In the aftermath of a two-week-long poll and a detailed survey of the strongest teams in the region, the SoCalQuizbowl.org team is ready to share its analysis of each team compared to each other and to the other teams in nationwide. Going into the spring season, this is the point in time when teams begin finalizing their nationals squad and picking up stray subjects and niche areas to round out their composition.
Each analysis uses Fred Morlan’s most recent nationwide rankings of high school teams as a reference point.
1st – La Jolla A (164 points, Morlan: 7)
Despite losing fine arts specialist Erica Liu (MIT ’19) and RMP specialist Charlie Mann (UCLA ’19), Vincent Doehr (12) and James Malouf (11) lead the team with tremendous depth in literature, history, science, and geography – not to mention that Doehr is unquestionably the best NAQT player in the region. However, the streamlined depth-over-breadth dynamic creates a rather inconsistent and packet-dependent team – with just two main scorers, opponents of equal caliber are sure to take advantage of their blind spots in the arts and in RMP.
2nd – Canyon Crest A (140 points, Morlan: 20)
Canyon Crest is arguably the most balanced team in the region: science specialist Daniel Wang (10), history player Boopala Arul (10), and rising generalist Jeffrey Qiu (10) are captained by grizzled veteran and RMP specialist Nathan Mar (12). The team needs to continue attending tournaments with the same roster to solidify their team dynamic and plug up their weak areas in all of the subjects not in the Big Three (literature, history, and science).
3rd – Torrey Pines A (136 points, Morlan: 30)
Torrey Pines’s greatest strength is in history specialist and NAQT powerhouse Thomas Freedman (10), who doubles as an all-around generalist for the team. Vasu Vikram (12) returns as the resident fine arts player, while Walter Zhao (12), Brandon Zhang (12), and Casimir Kothari (12) are shuffled around from tournament to tournament. The team should look to consolidating their roster and playing harder tournaments such as UC San Diego’s mirrors of MUT and DII ICT in the spring.
4th – Rancho Bernardo A (102 points, Morlan: 31)
Rancho Bernardo is spearheaded by Kion You (12), Southern California’s strongest individual player. A maestro on fine arts and an all-around threat in every other subject, You led his team to finish just one point-per-bonus (PPB) behind Michigan’s Detroit Catholic Central High School (DCC), the top-ranked team in the nation, at UC San Diego’s collegiate-difficulty MLK tournament. One-person teams are an all-in strategy, though – fourth players Bryan Ugaz (11) and Omar El-Sabrout (11) must pick up after You’s gaping weaknesses in the sciences.
5th – Westview A (92 points, Morlan: 45)
Westview’s greatest issues stem from roster inconsistency and the loss of NAQT powerhouse Kevin Li (MIT ’19) – most of the burden has shifted to Rahul Keyal (11), the team’s literature specialist and budding generalist. With Chaitanya Kore (11) absent from their nationals squad, the team needs more than mythology player Shivank Nayak (11) to put a dent in the standings – they should look to turn their fourth players (Kevin Yu (10) , Anish Sathe (11)) into strong subject specialists.
6th – Arcadia A (52 points, Morlan: 59)
Unfortunately for history player David Zhang (12) and science specialist Joshua Jen (12), this year is a rebuilding year for Arcadia, whose infinite roster and stranglehold over the region seems to be coming to a close. The team should continue to mix and match their army of sophomores – Xiaoke Ying (10), Jacob Glass (10), Matt Forster (10), Hamlin Liu (10), and Roger Lin (10) – to see how they best complement each other and the A team.
7th – Irvine A (47 points, Morlan: 84)
History specialist Shripad Badithe (10) leads this team as he makes strides towards generalism, but the team still needs to fill out a complete roster that can cover the remaining subjects and pick up stray points on tossups and bonuses. The team should consolidate a roster of fourth players Brian Zhou (11), Andy Huang, and Justin Chen (10) around Badithe and team captain Sun Ah Lee (11).
8th – North Hollywood A (24 points, Morlan: 54)
The loss of Sam Winikow (Chicago ’19) hasn’t been as devastating as many folks predicted – emergent top scorers Mila Frank (12) and Justin Le (11) took their squad right back into being a perennial playoff team almost immediately. North Hollywood should look to consolidate a four-person roster and consistently attend tournaments to streamline their rebuilding team dynamic.
On the cusp: Cathedral Catholic, Bishop’s, Los Alamitos, Scripps Ranch