2009 Francis Howell Central

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The 2008-2009 Francis Howell Central (FHC) Scholar Quiz Bowl team was one of the top teams in Missouri and the most successful in school history. Not only did it win many tournaments, but more importantly, it improved on good Quiz Bowl by attending good tournaments, efforts rewarded by a tie for 27th at the 2009 NAQT HSNCT. The team was coached by Communications Arts teacher Kathryn Keierleber and captained by senior Charles Hang, who was an HSNCT All-Star, placing 23rd.

Tournament Performance

Francis Howell Central's Scholar Quiz Bowl team was one of the top teams in Missouri for the 2008-2009 season. Not only did it tie for 27th at the 2009 NAQT HSNCT, but it placed highly at a series of other good Quiz Bowl tournaments and won every MSHSAA Academic Competition tournament it attended save one. The team was recognized for its talents in a series of polls.

Francis Howell Central's Scholar Quiz Bowl team began its season with a series of victories in MSHSAA Academic Competition. The A team placed first at the 2009 Two Saints Conference in November and December 2008 featuring schools throughout the St. Louis area, while the B team went 3-4 in preliminaries and failed to make the first or second playoff brackets. [1] [2] Team captain Charles Hang was the tournament top scorer, while B team captain Kevin Robb was the tournament's 4th highest scorer despite only playing in three of seven preliminary bracket games.

At the same time as it was winning Two Saints, the 2009 FHC team also took first at the Hancock tournament in November. [3] In early January, the A team won the DeSmet Tournament [4], while the B team went 0-3. The DeSmet Tournament was noteworthy because team captain Charles Hang--who had by then soured on MSHSAA tournaments--was notified of FHC's impending attendance only shortly before the tournament, requiring him to arrange for transportation so that he could attend the tournament immediately after Orchestra rehearsal. Though Hang's appearance halfway through the third preliminary game failed to prevent a five point loss to Priory, it did allow FHC to score enough points to advance to the playoff round, which the FHC team swept.

After these MSHSAA format victories, Francis Howell Central began making a point of attending good Quiz Bowl tournaments. In January, the team continued a long tradition by attending Washington University's WUHSAC tournament, where the A team placed in the top 8, FHC's highest ever finish ever, while the B team went 1-4 in its preliminary bracket. [5] As a result of the team's performance up to that point, Francis Howell Central's Scholar Quiz Bowl team was voted the third best team in Missouri in the Missouri Academic Competition Message Board poll, earning more first place nominations than any team except poll winner North Kansas City. [6]

After WUHSAC, the Francis Howell Central A team placed 3rd at the 2009 NAQT Missouri Qualifier in February, defeating reigning champion North Kansas City but suffering mistake fueled defeats against Savannah and Parkway Central. [7] Notably, team captain Charles Hang was the only significant contributor to the Francis Howell Central team at the Qualifier because the lack of math computation had reduced George to a few niche topics, while the remainder of the team chose to zone out. This became an issue after Kevin Robb allowed Charles to neg an easy question on pentane in the Savannah match despite having written out the formula of pentane on his paper. Kevin, apparently, did not realize that the formula would have been acceptable (or at least promptable). Despite these issues, not only did the A team earn a bid to attend the 2009 NAQT HSNCT, but the B team also reached playoffs and finished 8th of 15 teams despite having only three players--senior Jeremy R. and sophomores David Lanza and Luke Eckhoff.

Francis Howell Central finally achieved a first place victory in good Quiz Bowl at the Missouri S&T Spring Tournament in March [8], while the B team placed 9th at the tournament after going 1-3 in preliminaries and being eliminated from playoff contention on the basis of PPG. The team's victory came through the combined efforts of Charles Hang and George Yu, the latter of which scored many points for the team in math computation, of which there was a great deal because of the tournament's MSHSAA distribution. [9] Finally, Coach Keierleber did not attend the tournament, citing an unwillingness to travel to Rolla twice in the course of two weeks. However, Charles Hang was able to convince Biology teacher Jessica Rowe to chaperone the team, something Rowe graciously agreed to do.

Finally, in late March of 2009, Francis Howell Central won the MSHSAA format 2009 Gateway Athletic Conference (GAC) tournament, defeating Fort Zumwalt West by ten points to win its fourth ever GAC championship [10]. The close result was somewhat incongruous given the 200 point victories Central had won over Zumwalt West only three weeks before at MS&T Spring.

District Competition

Unfortunately, such success was not repeated by the Francis Howell Central team at its MSHSAA District tournament for advancement to State competition. Francis Howell Central took second at Districts after losing its third round robin game to Fort Zumwalt West 260-310 and then being defeated by FZW again in the finals 270-330.

Francis Howell Central's defeat was somewhat controversial because of issues involving the questions provided by State provider Questions Galore. One question in the final round asking for "the Catholic cousin of Queen Elizabeth I" required a prompt on the answer "Mary, Queen of Scots" given by team captain Charles Hang. Hang replied with the answer "Mary I, Queen of Scots," which was ruled incorrect in favor of "Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots." Hang protested, and had the protest denied with the response "That's not what's on the paper."

This incident was appalling because "Mary I, Queen of Scots" was a perfectly correct [11] and more uniquely identifying answer than "Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots" because of the existence of another Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, Mary II (of William and Mary fame) [12]. Furthermore, "Mary, Queen of Scots" should have been accepted because is a commonly accepted name for Mary I Stuart, Queen of Scots [13] and the precedent is that famous royal titles and nicknames are generally considered acceptable in lieu of full names (ex. Richard the Lionhearted for Richard Plantagenet) in both Quiz Bowl and historical study.

In another, earlier issue, MSHSAA rules requiring that math computation answers be given in simplest form invalidated the answer of "One over the square root of three" for the question "Name the tangent of 210 degrees" in favor of "Square root of three over three," despite the fact that both are equivalent answers. Francis Howell Central gave the first answer, had it deemed wrong in favor of Fort Zumwalt West despite a protest, and lost the points to Fort Zumwalt West.

If the answers given by Francis Howell Central to these questions had been ruled correct, Francis Howell Central quite possibly could have won the District tournament given that the issues involved might have changed the margin between the two teams by approximately 80-100 points, easily overwhelming Fort Zumwalt West's 60 point margin of victory.


The 2009 Francis Howell Central team tied for 27th at the 2009 NAQT HSNCT after going 7-3 in preliminaries and 1-2 in playoffs after being seeded 33rd in the playoffs. Not only was the team the only one of eight Missouri teams to make the HSNCT Playoffs, but team captain Charles Hang was a tournament All-Star, finishing 23rd in the individual rankings. Francis Howell Central was also the first team from the St. Louis region to ever attend a Quiz Bowl National Championship, alongside Parkway Central. The HSNCT team consisted of Charles Hang, George Yu, Kevin Robb, Lucas Vicars, Jeremy R., and Katelyn McLaury.

Francis Howell Central began the HSNCT with the 177th place preliminary card, and began by playing rather poorly. In its first game against Bristow, FHC allowed a 100 point halftime lead to dissolve, barely eking out a double overtime win at 150-140. Though the team recovered some momentum by defeating Robinson, it then proceeded to be pummeled by Grosse Point North and Shady Side Academy, games in which team captain Charles Hang scored only 20 PPG after his negging reached catastrophic levels. Fortunately, the team's slide was arrested by lunch, and after lunch the team ably defeated Bellarmine B and Russell and won a close victory over an excitable Minnetonka team before triumphing over Walnut Hills to clinch a playoff berth. After going 6-2, Francis Howell Central suffered an overwhelming defeat against Detroit Catholic Central in its only recorded match before winning one final victory over Wheaton Warrenville South to go 7-3 and reach the double elimination bracket.

In playoffs, the team lost a match against Bergen County Academies by a heartbreaking 25 points on the last question after two negs by Charles Hang and Kevin Robb on questions they knew. The team proceeded to defeat Rappahannock County before losing overwhelmingly to State College B, thus ending its participation at the 2009 HSNCT with a finish tied for 27th.

The Francis Howell Central team's attendance at the HSNCT came from its 3rd place finish at the 2009 NAQT Missouri Qualifier, which earned the team a bid to attend both the 2009 PACE NSC and the 2009 NAQT HSNCT. [14] The team was prohibited from attending the NSC by MSHSAA rules banning national competition attendance during the school year, though the team probably would not have attended anyway due to disinterest among its players and other commitments on the part of team captain Charles Hang.

Finally, the team's attendance at the 2009 HSNCT [15] was made possible by school principal Dr. Sonny Arnel, who secured school funding for registration, and by the parents of team member Lucas Vicars, who chaperoned. The team was recognized for its accomplishments at a Francis Howell School District Board meeting on August 20th, 2009. [16]


The 2009 Francis Howell Central team was consistently polled as one of the top teams in the state during the 2008-2009 season. The team received multiple first place nominations in the preseason poll on the strength of team captain Charles Hang's performance at the Truman State mirror of Zot Bowl. During the regular season, the team was ranked third in 2009 Missouri Academic Competition Message Board Midseason Poll [17] conducted after WUHSAC XI, 2nd in the 2009 Message Board Post-Sectionals Poll, and 2nd in the 2009 Message Board Post-Nationals Poll. Notably, the team won the most first place nominations not given to poll winner North Kansas City in the Midseason Poll and the only first place nomination not given to NKC in the Post-Sectionals Poll. Finally, the team would have tied with NKC for first in the Post-Nationals Poll if Charles had voted for his own team as the best in Missouri instead of NKC.

Noteworthy Qualities

Size and B Teams

The 2008-2009 season was noteworthy because it featured the largest Francis Howell Central team in recent memory. This size allowed the team to bring two teams to nearly all of the tournaments it attended, as opposed to only once in the previous season and never at all in the past several years. These B teams performed surprisingly well despite being comprised of underclassmen and marginal players, including a surprise eighth place finish at the 2009 NAQT Missouri Qualifier. This growth was largely due to the recruiting efforts of team captain Charles Hang.


The season also continued Francis Howell Central's rivalries with nearby Fort Zumwalt West and Eureka High Schools. This rivalry resulted not only from the three teams' position as some of the top teams in the St. Louis area, but from the acquaintance of players from all three teams with one another as a result of mutual attendance at the Missouri Scholars Academy and through contact on the Missouri Academic Competition Message Board. Furthermore, for the 2008-2009 season, FHC developed a new rivalry with Parkway Central as a result of being defeated by PCH at both the 2009 NAQT Qualifier and WUHSAC XI and because of FHC Captain Charles Hang's acquaintance with PCH captain Will Hack.

It will be interesting to see how the graduation of Howell Central Captain Charles Hang, Zumwalt West Captain Julia Price, Parkway Central Captain Will Hack, and Eureka player Kevin Sheng, the main perpetrators of Francis Howell Central's rivalry with those schools, will affect the rivalries' future existence. Given the ire which Francis Howell Central's players have already shown towards Fort Zumwalt West coach Jeremy Gibbs, it seems fairly reasonable to assume that the Howell Central-Zumwalt West rivalry, at the very least, will endure.

Coach Retirement

Coach Keierleber announced at the end of the 2008-2009 season that she would be stepping down as Coach, citing an increased workload. The seeds of this announcement could be seen during the season, when Keierleber increasingly allowed team captain Charles Hang to take over the leadership of the team, reserving only payment and tournament registration to herself. She was replaced in the 2009-2010 season by Ms. Sharon King.

Other Characteristics

The 2008-2009 Season was noteworthy because it was the first time during the tenure of Coach Keierleber that the FHC Scholar Quiz Bowl team has had team T-shirts.

Finally, as with all articles involving Charles Hang, this article is the longest of its type on the QB Wiki as the longest article about a school's single year performance.

Titles and Achievements

NAQT & 20/20 Tournaments

MSHSAA Tournaments


Noteworthy Alumni

Interestingly, all three of the 2008-2009 Francis Howell Central Quiz Bowl team's noteworthy alumni met one another in competition at the 2010 NAQT Division II ICT. [28] [29]Five of the seven players in the game between St. Charles Community College and Truman State were Francis Howell Central alumni, with the SCC team, including team captain Charles Hang and Jeremy R., triumphing over the Truman State team which included their former teammate Kevin Robb 280-105.