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By Aneesh Karuppur '21, Brian Li '20, Joe Gottesman '20, and Shaan Lehal '23
Pingry's QuizBowl team of Aneesh Karuppur '21, Brian Li '20, Joe Gottesman '20, and Shaan Lehal '23 was declared the champion of the National Academic Championship (NAC) on June 7.
The NAC is hosted each year by QUnlimited, which hosts weekly QuizBowl matches during the fall and the spring. To be eligible to compete at NAC, a team must win at least one match in either fall or spring season; each season has approximately 20 teams competing each week. Pingry's talented QuizBowl team has qualified for NAC every year for the past several years, and even placed second in the Winter season final ranking.
Usually, the NAC is divided into four regional tournaments in Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. The winners of these large tournaments then compete at the national tournament in Chicago, and one team is crowned the National Champion. Due to the coronavirus, this year's NAC was held digitally over Google Meet and in two preliminary weekends rather than the four. Pingry's took three teams to the tournament: JV (Caleb Park '23, Evan Wen '23, Adam Bauhs '23, Max Watzky '23, and Charles Jiang '23); Pingry B (Aneesh Kadali '20, Jamie Wang '20, Dilan Bhat '20, Mirika Jambudi '23, and Ayush Basu '23), and Pingry A (Brian Li '20, Aneesh Karuppur '21, Joe Gottesman '20, and Shaan Lehal '23). All teams competed on the same weekend. The JV and B teams posted high scores and excellent records after the preliminary rounds. Pingry A emerged with a perfect 6-0 record, 386 points per game, and the number one seed in the entire tournament going into the playoffs weekend. Only teams with a 4-2 record or higher (or two games with at least 400 points) were eligible to compete in the playoffs.
Over the playoff weekend, Pingry A defeated AD Henderson High School (seeded 32), Green Farms Academy (seeded 16), Sparkman High School (seeded 25), Edgemont High School A (seeded 12), and finally Lusher Charter School (seeded 2) to win the tournament. Pingry passed 400 points three times, and was just shy of 600 points in one game. Out of each four-round match, Pingry A was always ahead or tied at the end of the first round, and was always ahead by the end of the second round.
Due to the dominant performance, Captain Brian Li '20 was inducted into the QUnlimited NAC Hall of Fame due to his outstanding contributions to the team—a special honor reserved for players who are extremely important to the winning team's success.
Aneesh Karuppur '21, the incoming Senior Captain of the team, said: "I am extremely proud to see every single QuizBowler perform to probably their best performances this year. The seniors got to leave on a high note, and the freshmen demonstrated that Pingry QuizBowl will remain a tough competitor for years to come."
The entire QuizBowl team had a wonderful time at the tournament; all three teams were very successful. The QuizBowl team would like to thank faculty advisors Mr. Stephen Richardson and Ms. Kat Smith for their yearlong support and engagement with the club. This result was an excellent send-off for the graduating Class of 2020, and it serves as an inkling of the success ahead for the team.
Contact: Greg Waxberg '96, Communications Writer, Editor of The Pingry Review