Montgomery Blair Academic Team

Here are the 2003-2004 season highlights and overviews:

The It's Academic Team kicked off the new school year with a huge turnout crowd of 41 people for its inagural meeting on September 9. We welcomed a number of new faces and returning veterans, including a special guest, alum Jared Sagoff. Sagoff was an It's Ac member for the duration of his career at Blair, and was a participant on the It's Academic TV show last year.

Blair participated in a ten team scrimmage at Walter Johnson on September 25. Our team of Jonathan Magin, Ning Bao, Abhi Nargundkar, and Minghui Yang went 3-1, with decisive victories were posted over Churchill, Gaithersburg, and Richard Montgomery's 'B' team. Blair's only loss was to Richard Montgomery's 'A' team.

The first 'real' tournament of the year was held at James Hubert Blake HS on October 4. Blair sent two teams to compete. The 'A' team of Ning Bao (C), Jonathan Magin, John Shen, Saul Kinter, and alternate Sam Wight did admirably, going 5-0 to win their division, ultimately losing to Gonzaga in the second round of the playoffs. 'B' Team--Abhi Nargundkar (C), Neil Agarwal, David White, Justin Kovac, and alternate Sareen Engineer--got off to a slow start, but won their final 3 games to finish with a strong 3-2 performance.

Blair sent two teams to the 24-team Keegan tournament at Blake HS on October 14. The 'B' team of Saul Kinter (C), Abhi Nargundkar, Min Wu, Sheila Rajagopal, and Neil Agarwal started off slow but finished strongly, trouncing Wootton in their last match. For the day, they finished with a 4-2 record, good for 10th overall, and narrowly missing a playoff berth. 'A' team of Ning Bao (C), Jonathan Magin, Martino Choi, and Minghui Yang went 6-0 to earn an invitation to the round-of-8 playoffs held Monday. They defeated Walt Whitman and Banneker to advance to the finals against Richard Montgomery, where they lost a close and tough match. Congratulations to Blair A on their second place finish.

Blair sent three teams to the November 15 tournament at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt. The 'A' team of Ning Bao(C), Jon Magin, Abhi Nargundkar, and Saul Kinter went 5-0 in the regular round and beat Maret C and GDS A to advance to the semifinals against archrival Richard Montgomery 'A'. This game was a nailbite that was only resolved three questions from the end, as Blair triumphed to advance to the championship against Gonzaga. This was championship It's Academic at its best, a hard-fought struggle that Blair ultimately lost by one question. Although they fell just short of winning the whole thing, the 'A' team had a terrific day in taking home the second place trophy. Blair's 'B' team of Sheila Rajagopal(C), Vivek Chellappa, Justin Kovac, and Doug Adams had a bit of a rough day, going 1-4. This bit of bad luck is not too concerning; B Team will undoubtedly rebound strongly next time. Blair's 'C' Team was the surprise story of the day. Composed entirely of underclassmen It's Academic rookies, the C team went 3-2 to finish second in their division and make the playoffs in their very first tournament playing together! They lost to Richard Montgomery A in the playoffs, but nonetheless, a spectacular performance by these up-and-coming stars. All in all, it was an exciting day for Blair teams.

Blair sent two teams to the University of Maryland (College Park) tournament on Sunday, November 23. 'A' Team: Ning Bao(C), Jon Magin, Abhi Nargundkar, and John Silberholz. 'B' Team: Sheila Rajagopal(C), Neil Agarwal, Vivek Chellappa, and Sareen Engineer.

Blair's team placed 2nd worldwide in the international Knowledge Master Open Tournament on December 2, losing only to Thomas Jefferson High School. Thirty-four students participated, answering 196 questions out of 200 for an overall score of 1,774. Read the story on Silver Chips Online.

Blair successfully completed its first taping of the season, aired December 27. The 'A' team of Ning Bao (C), Jonathan Magin, and Minghui Yang beat out Lake Braddock and Wootton to make the playoffs, which will take place on February 21.

Blair won against Paint Branch on February 10 on Quizmaster Challenge with a score of 585 to 365. The team of Ning Bao (C), Jonathan Magin, Martino Choi, and Minghui Yang will compete in the next Quizmaster Challenge.

Blair placed 2nd in its second taping of the season, airing April 24. The team of Jonathan Magin (C), Saul Kinter, and Martino Choi won against Whitman but lost to Churchill with a score of 280-525-575. Although the team only reached the playoffs this season, they are getting ready for next season's finals!

Blair went to the Howard FIESTA bowl on February 21 with A team Ning Bao(C), Abhi Nargundkar, Neil Agarwal, Vivek Chellappa and Sareen Engineer, B team Sam Wight, Armin Rosen, Ben Green and Ravi Umarji, and C team Jeff Gao, Michael Arbit, Rachel Kirsch and Eddie Wang. Teams B and C made it to the playoffs and all three teams played a strong game.

Blair sent the team of Ning Bao (C), Minghui Yang, Jonathan Magin, and Martino Choi to the Quizmaster Challenge quarterfinals on March 9 against Walter Johnson. Walter Johnson was last year's County champions. However, Blair won in an exciting match with a score of 620-295. The next round of Quizmaster Challenge will be against Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School.

Blair sent two teams to the Blake Freshman/Sophomore Tournament on March 16. The A team went 6-0 against comeptitors such as Churchill and Centennial. As finalists, they are scheduled to go against Churchill A again on March 22. Although the B team did not do nearly as well and did not make the playoffs, they made a great effort.

Blair finished in the quarterfinals of the Blake Freshman/Sophomore Tournament on March 22 after making a Herculean effort but losing to Richard Montgomery before they could advance to the finals. Good job, guys!

Blair competed in the Knowledge Master Open Tournament on April 14. With a score of 1,787 and 197 questions answered correctly, Blair placed 1st in the state of Maryland and 2nd internationally, losing only to Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia.

Blair sent three teams to the Richard Montgomery Rumble on the Pike Tournament on April 17. All three teams made it to the playoffs as Blair did the best it has done at tournaments for a while. The A team of Ning Bao (C), Jonathan Magin, Martino Choi, and Abhi Nargundkar placed fourth after losing to Thomas Jefferson A and Thomas Jefferson B in the semifinal rounds of the playoffs. Blair's B team, Saul Kinter (C), Sheila Rajagopal, Ravi Umarji, Min Wu, and later Jeff Gao lost in the first round of the playoffs to Walter Johnson A by a margin of 10 points, going down to the last question. Blair's C team, Armin Rosen (C), Rachel Kirsch, Ben Green, and Jeff Gao made a valiant effort against Thomas Jefferson A in their first round of the playoffs, but were no match.

Blair went to the final round of the Quizmaster Challenge head-to-head against Richard Montgomery with the team of Ning Bao (C), Minghui Yang, Jonathan Magin, and Martino Choi on April 20. With a score of 435-410 in Richard Montgomery's favor, Blair came in second in one of the closest Quizmaster Challenges ever.

Blair's team of Sareen Engineer, Neil Agarwal, Jeff Cao, David White and Armin Rosen went to the University of Maryland Classic on May 2. They went to the playoffs in 16th place with a record of 3-3, but were unfortunately beaten by Thomas Jefferson A.

Blair sent three teams to the GDS tournament on May 22. The A team, Ning Bao (C), Jonathan Magin, Martino Choi, Sareen Engineer and Abhi Nargundkar did excellently in the preliminary rounds, going 4-1, but lost to Detroit Catholic Central in the first round of playoffs in a close match that made it down to the wire. Blair's B team of Saul Kinter (C), Sheila Rajagopal, Vivek Chellappa, Neil Agarwal and Justin Kovac went 1-4 despite a strong effort and did not make the playoffs. The C team, with Armin Rosen (C), Jeff Gao, John Silberholtz, and Ben Green also did well and made the playoffs with a score of 3-2 in the preliminary rounds, but lost to Sidwell Friends A in the first round of playoffs.

The Blair It's Academic team wishes its seniors a fond farewell! Thank you so much for a great season and good luck on your college adventures!