Jesuit Quiz Bowl Makes History with First National Championship Win
Jesuit’s Varsity Quiz Bowl team achieved a first for Jesuit and for Louisiana quiz bowl history—a national championship. Seniors Ian Calamari, Jack Caliva, Stanley Dai and captain Kevin Yokum defeated teams from New Jersey and New York (last year’s national champs) in a three-team double-elimination event over four games in the 2014 National Academic Championship (NAC) on June 9 in Chicago.
Kevin Yokum was not only selected MVP for the entire tournament but was also inducted into the NAC Hall of Fame, a privilege accorded to only a few players of the thousands who have participated in NAC tournaments over the past 32 years.
After winning the New Orleans segment of the NAC tournament two weeks ago, the four seniors flew to Chicago to compete against the champions from the Washington, D.C. and Chicago tournaments. The Blue Jays went undefeated against Horace Greeley High (Chappaqua, N.Y.) and Pingry High (Bernards, N.J.) to finish first in the nation.
The team will travel to Disney World to compete in the National Tournament of Academic Excellence, June 13-17.
Qunlimited.com – New Orleans Jesuit is the No. 1 Academic Team in America
Jesuit High, the first Louisiana school ever to win the National Championship
The Circle of Death
This year’s three-team double-elimination event took four games. See the brackets.
Jesuit defeated Pingry in the first match, 385-230. Jesuit proceeded to upset the defending champs, 360-195. The closest Circle of Death contest saw Pingry edge Horace Greeley, 320-315 in the loser’s bracket, giving Pingry a second change against Jesuit in the fourth game. In that last game, it appeared that Pingry was heading for a win, which would have forced yet another Pingry-Jesuit game. Pingry led at the end of the first period, 70-25. They increased that lead to 110-25 after sweeping the RECONSTRUCTION bonus. Jesuit then took charge in the Bonus Round, sweeping the TEMPLE and PHYSICS bonuses. Jesuit overcame an 85-point deficit and led 145-110 at the half. There was no net gain or loss in a perfectly symmetrical 60 Seconds Round, as Pingry gained 80-10 on ENGLISH PHRASES IN SPANISH and Jesuit gained 80-10 on TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. In the final period, Pingry scored on these 20-pointers: an Algebra problem; naming Diego Velasquez after looking at a portrait; identifying Qatar on an early buzz. But Jesuit was relentless, and their 20-pointers included correct matching of five stars with five constellations; associating Tristan Tzara with the Dada movement; Victoriano Huerta; and The Great Santini. Pingry was more impressive this time, but they fell short of Jesuit, 375-305, resulting in Jesuit finishing No. 1 in the nation.
At the NAA, we judge teams not only on tournament progress (how far they advanced in the competition), but also on average points, and seldom does a team lead the league in both. Last year, Horace Greeley won the title and also finished first in points, with 408, This year, New Orleans Jesuit finished No. 1 in points, at 363, as well as tournament progress. Horace Greeley finished second at 358, followed by Watson Chapel at 356, Paschal at 348, and Pingry at 335. This year, New Orleans Jesuit finished No. 1 in points, at 363, as well as tournament progress. Incidentally, scores can no longer be compared with scores in the previous 31 tournaments because the coaches voted to diminish the importance of the Bonus round by eliminating the 20-pointers, making each bonus 5-10-15.
No. 1 Jinx?
The jockeying for playoff position which happens every year is, as NAC History would suggest, futile. The No. 1 seed in both New Orleans and Chicago lost their first playoff game: Watson Chapel and Edgemont, respectively. DC No. 1 seed, Horace Greeley, however, ended up winning DC.
Hall of Fame
Induction into the Hall of Fame means joining a very select group. In the past 31 years, only 19 players had made it. This year, two joined the assembly of immortals. Max Smiley led Horace Greeley to the national title in 2013 and to winning DC in 2014. Kevin Yokum was New Orleans MVP in 2013 and in 2014 led Jesuit to finishing No. 1 in the nation.