Matt Weiner's List of the 10 best 21st Century High School Teams

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In a discussion thread on hsquizbowl Matt Weiner responded to a Jeff Hoppes question about the best teams ever with a list of his picks for the top 10 teams. Here is his list, verbatim -

Here is my quickly-dashed-off Top 10 list that probably omits someone important:

1. Thomas Jefferson 2005: Undefeated at NSC and HSNCT. No one else has ever done that. That alone would put them in the top spot, and when you add in their absolute shattering of every scoring record and the fact that they never lost a game all year when playing their full A team on pyramidal questions, there is no justification for listing any other team from the modern era up here.

2. Thomas Jefferson 2004: If going undefeated for the whole year puts you in 1st, then losing only a single game for the whole year puts you in 2nd. This team stormed through HSNCT with a flawless record, and only dropped their very last game of the season, to Maggie Walker in the 2004 NSC final that constitutes the greatest game I've ever seen on any level of quizbowl.

3. Maggie Walker 2007: They lost a few games in the early part of the season, but it only motivated them to get stronger. Unifying the HSNCT and NSC titles in an era of unprecedented competition is what puts them in contention for this spot, and my evaluation that they could have beaten any other 21st-century team, except for TJ at its peak, clinches it.

4. Dorman 2003: Swept through the NSC, including a convincing finals victory over the TJ team that had beaten them at the HSNCT final. Going undefeated at a national is extremely impressive, and Dorman might be higher based on that alone, had they not dropped some games to non-title contenders at HSNCT.

5. Richard Montgomery 2002: Another undefeated NSC champion, who knocked off several of the teams involved in the six-way almost-tie atop the HSNCT standings along the way. Had they attended HSNCT, they may have won it and be in contention for best of all time status, but we'll never know.

6. Richard Montgomery 2006: Pulled it out at a competitive HSNCT and fell just short at NSC. Had they performed similarly in 2001, losing a few games at HSNCT to non-contending opponents, I might not have listed them, but to win the HSNCT in recent years when the competitive level is so high is a feat. Along with Dorman 2003, this is a team that at times impressed me enough with the depth of their knowledge that I think they would still hold up against some of this year's best, in ways that other teams on the list might not be able to.

7. State College 2001: 2001 was a hard call, with both the HSNCT and NSC champions losing a bunch of games, and no team emerging as dominant at any point in the year. However, I have to give the nod to State College for surviving the NSC at its hardest difficulty level ever, not to mention defending their title after losing a 145 PPG scorer to graduation.

8. Detroit Catholic Central 2001: Thus, the other national champion from that year gets the next spot. They had to survive some tough challenges from Detroit Country Day, Riverdale, and State College to make it through, but they pulled together when it counted.

9. Maggie Walker 2004: Probably would have unified the NSC and HSNCT titles had it not been for Thomas Jefferson. They were too far behind TJ for the whole year to justify a higher spot, but they get on the list for finishing 1-2 at the nationals and for winning the greatest game ever played.

10. Lakeside 2005: Only lost to TJ, and nearly became the 1980 US Olympic hockey team of quizbowl in the HSNCT final. Had they been able to play out of Washington more often, who knows where they would fall in our esteem.

Honorable mentions: Raleigh Charter 2006, State College 2005, Irmo 2002, St. John's 2002

The original thread, entitled "Greatest Quizbowl Team Ever," can be found here - [1]


There has been talk of updating the list as early as August 2013, but so far no new official list has come forward. [2]