Blair's It's Academic! team recently placed second at both the Autumn Beltway Invitational and the Keegan Quizmaster Challenge Kickoff Tournament and also advanced to the playoffs at the Maryland High School Invitational.
The Autumn Beltway Invitational, which was held on November 16 at the University of Maryland, consisted of 14 teams from throughout the area. Blair's top team, composed of seniors Jared Sagoff and Matt Baron and juniors Jonathon Magin and Ning Bao, lost only one of their seven preliminary matches, and advanced to the championship match after beating Walter Johnson in the first round of the playoffs.
In the championship, Blair was defeated by Thomas Jefferson High School. By finishing second Blair qualified for two national tournaments sponsored by National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC.
The Keegan Quizmaster Challenge Kickoff Tournament was held at Blake High School and was a practice tournament in preparation for the Quizmaster Challenge TV show. Blair sent two teams to the preliminary rounds on November 12, and Blair's top team went undefeated and qualified for the playoff rounds on November 18. In the playoff rounds, Blair finished second overall behind Walter Johnson High School.
Team members were delighted by the results of the two tournaments. "We would've liked to finish first, but with the quality of the teams in the tournaments, I feel that second place is a fine achievement," said Magin.
Baron had similar feelings. "We have a very strong team this year," he said. "I'm very pleased with our progress."
Co-sponsor David Swaney was also happy with the team's placements. He said that the team "held up very well under pressure and beat some distinguished teams."
The Maryland High School Invitational, held on November 24, was a large tournament drawing 60 teams from across Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC. Blair's top team, which included juniors Abhi Nargundkar and Ning Bao due to the absence of Sagoff and Baron, won four of their five preliminary matches and advanced to the playoffs. They were defeated by the Maret School in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite not progressing farther in the playoffs, the team still thought the tournament was a positive experience. "It was the largest tournament [Blair's It's Academic team] has been to, so we got to see a lot of teams we hadn't seen before," said Nargundkar.
The It's Academic! team is also looking forward to future tournaments. On December 4 the team competes in the Knowledge Master Open. The Knowledge Master Open is a competition held twice every year in which questions are sent to schools using discs and responses are scored based on speed and accuracy. Results are compared to schools throughout the world. Blair has traditionally done well, winning seven times in the tournament's 19 years of existence.
Branden Buehler. Branden Buehler is a senior in the magnet program. When he is not doing schoolwork, work for Silver Chips Online, or swimming for the Blair swim team, he could possibly be found playing foosball or playing his guitar and recording songs in a futile attempt … More »