|Coaches||Sharon Lorinskas and Judy Major (Varsity), Justin Merriman (JV)|
|State Championships||2009 IHSA, 2009 Masonic|
|National Appearances||several HSNCTs and PACE NSCs|
|School Size||in school, about 1000;|
on team, fluctuates around 10 total
Carbondale Community High School is a public high school located in Carbondale, Illinois, a town in far southern Illinois. It competes in Class AA, the "large school" division, of the Illinois High School Association's State Championship Series.
- 1 History
- 2 Current players
- 3 Former players
- 4 Noted Team Accomplishments (very incomplete)
- 5 IHSSBCA Individual Awards
- 6 External Links
Carbondale Quizbowl began in 1984 when it was founded by mathematics teacher Brenda Berg, and saw limited involvement and success until 2001, when German teacher Sharon “Frau” Lorinskas and assistant coach Judy Major took over the team. The team’s real breakout was in 2007, when the school first began to attend NAQT tournaments and found its first great player, Justin Stoncius. At NAQT State, the team finished 4th, then 3rd the next year and 2nd in 2009, when the team also finished 17th at HSNCT.
2010-2012: Ben Chametzky
Starting varsity as a freshmen, Ben Chametzky began with an in-depth knowledge of fine arts. Soon, Ben became a generalist. His major breakthrough was sophomore year when he led the team to a second place finish at the 2010 NAQT Illinois State Championship, Carbondale’s best finish to date. That fall, Ben was joined by fellow junior Srinivas Panchamukhi and sophomore Michael Steele to commandeer the terriers. Srinivas filled many of the gaps in Ben’s knowledge and the two had many successes in the next two seasons. In his senior year, 2012, Ben attended the NAQT Illinois State Championship by himself and put up an impressive 165 points per 20 tossups heard in the prelims and finished the day with a third place finish overall for Carbondale. Due to graduation party interference with Srinivas, Ben was the only notable senior attending the PACE NSC in 2012, where he carried the team to a fifth place finish, Carbondale’s best finish at PACE NSC. Ben is easily the best quiz bowl player to have ever come from Carbondale and was one of the best players in the country at the time of his tenure.
With Chametky’s departure and Michael Steele spending his senior year in Argentina, the team fell apart before being shakily put back together. Because of limited participation from upperclassmen, incoming freshmen Jonathan Huh, Alex Metz, and Adam Tsung were pulled up to Varsity. They were joined by sophomores Mahir Morshed and James Zetterman and veteran seniors Anish Bhattacharya and Prerak Trivedi. The configuration of James, Mahir, Prerak, and Anish led to one of the most balanced configurations Carbondale has ever had, with the first three each putting up over sixty points per game at the first tournament the new team attended. At the 2013 Scobol Solo, Prerak and James finished in the top 9 championship, with Mahir Morshed in 10th place.
Following the departure of Jonathan Huh, Alex Metz, and Adam Tsung, Carbondale fell into the hands of Jaden Lucas, the rising junior who would prove to be an essential part of the team’s success over the next two seasons. Under captain Ananth Panchamukhi, the Varsity A team captured yet another undefeated conference season. However, he and his fellow senior team members—Jonas Meksem, Michael Muzinich, and Carson Wang—would always try, but fail, to match the points per game of Jaden. Meanwhile, Shaunie Talapatra, a sophomore at the time, was commandeering the Junior Varsity and Carbondale B team; however, his forays into Varsity invitationals resulted in low scores and a sense of humility. Seeing the need for better players, Shaunie encouraged underclassmen to join the team, resulting in fifteen new players from the classes of 2019 and 2020. Carbondale’s advance to the IHSA State finals was the highlight of the season, although quickly darkened by going 0-3 with players Ray Shang, Ian Kinsel, Michael, Shaunie, and Jaden. After school let out, the crew headed to the Rosemont in Chicago for the 2017 PACE NSC. The gang went 4-3 in the prelims after suffering heavy losses to fellow Illinois team Stevenson as well as DCC B. Fortified by cheap Chinese food, the squad went 4-1 in playoffs, only losing to Paul Laurence Dunbar A. After losing two more games on Sunday, Carbondale finished in 55th place with a record of 8-7. After the conclusion of the season, Carbondale saw Nicholas Johnson-Fuller, Peter Huh, John Paul Taylor, Charles Metz, and Shaunie attend ACE Quiz Bowl camp.
2017-2018: The Reign of Jaden Lucas
Starting out the season with great enthusiasm, the team had high hopes for the year to come but their dreams were quickly crushed at the New Trier Scobol Solo. Besides veteran players Jaden and Shaunie, newcomers Charles Metz, John Paul Taylor, Peter Huh, and Jonah Biggers made their debut appearance in the big leagues. Jaden had a stressful day at Solo, finishing the preliminary rounds with two losses, both by one point, and barely clinching the top nine championship as the wildcard with 12 tossups per round. He ended up tying for fifth place with Matthew Lee (IMSA) and Arjun Nageswaran (Stevenson) and receiving an award for correctly answering the most British literature tossups. The day concluded with Peter, Shaunie, and John Paul ending with a 4-3 record, Charles going 3-4, and Jonah finishing 2-5. Needless to say, everyone besides Jaden was happy the day was over, and the team enjoyed Culver’s and Five Guys’ on the way home. The tournament also saw an early glimpse of Carbondale’s future, when sophomore John Paul also won an award for British literature and finished with a 4-3 record. In the coming weeks, Jaden would make many all-tournament teams, including a second place finish to Quizbowl prodigy Ethan Strombeck from Auburn at ACF Fall in Dekalb. Carbondale’s major success in the 2017 portion of the season was at the Washington University Fall Academic Tournament, where the A team placed fifth, advancing to nationals. The next stop for Carbondale was at the Piasa Bird Invitational III tournament at Southwestern High School. Carbondale A ended in third after losses to Glenwood and Southwestern, and the B team finished in 7th with a 4-3 record after close losses to both Macomb and Williamsville. Unfortunately for Carbondale, tragedy struck at home during IHSA Sectionals. Despite being the #1 seed and the host of the tournament, the team narrowly lost to Mater Dei and was unable to advance to state. At NAQT State, the team finished in a respectable 8th place, eventfully losing in a close game to fellow southern team Southwestern. The team also attended the Masonic tournament with no particular success. At HSNCT, Carbondale’s team of three played many close games, including a 5-point loss to Walnut Hills, and placed 105th with a 6-5 record. At PACE, Carbondale tanked in prelims and ended 1-6 due to quite a few bad negs and difficult opponents, but recovered enough in later rounds to crawl their way back up and end the season with a 63rd place finish.
2018-Present: Modern History
As the team’s new captain, Shaunie lacked the raw knowledge of other players but possessed strong organizational skills and a desire to improve the team. In the summer of 2018 he founded the Carbondale Quizbowl Boot Camp, taught by himself and John Paul , where incoming freshmen could improve and become acclimated to the high school Quizbowl culture and content. Also incoming was new JV coach Justin Merriman, replacing former assistant coach Judy Major. With Jaden’s graduation, the role of literature player and team carryer was delegated to junior John Paul, who would become a crucial part of the team. Aside from scattered conference tournaments and a broadcasted TV series, the team’s real tests began in the middle of the fall. At Scobol Solo, John Paul started off with a 5-0 record after narrowly beating Uni High’s Dylan Bowman, but lost both consecutive games to Olivia Lamberti from Stevenson and Dylan’s teammate, Jonathan Lau. Shaunie ended 4-3, and all other players finished 3-4.
Carbondale struck their first major success at the Washington University Fall Academic Tournament (WUFAT), bringing three teams to the event. Things were tense from the start of the day when Carbondale A was seeded into one of the most difficult pools due to the presence of Ladue A . Winning the first three games with little hesitation (besides Shaunie negging the first three tossups he heard that day), the team still felt concerned due to the lack of Jaden and their disapproving judgement of the ATHENA set being used. Due to a few bad negs, the team was down by almost 100 points against Clayton B in the fourth round’s first half. Following a quick team meeting, the team recovered and pulled off a win. Next, Carbondale was off to play powerhouse team Ladue A. After Shaunie got the first two tossups off of Ladue’s negs, and John Paul proceeded to thirty the bonuses, the team thought they may have a chance to go undefeated. However, in the moments to come, Raj Paul and Akshay Govindan destroyed the cocky terriers. That was not the end of Carbondale’s fun with Ladue, however, and the team had to play them again two games later in the rebracketing for the Championship pool. Despite John Paul putting up a solid 75 points, the rest of the team’s lack of tossups led to a loss that was only slightly less absolute. At the end of the day, Ladue A would account for two-thirds of Carbondale’s losses. After a second rebracketing to determine the 9th—12th place teams, Carbondale A found Carbondale B in the same pool. After defeating the B team, Carbondale A went undefeated in their pool but finished 10th due to Thomas Jefferson IDS A’s advantage record. The B team finished 12th, resulting in Carbondale’s qualification of two teams to PACE NSC.
After a few invitationals in the southern region and the end of winter break, the team began playing more competitively. Both John Paul and Shaunie represented Carbondale on multiple all-tournament teams, and established themselves as the strongest team south of Champaign (even beating Uni A at the Barron Robinson Memorial Tournament, although admittedly that team was severely understaffed). Carbondale qualified for and attended all three Illinois State series, with mixed success. At the NAQT State tournament, Carbondale placed 8th for the second year in a row and John Paul made all-tournament, proving that the team could survive even without Jaden. Despite qualifying for the IHSA State Tournament (which the team did not do the previous year), Carbondale lost to Stevenson, OPRF and Rockford Auburn to tie with Springfield at 7th place. At Masonic State, the team ended with a 1-3 record after losses to OPRF, IMSA, and Palatine with a win against Dunlap.
Now done with state-level tournaments, the tea spent three months preparing for the jump to nationals. Unfortunately for Carbondale, their strongest player was unable to attend HSNCT due to a conflict with family events. Without John Paul, the team went 4-6, including a crushing loss to Springfield, their semi-rivals. Placing at 261st by the end of the day, the team came home not with good tournament results but with good memories and high hopes for PACE. Unlike most other Illinois teams, Carbondale chose to drive to PACE in two of the school’s minivans. The two teams arrived a day early to sightsee in Washington, D.C., then began the final chapter of their 2018-19 season. The A team handily lost their first three games to Wayzata B, LASA A, and Ladue A, then won a close game against Great Valley B. The team caught a break when next playing TJHSST D, then proceeded to choke hard in a game against IMSA B. At tossup 20, the score stood 200-170 in IMSA’s favor, but Carbondale managed to grab the tossup and convert all three bonus parts to finish ten points ahead. Next losing to Centennial A, the team finished 3-4 in prelims (considerably better than their 1-6 record the previous year). In their afternoon rounds, Carbondale found itself in yet another comeback situation. At halftime against High Tech B, Carbondale was down 70-200. This was John Paul’s cue to stage a comeback of legendary proportions, getting seven (including two powers) of the next ten tossups, ending the nail-biting game with a score of 270-240. With a 3-2 record in that pool, the team was then moved into a final group of four in which they proceeded to lose all three games (although their game against Enloe, who ended undefeated in that pool, went to a tiebreaker). Carbondale A ended at 60th place, three places higher than their placement the previous year and 28 places higher than the B team.
Carbondale’s 2019-2020 began on November 9 at WUFAT, where their initial registration of 2 teams had expanded to a whopping 5. Joining the A team of John Paul Taylor, Eli Tsung, and Charles Metz was newcomer Conor Gleason, a junior who had just begun to play Quizbowl a few months earlier. Despite a disheartening loss to the Saint Louis Patriots, Carbondale moved on to the playoffs, where they defeated Rockford Auburn, Centennial, and Collinsville to finish in 7th place.
- John Paul Taylor ('20)
- Charles Metz ('20)
- Eli Tsung ('21)
- Conor Gleason ('21)
- Leandru Martin ('21)
- Giift Benti ('22)
- Marta Narag ('22)
- Ben Chametzky ('12, University of Chicago)
- Srinivas Panchamukhi ('12, University of Chicago)
- Natalie San, ('12, Northwestern University)
- Michael Steele, ('13, John A. Logan College)
- Prerak Trivedi ('14, Saint Louis University)
- Anish Bhattacharya ('14, University of Illinois)
- Elizabeth Tolley ('14, Brigham Young University)
- Daniel Tolley ('14, Maple Mountain High School)
- James Zetterman ('15, Southern Illinois University)
- Mahir Morshed ('15, University of Illinois)
- Jonathan Huh ('16, Harvard University)
- Alex Metz ('16, Oberlin College)
- Adam Tsung ('16, Tulane University)
- Ananth Panchamukhi ('17, University of Chicago)
- Jonas Meksem ('17, Duke University)
- Carson Wang ('17, University of Illinois)
- Jaden Lucas ('18, University of Illinois)
- Sarah Pitafi ('18, Yale University)
- Ben Tolley ('18)
- Shaunak Talapatra ('19, University of Illinois)
- Peter Huh ('19, Yale University)
- Jonah Biggers ('19, University of Illinois)
Noted Team Accomplishments (very incomplete)
- IHSA Regional Titles (7): 2003-
- IHSA Sectional Titles (8): 1990, 94, 96-97, 2005-07, 09-
- IHSA State Championship Tournament - 4th place: 1994, 96
- IHSA State Championship Tournament - 3rd place: 2014
- IHSA State Championship Tournament - Runner-Up: 1997, 2006
- IHSA State Championship Tournament - Champion : 2009
IHSSBCA Individual Awards
The following were honored by the Illinois High School Scholastic Bowl Coaches Association (IHSSBCA) for outstanding play through their All-Sectional/All-State Program. Each sectional comprises roughly 24 geographically concentrated teams, and thus roughly 125 starting players. Through the 2006-07 season, the top ten players were recognized in each sectional (starting with 2007-08, the number was raised to 15) with teams restricted to no more than two nominations (three nominations starting in 2007-08). There are twenty All-State awards given each year (10 First Team, 10 Second Team) in each of Illinois' two classes.
- 2001-02: Jared Burde, Rod Sanjabi
- 2002-03: Daniel Raino
- 2003-04: Josh Jackson
- 2004-05: Daniel Rendleman
- 2005-06: Jeremy Koch, Justin Stoncius
- 2006-07: Richard Liang Cui, Justin Stoncius
- 2007-08: Paul Botros, Tony Cao, Jerry Chang
- 2008-09: Paul Botros, Tony Cao, Jerry Chang
- 2009-10: Ben Chametzky, Jeremiah Monk
- 2010-11: Ben Chametzky, Srinivas Panchamukhi
- 2010-12: Ben Chametzky, Srinivas Panchamukhi
- 2012-14: Mahir Morshed, Prerak Trivedi, James Zetterman
- 2014-15: Jonathan Huh, Mahir Morshed
- 2015-16: Jonathan Huh, Jaden Lucas
- 2016-17: Jaden Lucas
- 2017-18: Jaden Lucas
- 2018-19: John Paul Taylor
- 2004-05: Daniel Rendleman (2nd team)
- 2005-06: Justin Stoncius (1st team)
- 2006-07: Justin Stoncius (1st team)
- 2007-08: Paul Botros (2nd team)
- 2008-09: Tony Cao (1st team), Jerry Chang (1st team), Paul Botros (2nd team)
- 2009-10: Ben Chametzky (1st team), Jeremiah Monk (2nd team)
- 2010-12: Ben Chametzky (1st team), Srinivas Panchamukhi (2nd team)
- 2012-14: James Zetterman (2nd team), Prerak Trivedi (2nd team)
- 2014-15: Mahir Morshed (2nd team), Jonathan Huh (2nd team)
- 2015-16: Jonathan Huh (2nd team)
- 2016-17: Jaden Lucas (2nd team)
- 2017-18: Jaden Lucas (1st team)
- 2018-19: John Paul Taylor (2nd team)
Playing for Team Illinois
- Justin Stoncius (2006 & 07)
- Ben Chametzky (2012)