Because quizbowl players enjoy analyzing things of this nature, there have been several attempts to recognize possible unique or milestone types of combinations of national championships that players or teams could win.
Classic Triple Crown
The term "Triple Crown" was popular circa the year 2000 to describe a set of three tournament titles: the NAQT ICT overall championship, the ACF Nationals championship, and the College Bowl national championship. Teams or players might be described as winning a "Triple Crown" in a career or a single year. As the NAQT ICT was only created in 1997, and College Bowl lost its relevance to quizbowl by the mid-2000s and ceased operating its namesake tournament entirely after 2008, the term had a limited window of currency.
The 1999 Chicago and 2002 Michigan teams won the single-year Triple Crown. Three other programs won the all-time Triple Crown: Stanford, by winning College Bowl in 1978, ICT in 1998, and ACF in 2010; Virginia, which won the 2012 ICT, adding to their multiple 1990s College Bowl and ACF Nationals titles; and Maryland, which won the 1981 College Bowl NCT, 2008 NAQT ICT, and 2017 ACF Nationals. Any team that won College Bowl before it went defunct could theoretically complete an all-time Triple Crown by winning ICT and ACF in the future. It is unlikely that any individual player will win a Triple Crown again, barring a former College Bowl champion returning to play in the modern age; Rob Carson, who played on the 2007 College Bowl and 2011 ICT championship teams with Minnesota, presumably stands the best chance as he need only win ACF Nationals as a graduate student.
Due to the variant styles from College Bowl to ACF Nationals with NAQT in the middle, those teams which had success at all three usually did so by fielding drastically different lineups at the various tournaments. Thus, Adam Kemezis, on the 2002 Michigan team, was the only individual player to win a Triple Crown in a single year.
At least eight other players, Jeff Bennett, Ed Cohn, Alice Chou, Mike Davidson, Susan Ferrari, Matt Lafer, John Sheahan, and Andrew Yaphe, have won a career Triple Crown. Bennett, Cohn, Ferrari, and Sheahan won all the relevant tournaments with Chicago, Lafer and Davidson did so with Michigan, and Yaphe and Chou each won the College Bowl and ACF legs at Virginia before winning an ICT (and additional ACF titles) with Chicago.
Modern Triple Crown
A modern interpretation of the Triple Crown might refer to winning the NAQT ICT, ACF Nationals, and Chicago Open in the same year, as those are clearly the three most prestigious and popular hard tournaments. No single school's team has done this (nor has any team composed of players from a single school ever won Chicago Open at all). The individual players to have accomplished a single-year Triple Crown are:
In 2014, those three Virginia players all won the Triple Crown, joining forces with Dennis Loo at ICT and ACF, and Eric Mukherjee at Chicago Open; moreover, Bollinger was the leading scorer at all three tournaments. Seth Teitler managed the lesser but admirable achievement of finishing second, to teams containing Ezequiel, at all three tournaments in 2005; Matt Jackson did the same in 2014.
Seven times, a player has finished first in two of the Triple Crown events and second in the third:
- Ezequiel Berdichevsky (2001, 2nd at ICT)
- Ezequiel Berdichevsky (2002, 2nd at Chicago Open)
- Jeff Hoppes (2004, 2nd at Nationals)
- Seth Teitler (2004, 2nd at Nationals)
- Adam Kemezis (2005, 2nd at Chicago Open)
- Andrew Hart (2011, 2nd at Nationals)
- Matt Bollinger (2012, 2nd at Nationals)
Career Triple Crown
Career winners of the Modern Triple Crown, i.e. people who have won at least one ICT, ACF Nationals, and CO across their entire quizbowl playing careers, in addition to the four above, are (first win of each title listed after each name):
- Andrew Yaphe (1997 ACF, 1999 ICT, 2001 CO)
- Jeff Hoppes (2003 ACF, 2004 ICT, 2004 CO)
- Seth Teitler (2003 ACF, 2004 ICT, 2004 CO)
- Matt Lafer (2005 ICT, 2005 ACF, 2006 CO)
- Selene Koo (2007 ICT, 2007 ACF, 2011 CO)
- Kevin Koai (2010 CO, 2011 ACF, 2013 ICT)
- Matt Jackson (2011 ACF, 2013 ICT, 2015 CO)
- John Lawrence (2011 ACF, 2012 CO, 2016 ICT)
- Auroni Gupta (2015 CO, 2016 ACF, 2017 ICT)
- Will Nediger (2016 ACF, 2016 CO, 2017 ICT)
This term was coined during ACF Nationals 2012 for a single player winning all four major overall championships in quizbowl--the high school PACE NSC and NAQT HSNCT and the top ACF Nationals and NAQT ICT titles--in a career.
It would also have been theoretically possible, but exceedingly difficult and unlikely, for a high school student with dual-enrollment college player status to win these all in one year. As of 2019, NAQT no longer permits players to participate in both high school and college championships in the same year even if otherwise eligible. Changes to ACF eligibility around the same time period have also made almost all formerly eligible dual-enrolled high school students ineligible to participate in ACF for college teams, though this eligibility status is not completely impossible to achieve, and does not depend on what high school tournaments the student plays.
The only known player to have won the Grand Slam is Evan Adams (2007 HSNCT, 2007 NSC, 2012 (and 2014) ICT, 2014 ACF Nationals). The only players to have won three of the four legs are Shantanu Jha (all but HSNCT) and Tommy Casalaspi (all but NSC). Adams is also the only player to win at five different nationals in his career (the Grand Slam plus College History Bowl), or six if Chicago Open is counted.
No name has yet been coined for the accumulation of different levels of NAQT championship. Theoretically there are nine national NAQT titles that any player could win over the course of their education (MSNCT, IPNCT Middle School, SSNCT, HSNCT, IPNCT High School, CCCT, ICT Division II, ICT Division I Undergraduate, and ICT Division I Overall). Some of these titles are relatively young, making it impossible or virtually impossible for a player to have won certain combinations of them.
The most of these titles earned by anyone player is three, done by Jeff Hoppes (ICT Division II, ICT Division I Undergraduate, and ICT Division I Overall); Chris Ray (HSNCT, ICT Division II, and ICT Division I Overall); Evan Adams (HSNCT, ICT Division I Undergraduate, ICT Division I Overall); Tommy Casalaspi (HSNCT, ICT Division I Undergraduate, and ICT Division I Overall), Matt Jackson (ICT Division II, ICT Division I Overall, and ICT Division I Undergraduate, in that order), and Ashvin Srivatsa (ICT Division II, ICT Division I Overall, and ICT Division I Undergraduate). Both Ray and Casalaspi won their three levels in three consecutive years. None of the six players are eligible to win any of the titles they have not won, nor can they become eligible to do so unless NAQT makes absurd changes to its eligibility rules.
In addition to Hoppes, Jackson, Ray, and Srivatsa, six other players have won ICT Division II and later won ICT Division I Overall: David Farris, Paul Lujan, Brendan Shapiro, Charles Meigs, Seth Samelson, and Kevin Koai. Berkeley's 2006 ICT Division I Overall championship team consisted entirely of former ICT Division II winners, who had won those titles with three different undergraduate schools.
J.R. Roach has won both HSNCT (2010) and ICT Division I Overall (2015) titles.
The next tier above winning both ICT and ACF Nationals in one year is for a team to do so without losing a game at either tournament. 1999 Chicago, 2002 Michigan, and 2007 Chicago are the only teams who have ever accomplished this. The high school equivalent, winning both HSNCT and PACE NSC without losing a game, has only been accomplished by Thomas Jefferson.
Since the creation of HSAPQ's NASAT in 2010, it has been possible for one high school (or, more realistically, a player from one high school) to win three high school national championships in one year, or three throughout one's high school career (HSNCT, NSC, and NASAT). This could be considered a high school Triple Crown.
In 2014, Ben Jones and Arnav Sastry of LASA became the first players to win all of NSC, HSNCT, and NASAT in a single year. Jones had also been on LASA's national-championship NHBB team earlier in the year.
State College (played NASAT as Team Pennsylvania in 2010) and Ladue (played NASAT as Team Missouri in 2013) have won two of the three titles and finished second at the third event, during a year in which they attended all three. The only schools to unify the three titles across multiple years have been State College, which did so upon winning HSNCT in 2011, and LASA, which did so upon winning NSC in 2014.
In 1991 Dorman entered all four high school national championships that existed at the time. They won the National Academic Championship, Stars 2000 National Academic Tournament, and Panasonic Academic Challenge and finished second at the ASCN Tournament of Champions. Jim Paluszak, of this team, also played on Dorman's 1989 NAC team, making him the only known 4-title player from before the modern era.
The record for career high school titles considering only NSC, HSNCT, and NASAT is 4, held by several people (Ben Jones, Jacob Mikanowski, Martin Devecka, Sam Lederer, Jacob Oppenheim, Will Sullivan, Graham Moyer, Christoph Schlom, and David Liu.) When considering all national championships including NHBB and non-pyramidal events, Lederer has 7 total titles (3 HSNCTs, 3 NTAEs, and 1 NSC), Mikanowski has 5 (3 NSCs, 1 HSNCT, and 1 NAC), and Jones has 5 (2 HSNCTs, 1 NSC, 1 NASAT, 1 NHBB). These are believed to be the only players with more than 4 titles under the more inclusive definition.
Several players have won at both the JV and Varsity levels of the high school NHBB competition. Two players, J.R. Roach and Tommy Casalaspi, have played on the overall winning team at both the high school History Bowl national championship and the College History Bowl national championship. History Bowl awards titles from the elementary school level upwards, so future multi-level achievements are possible.