This was a difficult selection process this year, but I’m prepared to announce the All-World First Team, including the Player of the Year.
As a reminder, unlike the team rankings, these selections are not based off any kind of calculation and are arbitrarily made. I considered the final rankings of the player’s teams as well as how much the individual player contributed on tossups.
It should also be remembered that these teams are not made up of who I believe to be the top X players in the country, but who I believed had the most impressive seasons.
I hope to have the Second Team announced tomorrow, and the Honorable Mention announced Friday. You can follow me on Twitter @hsqbrank to keep up with my progress.
Player of the Year: Fred Zhang, Thomas Jefferson A – This came down to a decision between William Golden & Zhang for me this year. A good case could be made for either player. In a normal year, Golden would likely be my pick on account of his being the overwhelmingly primary scorer for the #2 team in the country, compared with a TJ attack led by Zhang that was slightly more evenly distributed. However, Thomas Jefferson had the two best aPPBs on the season, as well as three of the top five and five of the top sixteen. An example of Fred Zhang’s dominating performances was when had about 55% of the TJ A scoring on tossups at Johns Hopkins’ ILLIAC tournament, finishing eighth in individual scoring at 68.64 PPG.
Anson Berns, Montgomery Blair – While the third-ranked Montgomery Blair team has a very evenly distribution of tossups answered by their team, Berns was their #1 player at such strong performances as Johns Hopkins’ mirror of ILLIAC and in their championship win at Johns Hopkins’ Fall Quizbowl Tournament.
John John Groger, Miami Valley – As John John and his brother William paced their way, Miami Valley won the Open Division of the NAQT Small School National Championship. Groger also finished second in individual scoring at the Glasgow Scottie. These two performances were what helped place Miami Valley eighth in the nation in the pre-nationals rankings.
Hanson Hao, IMSA – Hao was consistently the top scorer for #4 IMSA. He was the #2 scorer overall (88.64 PPG) as IMSA won the UIUC Earlybird and the third overall scorer with 100 PPG at the Midwest Championship, where IMSA was also victorious.
James Kuang, Thomas Jefferson A – As great as Zhang’s season was, Kuang was the team’s #2 scorer for at several of their best performances on the year and helped define them as the top ranked team of the year. He was the top scorer for the TJ Red team at the Blair Invitational, where he also finished in the top ten among individuals.
Katherine Lei, Montgomery Blair – Like Anson Berns, Lei was a top player for Blair. She was the second leading scorer for the team in the playoffs at JHU’s ILLIAC and overall at East Brunswick’s Pre-Nationals Tournament. Blair was the only team other than Thomas Jefferson to break the 27 aPPB barrier twice during the season, and Lei’s performances were a big part of those accomplishments.
Hari Parameswaran, Beavercreek – As Beavercreek won the NAQT Ohio State Championship, Hari finished as the individual scoring champion with 119 PPG, which was 56% more than the second place individual (Mazin Omer of Otttawa Hills). Last year’s All-World Player of the Year also led the field of the Woodford County Academic Invitational with 157.22 PPG, compared to the 67.78 PPG of the second place finisher Eli Gooch of Danville.
Ethan Strombeck, Rockford Auburn – Ethan Strombeck was the dominating scorer for the sixth place Rockford Auburn squad. He had outstanding performances at UIUC’s high school mirror of ACF Fall, where his 100.83 PPG led the field, and at Rockford Auburn’s mirror of Harvard Fall, with another field-leading performance of 104.58 PPG in a tournament win.
William Golden, Katy Taylor – I’ve already laid out the case for Golden’s recognition. As Katy Taylor went undefeated to win the Saturday event of Texas Invitational, William easily led the field in scoring with 113.75 PPG. He scored 70 points against second place Chattahoochee A and added 125 more against Detroit Catholic Central at the same event. Golden was also the leading scorer at Rice University’s RIFT, finishing with 150.91 PPG.
Harrison Zhu, Chattahoochee – Chattahoochee finished second in my pre-nationals rankings and Harrison Zhu was their primary scorer. He finished tied for third in individual scoring at the Sunday event of Texas Invitational, where Chattahoochee took the tournament with a one win margin over Katy Taylor. Zhu scored 80 points in a 455-145 win against St. John’s. He was also fourth in scoring at the Saturday event of the Texas Invitational.
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Ethan also won the 2019 IPNCT high school division.