone else I have interacted with in a quizbowl atmosphere in these past 5 years as I've thoroughly enjoyed every single person I have ever met while playing or logisticizing this game.
John Nienajadlo
ACF Treasurer 2023-2024, ACF Site Coordinator 2022-2023
University of Florida 2024
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by njoshi1 »

I wanted to thank everyone who made quizbowl a positive experience for me this year:
First, a shout-out to Truman State's Fred Garvey and Donal Ryan for being effortlessly hilarious and tough competition throughout the year.

I also wanted to thank our cabal of med students: Annabelle, Amith, Collin, Cyrus, and Paul, who have always taken the time to ask about my aspirations and share their own experiences.

I had the privilege of spending the plane rides both to and from Durham with Matthew Lehmann, who, in addition to being the best player I have ever known, is also one of the nicest people I've met through quizbowl. His acumen as a literature and science player inspires me to keep getting better at those categories. I whole-heartedly endorse any hot takes Matthew has on this year's player poll. While I'm on the subject, please don't forget him on your science ballots.

Charles Hang is practically synonymous with WashU quiz bowl; it's impossible to imagine the team without him, his infectious optimism, or his truly excellent jokes. When, two years ago, our entire exec board either stepped down or went abroad, he encouraged me to become our treasurer and helped me navigate the role with his many, many years of experience. Our team as we know it would not exist today if he hadn't been there to keep us afloat.

Finally, thank you to my ACF Nationals teammates: Jeremy Cummings, for allowing me to take my hand completely off the buzzer for two of the most daunting subcategories in the game, Amith Punyala, for showing that the best buzzes come from the realest biology knowledge, and the empty chair, who I wish knew a little more about history than he ended up buzzing on.

Thank you in general to our grad students; I'm proud to say that, in a manner of speaking, you all are my oldest friends.

Finally, a huge thank you to my fellow officers, Jonah, Gavin, and Sophie and all of the undergrads I've played with this year (Jonah, Hrudy, Anurag, Conner, Rohan, and Henry), as well as a few who I didn't have the opportunity to play with, who have all immensely impressed me with their knowledge throughout the year. Special thanks are in order to don for providing the team his services as a reader all year, and to Henry for being the first, to my knowledge, to suggest a quizbowl mixer, which I'm sure will amount to nothing but wild success. I look forward to playing with (almost) all of you next year.
Neal Joshi
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by ClevelandCavaliers »

I'm going to keep this shout out post short (edit: I did not) because it's 3:18 AM. Without any further ado:

First, a shout out to Amogh Kulkarni, whose quiz bowl prowess never fails to amaze me and whose depreflexing prowess never fails to exasperate me. Many of you know him as a stand-up person and great friend, but what you may not know is that he spews a lot of quiz bowl cold takes and almost all of them inexplicably turn out to be wrong. I hope he chooses the hills he dies on more wisely next year; cats, after all, only have nine lives.

Shout out to Ben Chapman, who the menace of the years has found him remarkably unchanged from the laid back, aphorism-laden Ontarian of his youth. It was great seeing him once again at ICT and reminiscing over Hunter QB people and experiences.

A shout out as well to Aum Mundhe, who I’ve had the pleasure of being great friends with for almost five years. I’ve told him twenty-five times already, but he’s the wittiest person I know, and it’s been honestly pretty inspirational watching how fast he’s improved on world literature, philosophy, and fine arts over such a short period of time. Was great talking to him at 1 AM the night before ACF Nats as well.

Speaking of rapid improvements over short periods of time, Forrest Weintraub’s meteoric rise is one not witnessed since Félicette. It was great seeing her at tournaments throughout the year, and it was only slightly less great getting led by her on a wild goose chase across Manhattan. I had the fortune to play her in three close games with her this year; I always know she’s going to destroy her categories, and they’re not my categories, so I don't mind too much. The same goes for Geoffrey Wu, who is one of the coolest people I’ve met. It was great playing with him again at ESPN for the second time, and it proved just as fun as it was the first time (at Saucy).

I've had some of the best hours-long conversations with Owen Mimno about life, film, and everything else. I'm incredibly glad we’ve gotten to know each other over the past few months and hearing your deranged takes. Jason Hong is a blast to spend time with and play history scrims against; it’s also been incredibly moving watching you lead Brown QB this past year and make it the spirited community it is today.

I’m starting to run out of space, so I’m going to group the Cornell people together. It’s always great talking to Rosa Xia, who is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met and one of my first friends outside of Hunter in quiz bowl. Loved (and continue to love) listening to Child Ballads and poetry readings with you. Shout out to Yared Tadesse, who I never did end up playing basketball with this year 😔. It was great seeing RIchard Niu and Nathan Zhang at ESPN and both nationals; and it was equally great playing scrimmages and arguing about quiz bowl with them on Discord. And boy oh boy, where do I even begin with Raymond Wang?

I’d also like to shout out some of my teammates this year. Michał Gerasimiuk played with me at almost every tournament this year. It was a delight to match wits and compete alongside him, one of the most passionate people in quiz bowl; he always brought about a burst of competitive energy in me, and I’m really appreciative of that. Aside from that, it was great collaborating on bonuses and congratulating him on the umpteenth Hinduism first-line he’d pulled out of thin air.

I also wanted to shout out Tim Morrison, who is simultaneously one of the nicest and strongest players I’ve ever met. He’s a great person to have a conversation with (even when I was on zero sleep), and did a great job of keeping the team organized and on-track at both nationals. His skill at literature and film have given me something to aim towards as I look to become a better player myself at those categories. I'm looking forward to spending another year playing with him.

Along with Michał and Tim, I wanted to give a shoutout to Natan Holtzman, who generously gave me his sizable NAQT stash while moving out of Stanford, and who was a blast to play with at ACF Regionals and ICT. Ethan Strombeck, for helping me settle in during my first year at the club and showing me the ropes of club leadership. I also wanted to shout out Allan Lee, who is great to talk to and is always full of positive energy; I loved hearing his tea about old Cornell Quiz Bowl and quiz bowlers, and am excited to play with him for another year. And though the chance he reads this is incredibly slim, I want to shout out Emmett Chung, who has really stepped up to help lead Stanford Quiz Bowl as treasurer in his first year at the club.

Given how much we’ve played this year, I wanted to give a shoutout to some Berkeley people as well. Eve Fleisig, who never fails to amaze me when I play her with the utter depth of her literature knowledge, and who head edited the most enjoyable ACF Regionals in recent memory. Nathaniel Hull, who I secretly look forward to playing every tournament because I know each history tossup I get is going to be incredibly well-earned. I had a great conversation with Shahar Schwartz on the way to ACF Nationals, and can’t wait to see the monster he’s become by this time next year. And it was always great to see Swapnil Garg, Anuttam Ramji, and Ryan Sun what felt like every other week as well.

Some shout outs to some of my former Hunter teammates as well. Jacob Hardin-Bernhardt, who it was great to see again after so long at ACF Nationals. Daniel Ma, my first real role model in quiz bowl, who it was likewise great to see and play basketball with at ESPN. And a shout out to all of the current Hunterites, especially Ms. Samuel, for continuing Hunter QB’s winning tradition and presence as a great community to be a part of.

There are so many other people I enjoyed seeing at tournaments this year (Alan Wu, Mark Tawfik, Cooper Roh, Graham Troy, Sinecio Morales, Guy Indorante, Eshan Pant, Ameya Singh, and Conor Thompson, just to name a few). To all of you, and to everyone reading this post — hope you have a great summer! Look forward to seeing (and beating) you all next year :)
Andrew Zeng
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by 1.82 »

Not only is Halle Friedman by leaps and bounds the best guide I've ever had at an art museum, but she also got the best buzz in the field by a wide margin on a science tossup at ACF Nationals. The NYU team is very fortunate that she graced it with her presence for two years.
Naveed Chowdhury
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by bucket »

My time in quizbowl has been contemporaneous and, frankly, synonymous, with the most important time of my life thus far. Every year that passes seems to bring an increased portion of struggle and strain, but, conversely, an equal addition of splendour, joy, and understanding. It is for all of this that I want to single out a few people who have affected me in positive manners.

To begin: I'm an avid fan of Donal Ryan and Fred Garvey. Fred is very good and Donal's DMs are a consistent source of 2 AM confusion and subsequent cryptic dreams, and otherwise just an extreme source of amusement to me. It was a wonderful experience to play Truman the few tournaments I attended this year and I look forward to playing them more.

I am thankful Joel Miles, Alice Wang, June Yin, Aidan McWilliams and Joy An exist in my life. To think I've known all these people, and grown alongside them, in some capacity, for anywhere from 3 - 5 years, is a bit disorienting. I've given a lot of thought as of late to change, and loss, and personhood, and whatever, and this doesn't seem like it connects to this, but it does. To be candid, I have lost many people, largely family members - presences who were not, say, often-present, but were consistent - in the last few years. It is a hard-to-word but very treasured feeling that there are storied, interesting people in my life who are just around. I am probably butchering the phrasing here, but in any case, I am really glad that I know all of these people, in some capacity or other, and I look forward to still knowing them later.

I want to spend a moment on Kylan Powell, my illustrious teammate here at Siberia's equally-illustrious Squidward Community College. Kylan's less a quizbowl-presence in my life than just a regular-presence in my life - we have known each other for about twelve years at this point. There's plenty I can't go into here, and plenty that even if I wanted to would take an obscenely long time to type, so I'll stick to the highlights. I am thankful for:
  • The approximately 482 McDonald's orders you've placed for me, and the approximately 482 McDonald's orders I forgot to pay you back for.
  • That time we forced you to watch Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives. That other time you refused to watch Space Chimps.
  • That one mindmelting video on my Snapchat story of you doing the one thing while deranged piano covers of Vocaloid songs unfurled in the background.
  • Snowman bungee jumping. Dinosaur. Banana bread. With a smile! You know.
  • That time we tried and failed to watch Touki-Bouki and instead gave up and watched Who Killed Captain Alex? or something.
  • That time Izzy dragged us around all day and we ended up laying on a creek and talking about Peter Griffin for about two hours.
  • Our shared reading of Gravity's Rainbow and the fact that at least one person on the planet will, rightfully, never forgive me for liking Joyce.
Now: there are two people who I would really, really like to thank, and whose presences have been utterly indispensable to my life as it currently stands (and, presumably, will stand for a long while to come). I cannot be so specific as I'd like but if you are one of these people then you'll know the depth I'm entailing.

The first of these is Justine French. She is my confidante, my best friend, the person I trust to discuss any matter with and to discuss it thoroughly. I owe substantial credit to Justine for reasons largely unrelated to quizbowl, though it's a continual source of amusement to me that the person I randomly asked to edit my GORKY sets ended up becoming so close to me later on. So much of my thought and philosophy of life comes from my discussions with her it's more or less impossible to disentangle any of my ideas from her influence. In any case, as for highlights, I want to thank her for:
  • The countless chapters you've had to read and critique for me.
  • Our co-purchase of Analogia Entis and everything that's sprung from our readings of PRZYWARA! and any other remotely mystic tradition.
  • The innumerable clarifications on my ideas you have made that have strengthened my thought to something I could've never considered possible without you.
  • The capaciousness and strength of your mind and spirit, and how kindly you utilize them.
  • The Jesuits.
  • Every absurdly-obscure Wikipedia article you've ever sent me, because I always end up reading them.
  • The fact that at least one person is sane enough to know that whales are a spouting fish with a flat tail.
The second of these is Arya Karthik. This is probably impossible to word succinctly, much less on a public forum, so allow me to speak strangely. I want to thank them for:
  • Their love of illegal snails.
  • Being a strong poet. And a strong editor, at that, but presumably not in the same sense.
  • Cocircumpunctuality.
  • The endless discussions, about anything, anything at all, because any discussion with them is worthwhile.
  • The words "svelte" and "ecdysis."
  • Anything you have ever said on the topic of Lacan, so I don't have to read Lacan.
  • Finnish soapstone merchants.
  • Their love of non-illegal snails.
  • Everything - from our old readings of Geoffrey Hill and Hart Crane, and our wild, early attempts at writing, to OLP1 and that nightmare, up to those grand worldsweeps of nighttime discourses that will stay emblazoned on my memory for all my life. All of it meant something and all of it is a gift.
If I didn't mention you - and, there are quite a lot of you - know I have not forgotten you but merely that my hands are getting cold from such typing. I am grateful to absurd degrees for the unbelievable joy this community has wrought upon me and I hope to give as much abundance back as I've been given. I look forward to another wondrous year of competition!
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by Nurostep »

It's been a wonderful first year of college quizbowl and there are a lot of people I'd love to thank; it seems nearly inevitable that I will miss someone (or multiple someones) and I apologize in advance if that happens - your value is not determined by my mentioning or not mentioning you in this post.

There's many posts in this thread that have said things I'd want to say about people, so I'll try to focus especially on people who haven't been mentioned. I have to start by thanking my teammates at JHU, who have made my first year playing in college the best it could be. First acknowledging our wonderful A-team at ACF Nationals - history and geo specialist extraordinaire Jonathan "Well I'm half Korean/Malaysian" Lau was a delight to play alongside for the 1.5 tournaments we got to play together. I look forward to getting to tune out every single geography question while sitting next to him. David "This card will be the next answerline" Bass is one of the most passionate people I've gotten to play with, and his excitement is always palpable and contagious. His deep real knowledge of biology, physics, and math (especially stats) show through in every tournament and he has some of the greatest stories about his buzzes I've had the pleasure to be privy to. I too look forward to hearing "omg hi Sinecio"s from him for years to come. Last, but certainly not least, of the Nationals squad was Seth "Joyce Kilmer rest stop" Ebner. I've got the unfortunate fate of only getting to overlap with Seth by one year, but playing with him this year, especially at Nats, was one of the greatest joys I've had in quizbowl. He's an amazing person to talk to about literature, his philosophy and linguistics knowledge are commendable, he is absolutely INSANE at visual fine arts (big reason for our 20 ppb on it at Nats!). It was great duo-ing (and almost winning!) that online mirror of ILLIAC together. It's unfortunate that we weren't able to make his last nats a top-bracket experience, but I'd say we did a pretty good job overall :D. It was a pleasure playing with all of you, and we'll miss you, Seth. For some of the non-Nats team members from Hopkins, Max "Tortured Poets Department has a Dylan Thomas reference" Niebur was the most reliably available team member who was always down to play any tournament I proposed, and unfortunately made me start listening to Taylor Swift, for which I will never forgive him. Elizabeth "Powered the Canadian content" Jewlal is one of the funniest people I've met and was a joy to play with as she's getting back into quizbowl! I've been trying to convert Derrick "buzz Thomas Kuhn" Liu from science bowl to quizbowl, and its slowly but surely working - his fascination for the neg is as unparalleled as his knowledge of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Vaishali "I was taking a nap" Sivamani is one of the most welcoming people I've ever encountered and made entering the quizbowl scene at Hopkins much less daunting. I, of course, have to shout out my SCT D2 teammate Kevin "Warmest regards" Mao, who played alongside Derrick, myself, and Aneesh "I got the science, guys" Swaminathan, the only other person who was available to play ICT with me. Both of them are great people and I hope to get to see them at more tournaments next season. Our other board members, Dennis "UNESCO" Plotnikov, Kuleen "Lockheed" Sasse, and Nihal "Take Introduction to Archaeology" Chatra, have been very welcoming and have made the transition into college quizbowl so much easier.

Outside of my team, there's a couple groups I interact with very frequently who I would be remiss to neglect mentioning. The first I'll mention will be short, as this specific server was already mentioned earlier, but the IRYCO server has been a consistent space for 2AM philosophy discussion, controversial takes, literary disputes, and many, many packet readings. (I'll shout out Camden Williams, Omkar Marathe, Vikram Narasimhan and Ali Hamzeh here as members of this server I appreciate interacting with so often but who are not yet in college, they'll have their appreciation in the future). Although most of our interaction has been outside of this specific server, I'd like to mention my (hopefully) future HSNCT roommate Danny Peelen as a great and hilarious person to interact with. Although not currently in school, Owen Riley has also been a consistent member of this server and a great friend. His willingness to share history clues and his passion for outreach and the development of quizbowl is beautiful to see (obligatory shoutout for Venetian, especially since I'm editing Fine Arts for Venetian V!)

Among the people in that server, and likely in all of quizbowl, the person I am closest with is by far Arya Karthik. Arya and I began becoming close over the last couple years, and they have inarguably been one of the most important people in my life, in or out of quizbowl, over the past year. As they mentioned, their linear algebra help has been duly noted and will be repaid in due time (never). They've been a consistent presence who I've been able to turn to about anything, big or small, quizbowl or not, for a good deal of time now, and I really can't imagine what I'd be like now without having them in my corner and getting the privilege to be in theirs. I've now gotten to play ESPN with them (quick shout-out to Iain Carpenter and Jacob Hardin-Bernardt, my other teammates for that tournament who were both a great time), which was a great experience for me as someone who (1) was not that used to very difficult quizbowl and (2) hadn't had much experience playing with someone who was so above my skill level. Their intelligence is both fascinating and stultifying, and being able to talk to them about any topic is an honor and a privilege. If you have a chance to make their acquaintance, you should take it, and if you don't, you should get one. I could ramble on about them for many paragraphs but I will refrain from doing so for all of our time.

The other group I'd like to shout out is the editing and writing team of the upcoming, soon-to-be-acclaimed 2-dot set PLAYTIME!. Also accountable for many of my late night Discord voice calls, I've become much closer with many of the people in this server over the past couple years, and I'm very excited to get to work on a set with all of them. As far as those of them who are no longer (or are not yet) active in college quizbowl, Dan Ni, Brynn Jones, Coby Tran, James Orefice, and Marc Calza are all amazing people and it has continually been a pleasure to get to know them and to learn more about their passions and interests. Young Fenimore Lee needs no introduction; they've got a plethora of commendable quizbowl affiliations and I see them as a mentor in a few areas that they've taken time to talk about and discuss with me in great detail. They're starting a team from the ground up at Ohio University, which is no small task, and I look forward to seeing where they go from here. Aiden Dartley, who notably bestowed the unwanted AIDEN award on me on April 1st of this year, was one of the greatest high school generalists in my time (not so long ago!), and its been awesome to see his transition into the college scene. Anuttam Ramji is terribly underrated, likely due to playing at a school with one of the best players at most of their categories, and they're very insightful - it's been a great experience to hear about the way they think about things and to hear about their perspective on both the game and the world. Similarly, especially recently, hearing about Jeremy Cummings's perspective has been eye-opening, and he's one of the most knowledgeable people on classical music I've ever met. Also, like Arya, I owe him for the mountain of help he's given me with my linear algebra homework this semester. Last, but not least, of this group is Kevin Park, who is also extremely musically knowledgeable and has a fairly different worldview from mine. His desire to get better at the game is infectious and he's a great conversationalist. Everyone in this server has been pretty important to my development as a person and a player it's been a pleasure to talk to and get to know each of them better - I'm excited to continue getting to know each of them, to play more informal packets and tournaments together, and to develop more in-jokes than I thought possible.

It's been a pleasure to get to play our "cross-town" rivals at UMD many times this season (although only once - at Nats - with Caleb Kendrick, who is notably pretty okay at quizbowl!). I'd like to specifically mention Andy Yu, Isaac Mammel, Munir Siddiqui, Patrick Torre, Jacob Martin, Connor Mayers, and Emily Bussa as people from College Park I appreciated getting to interact with!

A few people from Illinois I've gotten to keep ties with transitioning into college have been some of my greatest friendships, including Cooper Roh (<3), Jason Qin, Geoffrey Wu, Roxanne/Yijen Tang, Teigue Kelly, and Saketh Dontaraju.

This post is getting quite long, but I'd like to do a quick run-through of some other people who've made a difference in my life this year. I won't go into detail, but in no particular order I'd like to express my thanks and appreciation to the following people, whether it be for your kindness, for your insight, or for just some off-handed conversations: Joel Miles, Andrew Wang, Richard Niu, Shardul Parthasarathy, Aum Mundhe, Forrest Weintraub, Joy An, Jordan Brownstein, JinAh Kim, Conor Thompson, Ganon Evans, Ivvone Zhou, Jim Fan, Andrew Zeng, Jack Rado, Shourjo Ganguli, Benjamin McAvoy-Bickford, Shiva Tegulla, Joseph Chambers, Jonathan Shauf, Aditya Sharma, Ivan Stanisavljevic, Nathan Zhang, Raymond Wang, Alex Jiang, Sam Macchi, Shahar Schwartz, Fish Tsai, Owen Minmo, Eshan Pant, Ophir Lifshitz, Akshay Seetharam, Noah Chin, Amogh Kulkarni, Halle Friedman, Tomás Aguilar-Fraga, Braden Booth, Anna Csiki-Fejer.

If I didn't mention you here it doesn't mean I don't appreciate you, only that my brain at 1 AM became incapable of processing more people and my hands became tired of adding bolded names and statements of appreciation to this post. Thank you to everyone who made this season what it was, whether by moderating, hosting, playing, writing, editing, or just being there. <3
All of our buzzes can become powers if we have the courage to neg.
Sinecio Morales
(Rockford) Auburn HS '23
Johns Hopkins University '27
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by bmg88 »

Alright, I think it's time for me to chuck my hat in the ring.

I'm unfortunately not playing quiz bowl these days, largely for circumstances outside of my control. I've left the Discord community a few times because of some of these circumstances but I keep coming back because there are a lot of people that I love in the community.

I'm structuring my gratitude just so it's easier for me to remember people, but it's not a ranking of how much I appreciate some over others.

First off, I'd like to highlight some 'olds': Jeff and Kyle Hill are two people that I can't thank enough for helping me stay excited about quiz bowl when I was in high school, putting up with my excitedness, being people that I looked forward to seeing at all of the quality MOQBA tournaments, and much more. Thank you, you two.

Sean Phillips gave me an Integrity All-Star award back in my senior season, And it serves as a reminder that I'm doing something right by being who I am. It's small but it's helpful. Thank you, Sean.

Ganon Evans, Ooohhhh Ganon Evans. You're just a great dude, man. I remember at some point when I was first getting online that I congratulated you for one of the MOQBA awards you got. Somebody was not having any of that and I got dunked on. You personally cast them aside and thanked me. Ever since then we've been great acquaintances I've always loved seeing you.

Closing out the olds, my former coach, Josh Malecki, You helped me escape when I needed it most in high school. You kept me in when I was having trouble with my teammates. And you were the catalyst for me meeting all these great people. Thank you.

Now onto folks that are more my peers

As a blanket statement, EVERY MEMBER OF MQCSS!. I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW FAR THE SERVERS COME SINCE WHEN I FIRST STARTED IT! Not many people outside of Missouri know the full story, so I'm going to retell it briefly, removing some parts that are not relevant.

They were not many 'misery' people on the HSQB server when I first joined. Alice Wang was pretty much the only one. They reached out to me and we became fast friends. Slowly but surely more Missouri people trickled in, and, there was actually a server before MQCSS. It was just Western Missouri, because there were only 2 non westerners on HSQB, 2 Ladue-ites, June Yin and Louis Li. I don't know what the tipping point of creating MQCSS was (probably me being empathetic), But there were enough Missouri people that I decided to create the first (all of) Missouri only, Student only, server. There were not many to start, but boy has it grown. I tapped Alice as my Co-Founder, and Missouri was off to the races. There was lots of outreach involved to get where we are today, I am proud of how far the state has come in terms of its skill in The last 5 to 6 years. I believe that the community has had a major part of it and I take Great satisfaction in knowing that while I may not have been a great quizbowl player, I was a cog in the machine that brought Missouri to where it is today. Onto some specific people

Alice Wang One of the first people to say hi when I joined HSQB, my cofounder, and at one point my teammate when I was at Mizzou. Thanks for talking to me and helping make a lot of this possible

Gabe Forrest is someone who's meaning to me is something I'm hesitant to put words to. I don't think I've ever said this, but when I saw that first nuts statline of yours at (Sparta?) I was envious. Angry, even. It's one of the things I regret. I was so childish in that thought. But, you've grown to be someone that is one of the truest friends I've ever had. I've helped you through so much and you've helped me through so much that I can't imagine where we would be today if we didn't know each other.

Joel Miles and, incidentally his mother as well. Joe's mom drove me to the first NASAT workshop, when I was still recovering from an illness, And we had never spoken to each other in person. That experience is a memory that I'll hold on to for a long time. We've been great friends since the earliest days of the server and I can't do anything else other than just thank you over and over.

Briefly, Shardul Rao, You're a cool dude. Playing ILLIAC with you was fun even though I didn't contribute much.

The 3 peeps on a particular QB server's math channel who helped me be even more excited about math. You know who you are. I've kept the server and people's names out in case some want to remain confidential.

Ethan Smith in a similar vain as above, but MQCSS
The Great Kirksville Duo, Fred and Donal for being great people, Donal especially, for making me a Spotify playlist for working out and nerding w/ me about nature.
And everyone whose ever been kind to me especially through my difficult times. You've pulled me through.
Aidan McWilliams

Fort Osage Class of '21
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by fredg »

I suppose I should've written this earlier.

First, I'd like to thank the Missouri Quizbowl Student Server. Yes, the entire server. Without you guys, there's absolutely no chance I ever engage with the quizbowl community at large and become anything more than just some guy who thought he was great because he knew stock from Protobowl. With that in mind, you guys are responsible for what has basically been my entire social life in 2020 and beyond, and I can't thank you enough. To that end, Aidan McWilliams and Alice Wang get special praise for being the minds behind the server in the first place, as do Joel Miles and Gabe Forrest for being nice, gracious, fun to talk to, and putting up with me despite being arguably the two best high school players in the state at the time (and still being great players now). Of course, even those I didn't specifically mention here are still worthy of praise, and there's significant overlap between this category and ones that come later.

Next, I'd like to thank those other teams that make playing quizbowl so thrilling. Mizzou is in about as good of a spot for traveling to tournaments as we can get, and I appreciate that Alice Wang and Brendan Fuller have done their best to get tournaments hosted at Mizzou in their capacity as presidents of Mizzou Quizbowl (even if I think the tiger joke has long since run its course). Connor Lee is a strong contender for one of the most effortlessly funny people in all of quizbowl, if you ask for my unsolicited opinion. And last, but certainly not least, the Mizzou A team of Braden Booth, Owen Arneson, Doug Sachs, and Drew Scheiner are not only terrifying to play against but extremely fun to be around. All the other Mizzou quizbowlers and students who make tournaments function, whether by playing on additional teams or by staffing at tournaments they host, have also earned my gratitude.

WUSTL, as the undisputed best team in the state for years on end, is a shockingly benevolent overlord all things considered. I'd like to extend my thanks to Neal Joshi for being not only tough competition but extremely fun to talk to; Jeremy Cummings for (apparently) looking like me while also being an understatedly scary music player, and for TDing WUSTL tournaments along with Jonah Schwartz and Gavin Lux; June Yin, who, while not at WUSTL this year, is still a good friend and underrated quizbowler; Charles Hang for providing sage advice, being a fun conversation partner, and paying for our dinner at ACF Nats; and Matthew Lehmann for not going out of his way to sealclub us (and more seriously, for being one of the nicest people in quizbowl while also being the second best college player).

I'd also like to acknowledge Gabe Forrest and Kylan Powell from "Squidward Community College" for being incredibly tough competition on the rare times we got to play each other and for being among the rare teams that rival our chemistry, Missouri S&T, who we sadly play way less than we should, and SIUE, who I consider to be an honorary Missouri team with how often they frequent our tournaments.

It would be remiss of me not to extend my thanks to MOQBA, who work tirelessly to ensure high school quizbowl in Missouri runs smoothly. Most of all, I'd like to thank Ganon Evans, for giving us the chance to be members, and Jeffrey Hill, Kyle Hill, Michael Menkhus, Jacob O'Rourke, and every other MOQBA member, without whose hard work the Missouri quizbowl circuit would certainly not be what it is today.

Here's a miscellaneous section for people who deserve acknowledgement but who I can't fit anywhere else. Thanks to Joy An for taking a picture with us at ACF Nats and being a great person overall. Thanks to everyone in the poetry server (and in particular its benevolent overlord Rosa Xia) for letting me hang out in there despite not really liking poetry all that much. Thanks to all of our moderators at ACF Nationals, who did their jobs about as well as you could ask them to (especially the ones who staffed bottom bracket). Actually, thanks to all of our moderators in any of the tournaments we played, none of whom I can really complain about. And thanks to those of you I did not name who make quizbowl a better place.

But certainly, I couldn't have done any of this without Donal Ryan, my teammate and my friend for over 15 years now. Were it not for him setting up the process for Truman State to officially get a quizbowl team, we would certainly not have played much college quizbowl. His knowledge base is a great combination of unique and relatively deep, providing an excellent counterbalance to my extremely shallow generalism (ACF Nats buzzpoints don't lie). I certainly wouldn't go to any tournaments if he wasn't there to have the same passion for quizbowl that I did, and I certainly wouldn't have as much fun if he wasn't there to keep me in check. I would also like to extend thanks to AJ Adwell, Colin Barry, Sam Barber, and all others who have accompanied us to tournaments. While we were never able to secure all of these people at the same time, they did their parts, got some key buzzes and bonus pulls, and prevented us from going completely mad.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, nor is it a particularly well-crafted one (I wrote this from about 1-2 AM local time), but it reflects what I'm currently feeling. May our futures have yet more positive interactions that necessitate additions to our positivity lists.
Fred Garvey
Kirksville (MO) 2017-2021
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

bucket wrote: Thu May 02, 2024 7:00 pmEvery absurdly-obscure Wikipedia article you've ever sent me, because I always end up reading them.
Perhaps belated based on "when we practiced on the packets," but this reminds me to appreciate Ophir for sending all those Wikipedia links to Jordan Brownstein, and to appreciate Jordan for writing questions based on them. This resulted in the best question set ever. I'm not saying that if you (yes, you, the reader) have long friendship's worth of Wikipedia links from someone, you are obligated to make a set out of them as a touching testament to your friendship. And I'm not saying the result is guaranteed to be excellent. But yes, actually, I am saying both of those things.
Matt Jackson
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Yale '14, Georgetown Day School '10
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Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by On a lurgid bee »

As fun as it was getting to talk about how good my teammates are as players (please vote for them in the player poll!), they are even better people and I’m lucky to have had the chance to get to know them over the past three years. As fearsome as the Evil Empire of Chicago’s reputation may be as a team, I always found it welcoming and I was so happy to get a chance to be with the team for four years. However, I was lucky to find that the WUSTL team was every bit as kind, committed, and pleasant to be around, and I hope that the friendships I’ve made on the team prove to last just as long as the ones I made in Chicago.

To begin, Charles. I don’t think the community quite understands how much Charles has done for the lower Midwest circuit, and for the WUSTL team in particular. It’s a certainty that without Charles’s constant support we wouldn’t have such a big and fun team, and that the lower Midwest circuit as a whole would be radically different. Charles is at pretty much every practice, and he’s always happy to read for people, to organize tournament logistics, and to provide a kind presence that lights up the room. He's always happy to explain a question whenever somebody asks, and he has a lot of stories and anecdotes that are fun to listen to at practice, as well as a series of jokes that range from genuinely funny to intentionally groan-inducing. The fact that Charles has a full-time job, that he takes classes, and he still finds the time to drive half an hour to and from practice twice a week is astounding, leaving aside the time he sets aside for everything else. Over his time at WUSTL, Charles has also done incredible work to make the team self-sustaining, meaning that even after he leaves the team can hopefully continue to run WUHSAC and provide a solid presence in the Midwestern circuit. It might’ve been easier for him to just do everything himself, and keep functioning as a quasi-officer on the team, but Charles put in a great deal of extra time and effort to make sure the officers of the team have all the tools they need to keep the team as strong as ever, and the circuit as a whole will benefit. In addition, this year Charles organized team meetings to check in about studying, read books in areas the team was weak on, and overall just did the yeoman’s work to make sure that the team was progressing but that everyone was remaining happy and not stressed. Charles is also a crucial member of the WUSTL club’s social scene, taking the time to organize summer hangouts. A common theme among the (many) people I have to thank for providing me such a good experience at WUSTL was that they allowed me to just show up to what I could, and I appreciated that a lot. Certainly, Charles was just as busy if not moreso than me, but he always made time for the team and kept it running in a way that I never would’ve had the energy for. I hope we can remain friends well after I graduate, and I’ll certainly enjoy looking at the pictures of the team on Facebook and remembering the good times we’ve had over the previous three years.

Next, Annabelle. I was very happy to learn that Annabelle was coming to WUSTL, because I knew of her by reputation as a nice person who knew things in categories that I absolutely do not. Well, both of those things are true, but they are massive understatements. Annabelle is such a good person, and it’s hard not to be impressed by everything she can do inside the game and out of it. I will never cease to be amazed by the fact that she can make things with needles during games, as well as while doing med school cards and watching TV. There is no possibility that me trying the same would end in anything other than bloodshed. Annabelle and I both had a lot of school related things going on this semester, so I didn’t get to see her at practice as much, but it was always awesome to see her at practice, and it was certainly rewarding when all of her STEP studying resulted in a superb bio performance at ACF Nationals! Like Charles, Anabelle is incredibly busy with various parts of Real Life, but she still managed to make plenty of time for quiz bowl. She is always calm, wonderful to be around, and honestly one of the highlights of the year was getting to see her excitement at Duke’s hosting of Nats, and her happiness to show people around and see old friends. Unlike Charles, she retains a firm appreciation of the trees surrounding Durham, which is a quality I never thought I would have to appreciate. Lastly, I haven’t cared about the mythology category for some time, but Annabelle’s genuine love of the subject and the effort she puts into her questions has given me some motivation to maybe look into learning and appreciating the category again, which would be a great thing to have back. I know that wherever she ends up after St. Louis she’ll be just as positive a presence as she continues to be for WUSTL, and her dedication to helping both the team and people at large is unmatched.

Next, Paul. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Paul for even longer than the other members of the team, since we actually played in high school. While I had the opportunity of getting to see how good he was as a player in high school, I never really got the chance to know him until I came to WUSTL. I hadn’t realized that Paul was a basketball fan, and I enjoyed getting to talk to him about that, even though as a Bucks fan he’s experienced more happiness in his basketball lifetime so far than I expect to my first 35 years on this earth. Paul is always upbeat, and he was reliably bemused by the fact that I read in First Aid in my misspent youth, while having the decency to refrain from comment about the “realness” of my science knowledge. What I said in the player poll was true: Paul’s presence on the team at Nationals was both stabilizing in game and wonderful out of game. It would have been so easy for him to use the fact that he had a wedding in California the day before as an excuse to miss nationals, or the fact that he had to miss some rounds to start the tournament. However, he took the redeye from California instead, which I’m sure was not a fun experience but speaks to his dedication to the team and his willingness to be there for us. I hope he continues to play as long as his schedule allows it, but even if he gives up the game for a while or for good I deeply appreciated getting to play with him. I’ve frequently seen Eric Mukherjee talk about wanting Paul to succeed online, and I feel the same way: There are few teammates I’ve appreciated playing with as much as Paul, and I hope to join Eric for years to come talking about how well Paul is doing at tournaments.

Following Paul, Amith: Like Annabelle, Amith was one of the people who entered WUSTL with me, although he’s one of our many med school-PhD students, which means that when I visit the team I should be able to see him again several times! It’s been so fun getting to know him over the three years, from jokes about how we should make the team more evil in Chicago’s image, to discussing his cats, to discussing a whole host of things on the way to ICT and Nats. As I mentioned in the player poll thread, he studied a solid amount of geography in the months leading up to the tournament (which was reflected in him being among the top geography players at ACF Nationals)! However, he had also listened to every album of the year nominee except for one. Amith’s interests are so varied that it’s easy to find a topic of conversation with him, and his personality is so engaging that you can’t help but become his friend. I always enjoyed getting to see him at practice and tournaments, and I’ll be very excited to see him at Midwest tournaments to come. You should all absolutely try to talk to him at tournaments, you will not be disappointed.

Jeremy is one of the most interesting people I’ve met through quiz bowl. He’s capable of making even math seem approachable and interesting. As long as I’ve known Jeremy he’s been a fixture of the team, reliably attending practices and attending pretty much every team social event there is. Jeremy is always willing to drive for the team, and he provides both pleasant conversation and a wide variety of excellent classical music to make car rides more enjoyable! Without him, Amith and I never would’ve found out that the end of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony is a banger after ICT. Jeremy is also a fantastic teammate, with the same calmness, wit, and love of knowledge reflecting in his play. He’s both low neg and happy to get a question on any “impossible” topic you’d think of. Jeremy also loves quiz bowl more than almost anyone I’ve met, and his dedication to playing as many tournaments as possible (up to some inconceivable round number) is not something that I could ever match, but it is something that I appreciate and would hope others can strive to emulate.

Neal is certainly one of the funniest members of WUSTL’s team, as you may have noticed from his Discord posts. He’s also a prominent member of the club, as both a vice president this year and (I believe) the full-fledged president next year. Neal attends so many tournaments, and I think he’s been at nearly every practice that I’ve been at. He’s always happy to read for practice, which is particularly helpful when we have to split up our rooms and need somebody to read for the room that’s playing less difficult questions. I’m sure many people would chafe at this (since they don’t get the opportunity to stay with the higher level questions) but Neal always takes the opportunity in stride, and provides the younger players with helpful commentary and with his wit and kindness on top of that! As Neal mentioned, I got to spend the flight to and from Nationals with him, and we basically talked the entire time. It was wonderful to end my WUSTL career on that note, as while Neal pointed out we never got the chance to play together at a tournament, I still got to talk to him plenty, and to play with him at practice where I could get a chance to experience his high-level skill for the game and his delightful personality. As I told Charles, I’d love to play with him again at some point in the future, and hopefully there will be a chance to play with Neal in the future as well. Until then, he’ll continue being a crucial part of the team, and a welcome presence at any tournament he chooses to attend. I know he already has plenty of friends in the game, but many more people are missing out on how fun it is to talk to him.

Jonah was the club president this year, and he did an amazing job organizing logistics, directing tournaments, and coming to a bunch of practices. He’s always a pleasure to talk to, whether it’s about one of his quiz bowl interests (the Roman Empire, Abrahamic religions, various other odds and ends), or his non quiz bowl interests such as the Patriots (oof). It was fantastic playing with him at SCT, where he demonstrated both that his PPG remains exactly the same regardless of teammate or opponent (the stuff he gets he will ALWAYS get) and that he’s a very fun teammate, always quick with a joke or a fun story about a buzz or bonus pull. The WUSTL team will sorely miss him, and I hope he gets a chance to staff or play a tournament or two out in Seattle, or to play a few tournaments online.

Gavin was our treasurer this year, and he was instrumental in us getting all of our money collected from WUHSAC. While we do get some funding, the extra funding we get from tournaments is crucial for making sure that grad students don’t have to be entirely self funded. Gavin and the other officers made sure to (politely!) hound teams to make sure that we got paid and that the money came in soon enough that it could help fund travel for graduate students. Gavin also attended many practices, and was always happy to read as well as to play and contribute on a team! I look forward to a hopefully long tenure for him as an officer, and for his role on the team both as a player and as a leader to only go up from here!

And now, Sophie. Sophie is one of our newer officers, and she’s the first social media coordinator I’ve ever had on a team! It’s very nice after tournaments to get a post talking about how the team did and making people excited for the next one, and I’m glad that we created an Instagram page and hope it continues. Please follow at https://www.instagram.com/washuqb?utm_s ... c0MzIxNw== (Apologies if this is wrong, I never quite got the hang of Instagram). Sophie is always a welcome presence at practice and tournaments, bringing excitement, positive energy, and good buzzes in lots of categories. The team is lucky to have her, and I hope she continues having a great time with quiz bowl.

A quick shoutout to our other club presidents during our tenure: Em and Mia. Like Matt said in the thread above, one of the best things for a grad student like me is being able to show up and play quiz bowl, and both of them did an admirable job keeping the club in good shape for me to be able to do that. I genuinely can’t remember a logistical snafu during my time in the club, and I deeply appreciate that I had such competent officers. The WashU team’s success wouldn’t be possible without the officers, and I think it’s very important for them to be recognized. They are also wonderful people who I hope are having excellent post-grad lives.

Next, June. While it’s a shame I never got to play with you (certainly your science knowledge in particular is very impressive, and the breadth and realness of your knowledge certainly seems like it’d be fun to play alongside), I certainly enjoyed getting to know you on the way to Nationals last year and SCT this year. It was so awesome that you packed into the car for three hours to and from a tournament just to staff, the quiz bowl community could se even more people like you!

Finally, Sebastian, Henry, Rohan, Conner, Hrudy, Greta, Don, and all of our younger players. While I didn’t get to talk to all of you as much as I would’ve liked (although playing with Don at SCT was a pleasure!) I am happy you all are on the team and I hope you continue to play. We couldn't have done what we did this year without every one of you.
Matthew Lehmann
Barrington High School '17
UChicago '21
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:55 am

Re: 2023-2024 Player Appreciation Thread

Post by Gemomania »

This took a lot longer than I expected to finish.

For the past two years, I’ve been in a decidedly fortunate situation within college quizbowl. I’d like to thank a couple people who’ve helped welcome me into it, starting with my club:

You don’t need to be told how scary of a player Eve Fleisig is, but as someone who constantly practices and plays against her, it never ceases to be impressive. Any question gotten against her is a victory, and it’s nice to be reminded by her skill how much more there is to read and learn (even the stuffy things she knows, which she still makes sound interesting with her passionate retellings). Beyond quizbowl, I’m glad to be a part of a club with someone as kind and thoughtful as Eve. She’s also a great baker.

Nathaniel Hull is the kind of person you instantly want to be friends with. He brings the same qualities of composure and reliability on and off the buzzer and is effortlessly knowledgeable about so many things, from Chautauqua Lake to Barnstable, Massachusetts. He can strike up a conversation anywhere, anytime, and I enjoyed staying up with him talking until 5 am at ICT. Despite being a top ten history player (maybe the best out of anyone in the club at a major category), Nathaniel might be a better boardgamer than quizbowler, though it’s also possible I’m just not very good.

I’m truly grateful to Shahar Schwartz for running the club with me this year — we’ll have to figure out how to do it without him next year. I share a lot of Shahar’s enthusiasm for quizbowl and am always happy to discuss the game and its theory with him. I also share his propensity for negging and am well on track to beat the Berkeley neg record that he currently owns. Shahar is also a very good quizbowler and boardgamer in his own right, and I hope that he enjoys getting away from 20-hour lab weeks, at least for a bit.

If the Berkeley club were to play 1v1 on anything sufficiently difficult, Swapnil Garg would probably come out on top. Swapnil plays quizbowl with an intelligence I’ve never seen elsewhere, being able to put together good and very often correct guesses from the barest of context. I’ve played with him thrice this season, and he’s always been a good teammate to play with, never out of witty commentary. Sometimes I’m surprised someone as cracked as Swapnil is spending his time playing quizbowl with us. Shoutout to him for hosting our end-of-the-year party twice.

Ryan Sun is a real hooper. We entered college at the same time and have now played multiple nationals shorthanded together, with Ryan making both of them highly enjoyable. He’s one of the best and most consistent players I’ve met — you always know he’s going to destroy a couple of tossups and seldom be wrong when playing with him, all while he’s super chill about it. He’s also elite at China-related content and a clutch bar trivia knower. Thanks for putting up with all my negs and also for carrying me in Mario Party.

Rohan Shelke is someone I knew from playing in high school, but didn’t get to know well until playing alongside him. It’s immediately clear upon meeting Rohan the interest and curiosity that he has for the world around him: he’s great at geography, a connoisseur of regional cuisine (Culver’s), and an experienced recommender of campus study spots. Rohan also knows many quizbowl things that I could never imagine learning, and I’m glad to have played with him on our ICT and Nats teams this year. I hope Haas doesn’t get to his integrity.

We missed Vinu Harihar at Nats and it showed, though I wish him the best of luck with his quals. Vinu added a lot of experience to a team that was otherwise pretty young, and this is without mentioning his almost inscrutable knowledge base. I hope I get to see more of him and the genial presence he brings next year; fingers crossed to witness another incredible first line after he wakes up from a nap. Vinu also knows an absurd amount about the Bay Area food scene for someone who only recently moved here.

Kevin Ye and I had only a year of overlap at school, but we’ve still become relatively good friends. I take great pleasure in watching him destroy a set’s physics and then depreflex, as well as discussing with him different questions that caught our attention. There are a lot of pockets of literature in which Kevin is really well-read, and though it’s unfortunate that he plays in the circuit he does, he’s a good source of plays and short stories. We’re all going to miss him a bunch as he goes back to Canada this fall. Thanks for corralling me to Bobby G’s nearly every Wednesday despite me not knowing anything.

Beyond the teammates most adjacent to me, here are some other nearby people I’d like to mention:

Rohan Venkateswaran and Angela Sun reached out to me last year asking if I wanted to take over the club and they’ve been a great help in smoothing the transition to someone less experienced.

Terry, Albert, and Janghyun have been nothing short of extremely impressive for, I believe, newcomers to quizbowl. I was blown away by them during our early practices, and they’ve only gotten better since.

East Coast transplants Jason Golfinos, Grace Liu, and Kelvin Li have been a great help to us in terms of getting staff for our tournaments.

Thank you to Nicholas Karas, Jeff Hoppes, and all the other staffers and volunteers who helped put on the CalCups. Nicholas especially does a tremendous job of coordinating everything while being on the other side of the country, and we’re really appreciative of the work he does for the NorCal circuit.

Though the field sizes aren’t the largest, our tournaments resultantly had a high-skill floor (the highest of any region, I might claim). Though I can’t speak for everyone, I’m glad to be able to constantly face off against such good competition, which mostly consisted of the people I’ve mentioned above and Stanford, which includes Tim Morrison, Andrew Zeng, Michał Gerasimiuk, Allan Lee, Eric Wolfsberg, Natan Holtzman, Ethan Strombeck, Emmett Chung, and more. Despite currently being the only other Bay Area quizbowl fixture, I’m always glad to see their faces yet again.

A few other quizbowl people whom I’ve interacted with and am currently working alongside on a set:

Despite his many fans, Jeremy Cummings is still underrated. Beyond being extremely good at music and math, Jeremy’s also the reason I’ve been introduced to a lot of trick-taking games and British game shows. He’s a good teammate, always rational and level-headed, and he carried me at Chicago Open and Sammarinese. Despite some bad difficulty takes and a strange worldview, he’s a pretty good guy who always manages to find a way to surprise me (did you know he was born in California?) and keeps me informed about Shakespeare and other modern play stagings.

Young Fenimore Lee is a hard worker. From single-handedly holding up the Ohio University quizbowl team to crafting beautiful poems on the daily, I’m constantly impressed by the amount of effort they put into their craft, whatever it be at that particular moment. In my head, they fit a lot of humanities stereotypes, but I’m often reminded of how skilled they are in many different areas. I’m looking forward to reading new copies of their music publication Jellybones and seeing the poet, teacher, quizbowler, and friend they become.

Aiden Dartley is at least t5 birds, but I guess he’s pretty well-rounded otherwise, despite not pulling the bears and squirrels clue he told me about at ICT last year. I’ve counted him as a friend for a while, and I appreciate each and every out-of-pocket link he sends me (even when I don’t respond to them). He’s also a damn good writer and is leading PLAYTIME in question volume, so after the set gets done, he definitely deserves another shoutout or three. I hope he escapes New Jersey one day.

Sinecio Morales has been talked about enough in this thread, but suffice it to say he’s good at the quib. Even though he’s secretly very mean (not really), I’m glad to have gotten closer with him over the past year and am lucky to count him as one of my friends. Sinecio is always down to have a late-night talk about anything, and it’s been edifying to hear his thoughts on various topics, quizbowl and non-quizbowl. He’s dedicated to the game and continues to hone his skill, growing as a good contributor to the JHU team while not beating the pre-med allegations (because they’re true).

Kevin Park is, as a fellow Californian, one of the first people in this section I met in real life during my first meaningful in-person tournament. Kevin’s always on the grind, and it shows. Every moment I spend with him, whether it’s solving crosswords, playing Framed, or listening to him rant about Barry Lyndon and the evils of modern music, I see how passionate he is about every facet of his life and how dedicated he is to growth and success. I know he’s going to continue improving, which I’m looking forward to seeing along with his journey to med school.

Despite being robbed multiple times in past science player polls, Dan Ni is pretty cracked at science, Buddhism, and Simpsons trivia (and has gotten me to watch some of the newer seasons). He’s a good teammate and a constant springboard of interesting discussion. He also has a thought-provoking, technical approach to questions that makes me excited to hear his answer to anything. I’m looking forward to playing his Festivus packet this year and seeing which of our friends’ names he’ll butcher in pursuit of the perfect pun.

Marc Calza, while not an active player in the college circuit, is an expert mathematician and truly one of the kindest people I know. They’re always willing to lend a hand or give useful advice to anyone who asks, and they consistently look for ways to make the lives of other people better. There’s no artifice with Marc, and they manage to be a cool and interesting person without ever straying from the values that they hold. Marc’s knowledge of old sitcoms is unmatched.

Brynn Jones is a vet at many things — decent haircuts, appearing on television, horsebowl, and soon veterinary medicine. She’s a pretty cool cat (with many cats) who’s cracked at myth and always has the latest gossip about wayward veterinary clinic assistants. I’m always continually impressed by the breadth of her knowledge and how clever she is: I made a joke about how I hoped she’d remember us when she won a lot of money on a game show, and then it happened within the year. I know she’s going to do great things at Oregon State and beyond!

Coby Tran, as made immediately clear after only a few exchanges, is one of the funnier people I know. Though I only got to meet him in person recently, I enjoyed our evening conversation at Denny’s and every other talk we’ve had. I wish him luck with his masters and his quest to sell out, even if it means he’s joining the empire of Chicago quizbowl. He also declared me the winner of Cookie Clicker Winter Tournament Two, which is cool.

Though they're also not currently playing in the college circuit, James Orefice is truly the GOAT when it comes to Eastern European film and French novelist Sporcle quizzes. Their sarcasm is as sharp as their wit, and whenever I have the pleasure of speaking with them, I always end up learning something new. Beyond being a beast at Eyes packets they’ve played twice before, James is a good friend, and I’m always keeping an eye out at art museums to find a new cool piece they hopefully haven’t seen yet.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this quizbowl season possible and improved it with their presence.
sagittarius '22
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