|State Championships||NAQT: 2012, 2013, 2018, 2019|
MSHSAA: 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018, 2019, 2021
|National Championships||2013 NSC, 2013 NASAT, 2017 NSC (JV)|
|National Appearances||HSNCT: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019|
PACE: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021
NHBB: 2019 (JV)
Ladue Horton Watkins High School (or Ladue) is a public high school in the St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area.
Ladue won the Class 4 MSHSAA state titles in 2006 and 2009 despite attending almost no tournaments, doing so due to knowledge gained in the real world and the relative weakness of the Missouri canon. After teams led by Max Schindler and Ben Zhang began attending tournaments regularly, Ladue dominated Missouri quizbowl and became one of the best teams in the nation, winning two national titles in 2013.
The team experienced a period of decline after 2014, but returned to prominence in 2016-17 when they won the national JV title and once again became the dominant team in Missouri. Ladue remains a state powerhouse as of 2022.
Beginning with Max Schindler's improvements in the 2009-2010 season, Ladue proved itself as the undisputed top Missouri team of the first half of the 2010's. They won the vast majority of Missouri tournaments they attended from 2011-2014—often doing so undefeated. Ladue won every MSHSAA Class 4 state championship from 2011-2014, and won the NAQT Missouri Qualifier when it attended that tournament in 2012 and 2013.
Following Ben Zhang's graduation in 2014, Ladue did not even advance to the district playoffs in 2015, breaking a streak of 9 consecutive State appearances. However, in 2016, freshmen Moses Schindler and Raj Paul led Ladue to a 2nd place finish at the MSHSAA Class 4 state championship behind Hickman. In 2017, Ladue once again finished 2nd at MSHSAA State, this time behind Washington.
By the 2017-2018 season, Ladue had entered another era of statewide dominance, with Raj Paul and Akshay Govindan as leading scorers. Ladue A went undefeated to any in-state team the entire season, winning nearly all of their tournaments including the NAQT Missouri Qualifier and the MSHSAA state championship.
In 2019, Ladue earned their fourth NAQT Missouri title and eighth MSHSAA State title. The A team incurred only a single loss to an in-state team all season, to St. Joseph Central at the NAQT Qualifier. Ladue B also became a powerhouse; led by Jack Madden and Eric Yin, the team placed in the top 5 at every tournament including the NAQT Qualifier, despite often missing key players.
Despite graduating most of the A team, Ladue quickly rebuilt in 2019-20 under juniors Louis Li and Eric Yin. However, the rise of a formidable in-state opponent in the St. Louis Patriots prevented Ladue from achieving the same level of dominance as in years past. The upstart Patriots defeated Ladue A in the playoffs of WUFAT, and in the finals of both WHIT and the NAQT Missouri Qualifier. Nevertheless, Ladue successfully defended their tournament titles at the Patriot-less MFAT and WUHSAC.
Ladue's B team didn't fare as well as before, falling short of making the playoffs at a non-novice tournament until the NAQT Qualifier. There, the B team lost only one close match in the prelims to STL Patriots, then defeated North Kansas City A in the playoffs and finished 12th.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic began, Ladue competed in many online tournaments with national or super-regional fields, often placing highly.
Returning most of their players in 2020-21, Ladue's A team swept the regular season with undefeated wins at every in-state tournament including WUHSAC and MOQBA Spring. This was despite the (re-)emergence of powerhouse teams like Ray-Pec and St. Joseph Central. The B team also became formidable, with the full team taking 5th in a strong field at Kickapoo Classic.
MSHSAA's use of Academic Hallmarks questions put Ladue's path to the 2021 state championship on shaky footing; questionable packets contributed to close shaves against Notre Dame and Kirksville. Nevertheless, the team went on to win their first-ever Class 5 state title.
In 2021-22, Ladue again graduated three out of four A-team members. Led by juniors Max Yang and Yuvan Chali, who alternately played on the previous A team, Ladue remained a contender in an increasingly strong region. The team finished 3rd at MFAT, tied-4th at WUFAT, 1st at WHIT, 3rd at WUHSAC, and capped off the season by winning the NAQT Qualifier. Unfortunately, MSHSAA Districts fell on the same day as Science Olympiad, and the shorthanded Ladue team was eliminated by Clayton.
In 2013, a Ladue A team of Max, Ben, Haohang, and Jialin Ding placed 2nd at HSNCT to LASA A, and Ladue B tied for 21st after going 7-3 in the prelims. The same Ladue A team won the 2013 NSC after defeating LASA A twice in a row, and was selected to be Team Missouri at the 2013 NASAT, where they won the first game of an advantaged final against Texas.
In 2014, a Ladue A team of Ben, Jialin, Kisan Thakkar, and Michael Prablek finished fourth at NSC, with two losses to St. John's and a 30-point loss to tournament champion LASA A. A team of Ben, Jialin, Kisan, and Sam Crowder then finished 4th at HSNCT after a 10-point loss to LASA B.
In 2016, a Ladue A team of Raj Paul, Royce Dong, Michael Muzinich, and Logan Page finished 56th at NSC, while a Ladue B team of Akshay Govindan, Glen Morgenstern, Will Gorski, Jack Madden, Jeffrey Wang, and Charlie Loitman placed 85th.
In 2019, a Ladue A team of Raj, Akshay, and Louis Li tied for 19th at HSNCT, after going undefeated in the prelims except for a loss against eventual champion Beavercreek. The same A team with the addition of Moses (who was sick during HSNCT) placed 11th at NSC after close losses to Strake Jesuit and Miami Valley. Ladue also attended its first History Bowl nationals in 2019, with an all-sophomore team of Louis Li, Matthew Levy, and Manar Fajors placing 27th in the JV division.
Ladue registered for the 2020 NSC and the 2020 History Bowl nationals, but both tournaments were canceled due to COVID-19.
In 2021, a Ladue team of Louis, Eric Yin, Jason Xu, Max Yang, Yuvan Chali, and Sophia Xu placed 22nd at the NSC after a tough prelim pool against top teams Arcadia and Chattahoochee. Ladue was unable to attend HSNCT, but attended ONCT instead—where the team finished 4th, edging out Detroit Country Day and Carmel in a series of close playoff wins.
Ladue's incredible talent, combined with a switch to NAQT questions in the 2011 season, led the team to shatter many MSHSAA State Championship tournament records.
- Max Schindler's 135 tossups (of 250 possible) at the 2011 state tournament broke Mike Wehrman's longstanding record of 133 set in 1997. Max held the record until Em Powers' 138 tossups in 2017.
- Ladue set a new record for most points scored throughout the five-round state tournament in three consecutive years, breaking the previous record of 2585 with scores of 2840 in 2011, 3360 in 2012, and 3500 in 2013. Ladue also scored 3020 points in 2014 and 2910 in 2018, giving them the top 5 spots on the list of prelim scores.
- In 2012, Ladue broke the single-game record of 640 points that stood for sixteen years three times, with a high score of 750 (of 900 possible). Ladue then broke their own record the next year by scoring 830 points in a prelim game.
- Ladue holds the three highest scores in state championship games, setting the state record of 600 in 2013 and again reaching 600 in 2019. Ladue also scored a semifinal record of 690 points in 2012.
- Ladue holds 9 state championship titles, the third-highest in MSHSAA history. Ladue's 6 consecutive appearances in the championship game from 2009-2014 was the longest streak ever achieved by a Class 4 team.
- Ladue has reached the Final Four 14 times, the fourth-highest ever. Ladue's 9 consecutive top four finishes was the longest-ever streak in Class 4.
- In 2019, all four players on Ladue's state roster were named to the Class 4 All-State team, a likely first in MSHSAA history.
According to NAQT's database:
- Ladue set the record for most points per tossups heard over the course of a tournament on an IS or higher difficulty set with 590.56 PP20TUH at the 2012 Villa Duchesne Invitational, breaking the previous record of 586.11 by Detroit Country Day in 2010. Ladue later broke their own record with 610.77 at the March 2013 NAQT Missouri Qualifier. This remained an NAQT record until Hunter scored 627.27 on March 18, 2017.
- Ladue set the record for most points per tossups heard in a single game on an IS or higher difficulty set with 765 PP20TUH at the March 2013 NAQT Missouri Qualifier, with a 14/5/1 stat line and 26.84 points per bonus. This was surpassed by Richard Montgomery's score of 795 in December 2014.
Starting in 2011, Ladue began hosting the Ladue Invitational Spring Tournament (LIST), usually using a well-received housewritten question set but sometimes mirroring other sets. Ladue mirrored the VTACO set in 2015 and FACTS in 2018. In 2019, Ladue used the CAST set it had written in collaboration with other teams. The tournament did not occur in 2016 or 2020.
Ladue has also periodically hosted a Ladue Fall Novice Tournament, mirroring various novice-level question sets. This tournament has occurred in 2011 (using FNT), 2013 (using SCOP Novice), and most recently in 2019 (using RAMS).
An old in-joke in the quizbowl community consists of people exclaiming or posting, "LADUE?!?" This originated in reference to a forum post in which William Horton expressed bewilderment at his team, Alpharetta, being ranked below Ladue in the 2011 post-nationals HSQBRank. The post was criticized for being rude and dismissive of Ladue's skill, and became an irony of history after Ladue's subsequent national successes.
Over the next few years, saying "LADUE?!?" with mock bewilderment became a meme within the community. Though the joke has since died down, it still sees occasional use.
- Eric Yin (2021)
- Louis Li (2021)
- Jason Xu (2021)
- Raj Paul (2019)
- Moses Schindler (2019)
- Akshay Govindan (2019)
- Jialin Ding (2014)
- Kisan Thakkar (2014)
- Ben Zhang (2014)
- Max Schindler (2013)
- Haohang Xu (2013)