The Greatest Game Ever Played

The championship contest between Edgemont (NY) and Holton-Arms (MD) was declared the Greatest Game Ever Played. Perennial participant Edgemont, part of the powerful Westchester County bloc, entered the playoffs ranked No. 9 and then defeated Boyer Valley (IA) with the highest playoff score, 510-185, Jenks (OK) 330-225, Woodland (CT) 355-165, and Little Rock Central (AR) 395-355. Meanwhile, first-timer Holton-Arms (MD) entered the playoffs ranked 15th at 4-2, but beat John Adams B (IN) 400-140, New Orleans Jesuit 300-255, Loyola Blakefield (MD) 400-140, and defending champs Byram Hills 380-315. It should be added that the rookies from Maryland lost their first two games in the preliminary rounds, then found themselves in a must-win situation in each of their next nine contests!

The game

Holton-Arms led after the “Warm Up Round” 70-40. The Maryland team scored only 20 bonus points in the second period, while Edgemont scored 70, sweeping the MIDDLE EAST and ANTHROPOLOGY bonuses, taking a 135-120 lead after the “Bonus Round.” Holton-Arms chose HUMAN BODY in the “Seventy Seconds Round,” advancing 50-20. Edgemont had better results with THIRTEEN ORIGINAL STATES, adding 80 points to their opponent’s 10. The score at the start of the final period was 235-180 in favor of the New York team.

“Stump the Experts” started with Holton-Arms recognizing the sound of a black hole “singing.” Edgemont answered back by identifying the weird musical instrument, theremin, from an audio clue. Holton-Arms then impressed us by stealing Edgemont’s Art question: “This photo, Le Violon d’Ingres, sold in May 2022 for $12.4 million, making it the most expensive photograph ever sold at auction. Name the artist.”

They followed by adding 20 points on their own Art question, after which they trailed Edgemont by only 15: “The Zagwe dynasty ruled large areas of which present-day landlocked African country from the 12th century, a prominent emperor being Lalibela, the traditional builder of the monolithic, rock-hewn churches that bear his name?”

Ans. Man Ray
Ans. Ethiopia

Edgemont then identified “transcendental numbers” from a definition and “Annapolis Convention” from a description. Holton-Arms identified James Madison as the unofficial secretary of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, then added 20 on Social Security tax. Edgemont added 20 on 401(k) but missed this one: “The following words describe which 18th century novel? ‘The hero of this piece unites in himself the three greatest characters upon earth: he is a priest, an husbandman, and the father of a family.’ They refer to the Reverend Charles Primrose and were written by the novel’s author Oliver Goldsmith.” Holton-Arms stole the 20 points by answering The Vicar of Wakefield. They followed up by identifying A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson and gravitational waves from a description. That sweep of BRITISH LITERATURE gave the Maryland team a 320-315 lead. Edgemont then gave a correct answer on a question about the unity of two fundamental forces, weak nuclear force and electromagnetism. The final couplet was FINISH THE QUOTATION. Edgemont re-took the lead on this one: “What three words complete this saying from the Sermon on the Mount? ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the …’” Ans. Kingdom of heaven. We were certain we’d stump everyone on the last question: Complete this saying by Benjamin Franklin: “He that falls in love with himself will have no …” But Holton-Arms answered “rivals,” to win the game on the final question, 360-355.

Maryland Champs

We’ve come full circle. The winner of our first tournament, in 1983, was from Bethesda, Maryland – Walt Whitman High School. The winner of our 40th tournament, in 2022, is from Bethesda, Maryland – Holton-Arms.

Rookie of the Year

This is the first time the Rookie of the Year team has also won the championship since Houston Memorial (TX) did it in 1996. In addition to Holton-Arms, first-timers Cartersville (GA) and Loyola Blakefield (MD) advanced to the Quarterfinals.

Scoring Leaders

We’re always interested in how a team’s points per game average correlates with their tournament final rank. Seldom does a given team win both. No. 1 in the nation Holton-Arms finished 2nd, with a 298 avg; Edgemont High finished No. 1 at 304 and Valhalla (NY) finished third at 296.

Small School Champs

We crown a champion from among the “small schools” that come to Nationals (defined as any school with 500 or fewer students in grades 10-12 and a non-selective admissions policy). This year Camp Hill (PA) and Boyer Valley (IA) tied for that honor, which we settled with a championship game on Google Meet. Boyer Valley led the entire game … until Camp Hill’s last assigned question: “A federal system divides power between national and state governments. What kind of system involves two or more independent states which unite to achieve a common goal, but remain sovereign in other matters?” They knew the answer, confederation, winning the game on the last question.


Maggie Brett-Major showed all the qualities of a great captain – listening to all suggestions of her teammates, relaying (in almost all cases) the correct answer to the moderator in timely fashion. She earned this year’s MVP award, and became only the 25th player in 40 years elected to the Hall of Fame.

Maggie Brett-Major, MVP and Hall of Famer - Freed Photography

Coach of the Year

Martin Gilbert has been bringing Byram Hills High School (NY) teams to Nationals for decades. We’ve known Martin since the early 1990s, when he started bringing teams to the Texaco Star Academic Challenge in Westchester County.

Martin Gilbert

Qualifying for 2023 Nationals

Keep in mind that all 2022 playoff teams have automatically qualified for NAC XLI. Return to in September, when information on any Saturday virtual tournaments and 3-2-1 events will be posted. We will also provide details on next year’s National Academic Championship.

Hall of Fame

  • Mike Keller (Irmo, SC, ’85-87)
  • Eric Evans (Granville, OH, ’88-89)
  • Jim Paluszak (Dorman, SC, ’89-91)
  • Matt Bruce (Booker T. Washington, OK, ’89-92)
  • Mark Staloff (East Brunswick, NJ, ’94)
  • Brad Rutter (Manheim Township, PA, ’92-95)
  • Brad Harris (James Island, SC, ’92-95)
  • Amanda Goad (Governor’s School, VA, ’93-96)
  • Scott Petty (Houston Eisenhower ’95 and Houston Memorial ’96)
  • Justin Powell (James Island, SC ’95-98)
  • Ryan Cooper (James Island, SC ’95-99)
  • Jonathan Hess (Irmo, SC, 1998-2002)
  • Sara Sheer (Horace Greeley, 2001-2004)
  • Matt Pargeter (Holland Hall, OK, 2002-2005)
  • Nate Mattison (Byram Hills, NY, 2004-2006
  • Fuhe Xu (Harrison, IN, 2004-2007)
  • Ariel Schneider (Harrison, IN, 2004-2007)
  • Dylan Hames (Booker T. Washington, OK, 2006-2008)
  • Alex Pijanowski (Harrison, IN, 2011-2013)
  • Max Smiley (Horace Greeley, 2013-2014)
  • Kevin Yokum (New Orleans Jesuit, 2013-2014)
  • Luke Minton (El Paso Coronado, 2013-2015)
  • Jaskaran Singh (Plano West, 2017-2018)
  • Brian Li (Pingry, 2020)
  • Maggie Brett-Major (Holton-Arms, 2022)

winners of our 40 tournaments

  • 1983 — Walt Whitman (Bethesda, MD)
  • 1984 — Wheelersburg (Wheelersburg, OH)
  • 1985 — Skyline (Dallas, TX)
  • 1986 — Irmo (Columbia, SC)
  • 1987 — Walnut Ridge (Columbus, OH)
  • 1988 — Eleanor Roosevelt (Greenbelt, MD)
  • 1989 — Dorman (Spartanburg, SC)
  • 1990 — Collegiate (Richmond, VA)
  • 1991 — Dorman (Spartanburg, SC)
  • 1992 — Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, OK)
  • 1993 — Torrey Pines (San Diego, CA)
  • 1994 — East Brunswick (NJ)
  • 1995 — Governor’s School (Richmond, VA)
  • 1996 — Houston Memorial (TX)
  • 1997 — Edison (Huntington Beach, CA)
  • 1998 — State College Area (PA)
  • 1999 — James Island (SC)
  • 2000 — Manheim Township (PA)
  • 2001 — Irmo (Columbia, SC)
  • 2002 — Irmo (Columbia, SC)
  • 2003 — Horace Greeley (Chappaqua, NY)
  • 2004 — St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN)
  • 2005 — Holland Hall (Tulsa, OK)
  • 2006 — Byram Hills (Armonk, NY)
  • 2007 — Harrison (West Lafayette, IN)
  • 2008 — Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, OK)
  • 2009 — John Cooper (The Woodlands, TX)
  • 2010 — Zionsville (Zionsville, IN)
  • 2011 — Harrison (West Lafayette, IN)
  • 2012 — University of Detroit Jesuit (MI)
  • 2013 — Horace Greeley (Chappaqua, NY)
  • 2014 — Jesuit (New Orleans, LA)
  • 2015 — Coronado (El Paso, TX)
  • 2016 — Daviess County (Owensboro, KY)
  • 2017 — Zionsville (Zionsville, IN
  • 2018 — Plano West (TX)
  • 2019 — University of Detroit Jesuit (MI)
  • 2020 — Pingry (Basking Ridge, NJ)
  • 2021 — Byram Hills (Armonk, NY)
  • 2022 — Holton-Arms (MD)
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