Attack of the brainiacs: 16 Georgia teams in National Quiz bowl here in Atlanta this weekend

I receive hundreds of story pitches each week via e-mail, but this may be the best ever. It came from former University of Georgia academic quiz team member extraordinaire Chris Chiego, now a doctoral student at the UC  San Diego.

Chris clearly loves quiz tournaments, and made me want to go to this weekend’s nationals here in Atlanta featuring 16 Georgia teams.

I love quiz bowls although I’ve had no luck prodding any of my four kids into the game. I am still working on one of my twins who collects facts and has taken it upon himself to learn every capital in the world.  (I was still asleep this morning when he asked me, “Ouagadougou is the capital of which country?”)

These sorts of competitions — and the National Geographic Bee this week in Washington in which Westminster seventh grade student Nilai Sarda placed second–  reward academic prowess.  It’s wonderful that Atlanta is playing host to the National Academic Quiz Tournament’s National Championship.

Good luck to all the teams, but especially the home teams.

This is the note that Chris sent me:

This weekend the National Academic Quiz Tournaments’ (NAQT) High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT) is taking place in Atlanta at the Hyatt. Georgia has 16 teams (out of 224 total) competing, including teams from Bainbridge, Brookwood, Cedar Shoals, Centennial, Chattahoochee, Flowery Branch, Lakeside (Evans), Lakeside (Atlanta), Marist, Norcross, Pickens, Walton, Westminster, and Woodward Academy.

If you get a chance to stop by, I’d definitely recommend it- it’s chaotic but awesome. If you can’t make it, updates should be posted at:

Some potential story lines that might be of interest to GA audiences:

- Alpharetta (16), Centennial (9), and Chattahoochee (25) are all ranked in the top 25 in the country (with Walton right behind them). Will they live up to their rankings? Will they be able to best the best-ever finish by a Georgia school (2003 Walton- 4th place)?

- Centennial High School’s Adam Silverman may be the greatest individual player in the entire country, putting up ridiculous statlines and essentially willing his team to a top-10 national ranking. But will his rival from Alpharetta, William Horton, (no slouch of a player, either) best him for the honor of best player in Georgia?

(Update from William: As flattering as it is to be featured on this blog, it is true that Alpharetta won’t be competing at the HSNCT this weekend. It didn’t work out with our graduation schedule. So best of luck to Centennial, Walton, Chattahoochee, and the rest of the Georgia teams this weekend! Alpharetta will be competing at the PACE National Scholastics Championship in Chicago next weekend 

What’s happened to Brookwood? The venerable program (which still hosts the largest non-national tournament each year in the country) didn’t even make the playoffs last year for the first time in many years. Can they get back their mojo this year?

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

27 comments Add your comment


May 26th, 2011
10:56 am

There used to be a TV program on called “College Bowl.” The local station did a take-off on it, called “High School Bowl,” and 40 years ago I got to participate. Lots of fun!

My daughter participated in “Academic Bowl” in middle and high school–also lots of fun.

I am glad we have opportunities like this. Too bad we have so much emphasis on sports in school and not on academic prowess.


May 26th, 2011
11:02 am

There is also the Blue Bonnett Bowl, the Texas Chili Bowl and the Macadamia Nut Bowl.

AHS Raider

May 26th, 2011
11:38 am

My money is on William Horton- he’s an incredible student with a depth and breadth of knowledge (class Valedictorian too)! Go Raiders!


May 26th, 2011
11:49 am

I was a part of my schools’ Scholars Bowl Team…looks great on college application. These teams represent well-rounded students and aptitude. Something we should never grow tired of.


May 26th, 2011
11:49 am

I’m happy that this was publicized. I may attend. It’s good to know that some GA students are doing well in an educational competition.

It’s a shame that High Q has limited spots for HS teams to compete. I wish they had a different format where 3 or 4 teams at a time could compete so more schools could participate.

Dr. Craig Spinks/Augusta

May 26th, 2011
12:53 pm

GOOD LUCK to our GA teams!


May 26th, 2011
12:57 pm

As a former Scholars Bowl coach, I am delighted to see this activity get some attention. Oh, and it’s Burkina Faso, by the way. *bows*

Maureen Downey

May 26th, 2011
1:02 pm

@pink, I shared Chris’ note with news and a reporter is pursuing for a news story, chatting right now with one of the kids mentioned in the note.
I will post a link when the story goes up.

(How about Antananarivo?)


May 26th, 2011
1:04 pm



May 26th, 2011
1:39 pm



May 26th, 2011
3:18 pm

Wonderful! I cannot even begin to calculate the hundreds of hours spent reviewing Renaissance artists, architectural movements, literary genres, musical forms–anything remotely humanities-related that my usually mathematically-gifted team members needed. (Madagascar!)


May 26th, 2011
3:27 pm

William Horton isn’t playing this weekend.


May 26th, 2011
3:30 pm

I know William and have competed against him many times this year in Quiz Bowl tournaments! As co-captain of Union Grove’s Academic Team, I can attest to the excitement and hard work that goes into this. He deserves it 100%! And Maureen, I wish the news did more with academic achievements, it is quite a feat to compete in one of these (and it is downright fun?) I hope next year you can make it to one!


May 26th, 2011
3:38 pm

Let’s go QuizJags!!! Mr. Richards has made great strides getting this team where they are, winning a few region titles and high state finishes the past two years with some really potentially great players (most of whom are freshmen) They played at these nationals for two years in Chicago but I think this team will do better than the past ones. Good luck to everyone!!

[...] HSNCT is getting some coverage in the Atlanta Journal Constitution today. Many thanks to Chris Chiego for spreading the word, and welcome new visitors to this site! [...]


May 26th, 2011
7:14 pm

Not that it is that big of a deal, but the best-ever finish was by Walton, but it was 2nd place in 1999 – not 4th place in 2003. Also, Brookwood was 3rd that year. Just thought I would add that to the discussion.


May 26th, 2011
7:23 pm

Avid watcher of High-Q, and Brian Silverman really stood out. Consider me a fan!


May 26th, 2011
7:25 pm

Chris Chiego from San Diego. How cool is that?!?

Jordan Kohanim

May 27th, 2011
10:08 am


William Horton

May 27th, 2011
10:21 am

As flattering as it is to be featured on this blog, it is true that Alpharetta won’t be competing at the HSNCT this weekend. It didn’t work out with our graduation schedule. So best of luck to Centennial, Walton, Chattahoochee, and the rest of the Georgia teams this weekend! Alpharetta will be competing at the PACE National Scholastics Championship in Chicago next weekend (

Maureen Downey

May 27th, 2011
11:36 am

@William, Thanks for update, which I have added to the blog itself. And good luck in Chicago.
Maureen Downey

Billy Ray Valentine....Capricorn

May 27th, 2011
2:03 pm

That would be Burkina Faso – FTW! And no, I did not use the Google.

JR Barry

May 27th, 2011
5:34 pm

Had the Brookwood coach known in advance that his last year’s seniors (class of 2010) did NOT want to go to NAQTHSCT in Chicago, he would not have taken them. They went 5-5 and played like they did not care.

This year’s team is all juniors and much more into quiz bowl than the last group was. They will do OK this year, but in 2011-12 they should be much improved. Even with no seniors, they finished fourth in AAAAA at State in a tough field. They also won the Gwinnett County Scholars Bowl and were semifinalists on High Q.

Chris Chiego

May 28th, 2011
9:55 pm

Georgia had 3 schools make the playoffs after today’s prelim rounds:
Centennial went 8-2 and is seeded 10th for tomorrow’s playoffs.
Chattahoochee A went 7-3 and is seeded 33rd.
Walton went 6-4 and is one of the top seeds in the loser’s bracket.

Adam Silverman was the overall leading individual scorer with over 100 points per game. Abubakr from Walton was 10th overall.

Full prelim results should be up soon on

Chris Chiego

May 29th, 2011
2:50 am

Here are the links to the prelim standings for teams:

And here are the playoff brackets:

Chattahoochee has a tough draw, facing a solid Kellenberg (NY) team and then, if they win that, going up against #1 overall seed Dorman (SC)’s A team. Centennial will face Detroit Catholic Central (MI)’s B team and then, if they win that game, would likely play Detroit Catholic Central (MI)’s A team before a potential matchup with #2 overall seed State College (PA). Walton begins in the loser’s bracket, but has a fairly easy draw in the next two rounds. Best of luck to all the GA teams!

Chris Chiego

May 29th, 2011
3:52 pm

Centennial ended up tying for 5th place overall, falling to eventual overall champion State College (PA) and then Adlai Stevenson (IL). Chattahoochee finished in a tie for 23rd. Great performances by both teams.

You can watch Chattahoochee’s first two playoff matches here:

Maureen Downey

May 29th, 2011
4:02 pm

@Chris, Thanks for the updates. We appreciated them and congrats to Centennial.