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W. L. Chenery Middle School
Belmont, MA
National Championships 2023 MSNCT
National Appearances MSNCT: 2022 and 2023
Program Status Active
School Size 1373
NAQT Page link

Chenery is a middle school quizbowl team located in Belmont, Massachusetts. It feeds into Belmont High School.

Chenery started playing tournaments in February 2019, but became far more active in the online 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons. Chenery made it to the finals of their first MSNCT in 2022, losing to Longfellow 310-280 in a one-game final.

Pre-COVID (2019-2020)

The club at Chenery was first run by Belmont High School players Nathan Sheffield and Seiyoung Jang. They went to their first tournament, the AMSA Middle School Invitational in February 2019. A group of players from Chenery planned on going to that same tournament in 2020, but was canceled due to COVID.

Increased tournament activity (2021-2022)

A quizbowl club at Chenery began to gain interest again as COVID-19 brought practices and tournaments online. Current Belmont players Cindy Gao, Ella Sheffield, and Pablo Hu each recruited their siblings to play Quizbowl.

Chenery played their first tournament in January 2021 as a trio team of those siblings: Andrew Gao, Daniel Sheffield, and Luca Hu, respectively. Chenery played tournaments throughout the 2020-2021 season, making it to the top bracket of the 54-team Ridgewood Middle School Invitational, and finishing 5th.

In 2022, the Chenery team focused on recruitment efforts for their club once in-person school began. Their first tournament success began when a solo team of just Andrew Gao placed 3rd at Middlesex's Charter Oak Scholastic Open X. Andrew was top scorer of the tournament, going 54/47/23, but lost to a house Middlesex A team that would later go on to win. Chenery did not play any tournaments in the winter, though Andrew Gao and Daniel Sheffield played high school regs and regs+ sets in what would become a trend of playing hard sets.

Chenery attended the Susquehanna Middle School Academic Recall Tournament in February 2022. They split teams, with Andrew Gao soloing as Chenery "A" and Daniel and Luca duoing as Chenery "B." Chenery B effectively won the bottom division, going undefeated in prelims against the other 5 teams. The solo Chenery "A" team lost the first game of an advantaged final, but had shown improvement since Charter Oak, going 61/36/11 on similar-difficulty sets. Chenery placed 2nd at numerous tournaments, both high school and middle school. Chenery placed 2nd at the Matador Invitational, a tournament intended to feature nationally-competitive teams.

Chenery captain Andrew Gao also played in the 2022 IPNCT, making it to the finals, placing 3rd behind Pranavkrishna Bharanidharan and Evans Senvalds. Andrew placed highly in the categories of literature, geography, and current events at IPNCT.

Before nationals, Chenery played BAIT IV, a tournament hosted by Belmont, and MIT Spring on Prison Bowl XIV. Chenery also won their first tournament, MEQBA Middle School Madness, with a duo team of Zym Zeldovich and Andrew Gao.

At MSNCT, Chenery started with the two-card, which played a "Bye" team, resulting in a forfeit win. Their first actual game was a 325-355 loss to Great Valley A. After losing that game, Chenery played BASIS Austin, Meyzeek, and Annunciation Orthodox B, winning all three games with a total of 28 powers. Their second loss came against Middlesex A, and then they won their game against University School of Nashville A to clinch a spot in playoffs. Chenery finished with the 20 card and a record of 6-2 after defeating Hunter in the last round of prelims.

Chenery was initially given the eight-card at the beginning of playoffs. This gave them a bye to round 15, where they played Barrington Station Middle. Wins against Smith (NC) and top-eight team Burleigh Manor A gave them the one-card. Chenery won against T.H. Rogers to play in the winners' bracket final, whose winner was guaranteed a spot in the finals. This matchup ended up being Greenhill A (the MSQBRank favorite) against Chenery. After ending up with three negs after the first 11 tossups, Chenery was trailing 195-75. Going into tossup 19, the score was Greenhill 275 - Chenery 180. Chenery powered the last three tossups - including a first clue buzz on the last tossup by Andrew Gao to take the lead for the first time in the game. The final score of the game was Chenery 295 - Greenhill 275, cementing Chenery a spot in the finals.

On Sunday afternoon, Chenery was not as lucky, losing a chance at an advantaged final 220-335. Longfellow defeated Greenhill in a play-in game, leaving the finals Chenery vs Longfellow. In the grand finals, Chenery was trailing by 180 points at tossup 16. Four straight powers - three from Andrew and one from Daniel - put Chenery back in the finals. However, a power by Edward Burros of Longfellow all but cemented a victory for Longfellow. The final score was 310-280. Chenery's 2nd place finish was the best by a team of shorthanded non-8th graders.

After MSNCT, a closed team from Chenery played as Massachusetts for 2022 MINT, a "MS NASAT" run by Conor Thompson on the DART II set. Massachusetts won MINT after going 9-1.