Dear Coaches, Students, Parents, and Teams!

We’re just 3 days away from the start of the big weekend, and I wanted to check in with a somewhat shorter email than last time, but one with a number of very important clarifications and reminders. This email will then be followed by General Email # 3 on Thursday, which will have the “Where you need to go and when you need to be there” details, along with links to the draws for all events other than the National History Bee (for Sunday). The National History Bee draw will be sent out Friday, along with a few last minute updates and reminders in General Email #4, and then that will be it from me by email until after Nationals.

Having said that, you cannot go wrong if you are in the lobby of the Crystal Gateway Marriott by the following times for the following events (the times listed below are all approximately 30 minutes before the start). We will make announcements throughout the lobby at these times telling everyone to go to their game rooms, and have further details on hand in terms of where everyone has to go which will be available at the help desk at the top of the main escalator in the lobby.

US History Bee – 7:30am on Friday

US Geography Olympiad – 12:15pm on Friday

Opening Ceremonies – 6:30pm on Friday

National Sports History Bee / National Entertainment History Bee – 7:30pm on Friday (or, just be in the Arlington Ballroom for the Opening Ceremonies, that’s fine too)

National History Bowl – 7:15 am if you are playing off site (see Email #3 on Thursday to check if you are; this impacts 18 JV teams only in the morning), otherwise, 8:15am on Saturday. For the Bowl, only, though, you MUST sign in between 2pm and 11pm on Friday, or between 7 and 8:00am on Saturday if you aren’t arriving before then. You must indicate on the survey if you request a Saturday check in!

National History Bee / Consolation Bee
– 7:45 am on Sunday

Also, If you did not get the first email (in most cases, this is because you registered after it went out, or someone told me to add you to the email list after the first email was sent) the full text of that email (with a few modifications where needed) has been posted to our website here. Please read it through in full!

Okay, with that out of the way, on to the updates and specific announcements:

  1. Ensuing sufficient rooms at hotel

One of the questions on the survey was how many double-double rooms (i.e. rooms that can accommodate 3 or 4 people) you and your team need at the hotel. Of all the questions on the survey, this one is currently the most important. The hotel has approximately 350 double rooms, and 250 king rooms that were available for being booked. From what I have heard, the call center people on the reservations were not always clear regarding guaranteeing double-double rooms. We are trying to be proactive here and ensure that everyone gets double-double rooms who needs them (if there ends up being an overbooking situation of double-double rooms, we will be able to put a number of people in NHBB rooms that I have personally booked, or otherwise secure some rollaway beds). If you/your group is staying even partially at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, it will help us tremendously if you can fill out the survey asap (by 11am tomorrow at the latest, as I’m meeting with the hotel management then), even if just for this one question, if you haven’t yet done so. 

  1. Filling out survey – Please do so here asap if you haven’t yet!

Aside from the hotel question, everything else on the survey is very important too, especially the following:

  1. We need to know asap whether the students who signed up for the sports or entertainment bees are doing sports or entertainment.
  2. We need to know who is a small school by our definition (Our small school definition is (taken from defined as a non-magnet, non-selective public school with 1000 or fewer students in 9-12 or 800 in 10-12. For middle schools, fewer than 800 in any 3 grades is sufficient
  3. If you have anyone competing in the Bee play in game (for anyone who hasn’t qualified in the Bee, would like to play on Sunday, and hasn’t yet played both B and A Set), they need to be registered through the survey. The play in game is free – you need to be at the hotel by 8pm to compete.

    3. Confirming Event Participation – Adding Grades

As far as I know, everything in the attached file that shows all registrations on the main page and specific competing students on the other tabs is up to date with all the changes people have sent me adjusted as needed. However, please double check once more if everything is correct, especially regarding the number of teams and their divisions in the History Bowl! The Teams Coming to Nationals Page has also been updated to reflect all changes – check there for your Bowl teams too. We can adjust for individual events still if needed, but the Bowl is effectively locked in, and extremely difficult to adjust.

Note also that for many students, their grades in school are missing on the tabs where the individual events are listed. Please check each individual event page for those as well.
Please then email me at asap any remaining changes and grades for those students missing them asap so I can adjust accordingly!

  1. An important announcement for US Geography Olympiad Participants!

Everyone who is in the US Geography Olympiad should not only confirm they are listed, but please email me asap if you are not in the right division! For USGO ONLY, the criteria is:

Born on or after July 1, 2000 – JV

Born before July 1, 2000 – Varsity

There are no exceptions to this. It has nothing to do with your grade in school! Each year, we get 9th and 10th graders who are in the wrong division for USGO. Don’t have your scores ruled ineligible! Just simply double check the USGO tab at the bottom of the attached spreadsheet, and let me know if you are in the wrong division (or not listed), based on the criteria.

  1. Buzzers! 

I apologize for the fact that on the first email, many buzzer totals that teams were signed up to bring were listed incorrectly. They have all been adjusted here on the spreadsheet – please double check to make sure the number of buzzers for your school/team is correct! Each buzzer must have a minimum of 8 separate buzzers and function effectively. Please email me at asap if you are not bringing your stated number of buzzers! We are counting on you to bring them if you had registered them!

  1. Varsity History Bowl – Format Change

Because of a number of teams dropping last minute, the Varsity History Bowl field is now confirmed to be 162 teams. To advance in the Varsity division out of the morning rounds, you must finish either first or second in your group. All 1st and 2nd place teams will advance; no 3rd place teams in the Varsity division will! In the event of a 4-1, 4-1, 4-1 split among the top 3 teams in a morning group, the bottom two on points will play a 8 question power marked tiebreak, with the winner becoming the 2nd place team regardless of prelim pts otherwise. The top team on points remains the group winner without a tiebreak. If 2 teams are tied for first both at 4-1 and on points, then a sudden death tiebreak is played (if all 3 are tied at pts and at 4-1, round robin sudden death tiebreaks are played among 3 teams, until one goes 2-0).

  1. / Contacting Us

With the sole exceptions of adjustments to the number of participants in an event, the number of buzzers you’re bringing, age division switches, letting me know the grades of your students, or responding to specific personal emails I have sent you, effective immediately, all Nationals related questions should be directed to We are checking this email very frequently, and will respond very quickly to all inquiries directed here.

For phone inquiries, we will send you a number in the Thursday email, though note that a) we always respond much quicker to emails and b) I do not currently have access to my usual number of 201 661 3524, so please do not call that, text that, or leave messages there – they will not be responded to.

  1. Staff

If you are staffing, an extended staff email will go out tomorrow. Official room assignments for each competition will be given at Staff Check In (separate from team check in).

  1. Press Release

A press release for forwarding to local media, school newspapers, family members, etc. is attached to this email. Press inquiries should likewise be directed to

  1. Buzzer Sales

We have 15 new buzzer systems that we have ordered from Anderson, that we are selling for the discounted price of $175. Otherwise, with shipping, an Anderson system costs $230-$250 or so, so this is a great way to get a new system if you want one. Buzzers can be paid for by cash or check at the help desk; email if you’re interested in reserving one – first come, first served. They can be picked up any time after 8pm Saturday. Limit 2 per school.

  1. Souvenirs

We will once again be selling souvenirs so please bring some pocket money if you’d like a commemoration of your time competing at Nationals!

  1. Homeschools

With an increasing number of homeschool teams, we will be awarding a plaque to the top homeschool team in both Varsity and JV. This will function like the top middle school / solo team plaques (i.e. a separate playoff will not be played, unlike for small school). Please note: homeschool teams are NOT eligible for small school awards, because that, by definition, is for schools. Hence, our decision to have a separate award for homeschool teams.

  1. Refunds

Again, to clarify, at this point, no refunds are possible for students who henceforth drop out of individual events, or teams who drop out of the Bowl, as it’s a major inconvenience for us, now that the draws are being set.

Safe travels, and I’ll be in touch on Thursday with Email #3.