Dear National History Bee & Bowl, US History Bee, & US Geography Olympiad National Championships Participants!

Thank you for signing up for the 2015 National History Bee & Bowl / US History Bee / US Geography Olympiad National Championships! We’re two weeks away from the big weekend in Washington, DC and Arlington, VA on April 24-26, and I wanted to check in with a number of updates on various matters. We’re expecting a record total of 246 or 252 teams in action, so your cooperation in making sure you understand how the tournament works is greatly appreciated! Including the Lorenz Cup, (see below), there are no fewer than 6 events that constitute Nationals, so it is vital that you read this email through carefully. Please also review the general Nationals information here and if you are curious to see which teams are competing at Nationals click here.

A number of the points which are listed below require some degree of response from you, so when you are able to, please fill out the pre-tournament survey here which will help us keep track of your interest in various aspects of Nationals weekend.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact me at this email address, and I will do my best to respond quickly. Also, though it is not part of the survey, please email me if there are any other people you know who should be getting Nationals updates from your school/team/for your student. Please forward this email on to them, and let me know their name and email, so they can receive subsequent emails.

In no particular order, here are a bunch of important updates. Note that depending on which events you or your students are competing in, not all of this may apply to you directly.:

  1. National History Bowl – Waiting List, Filler, and Standby Teams / Rosters / Where to Report

Because of the way the National Championships is structured (more on specifics here next week once the draw is set), we need to have a multiple of 6 teams in each division (i.e. Varsity and JV). The Varsity field will likely be either 156 or 162 teams; the JV field looks to be at 90.

If you wish to enter an additional team into the draw in either division as a filler team (so that we can get a multiple of 6 as needed), please let me know. Priority is given to schools who didn’t qualify any team but competed at regionals, followed by those who competed at regionals with multiple teams who didn’t qualify all of them, followed by others who competed at regionals but qualified all their teams, followed by schools who didn’t compete at regionals at all. Filler teams pay the standard pricing.

Once we get our multiples of 6, we will then look for standby teams to enter the draw if a team drops at any point up until Saturday morning. Standby teams need to be able to be within 10 miles of Arlington, VA on Saturday, April 25 at 8am. Standby teams are given variable pricing depending on NHBB’s needs to fill the draw – these are worked out on a case by case basis with me.

A number of people have also been emailing me regarding changes to their rosters. We only need to know this when you check in at the Crystal Gateway Marriott on Friday, April 24 (more information on check in will follow in the next email), so please don’t worry about roster changes, or email me with information on this before then. Remember, there’s no need for students to have competed at regionals before they compete at Nationals – the only important rules are that JV teams must be all 10th graders and younger, no student can switch their affiliation once the official rosters have been submitted at check-in, and that teams at Nationals are not limited to a certain number of players (unlike at Regionals) so you can theoretically have 20 students on a team or whatever though of course only up to 4 play at once.

Finally, we have started to get questions in terms of where to report specifically for the Bowl. This will be conveyed in a subsequent email once the draw has been set, but all History Bowl teams should plan on being at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington by 7:45am on Saturday, April 25! Some teams may need to report slightly later, but being there early is a good thing. Check in is required the night before unless you have cleared that with us first. There is a space on the survey to indicate you are requesting a Saturday morning check in.

  1. National History Bee – Registration closes at 11:59pm EDT on Mon 4/13!

The National History Bee National Championships is still open for registrations through Monday evening! Please sign up here as soon as you can if you haven’t yet done so. It may be possible to still register on Tuesday or Wednesday (email me if you need an extension), but please sign up on Monday if at all possible. Please check here to see who qualified (you’ll need to click through on each event to see the full list of qualifiers; it’s not just the two winners listed for each tournament!). Don’t forget to sign up for the Consolation Bee too for any interested students who will be at Nationals already and would like to play, but who didn’t qualify or compete at Regionals. The Consolation Bee is open only to students who didn’t qualify. Everyone who is competing in the National History Bee needs to plan on being in their Round 1 room by 7:45am on Sunday, April 26. Room assignments will be conveyed to participants in a subsequent email. There is no official check in for the National History Bee.

  1. US Geography Olympiad – Registration closes at 11:59pm EDT on Mon 4/13!

The US Geography Olympiad’s registration will close at the same time as the National History Bee on Monday. Please sign up here if you haven’t yet. It may be possible to still register on Tuesday or Wednesday (email me if you need an extension), but please sign up on Monday if at all possible Please check here as well as the attached list of National Qualifying Quiz Tournament Qualifiers to see who qualified from your school – check with me if you have any questions.. Everyone who is competing in the US Geography Olympiad needs to plan on being in their Exam room by 12:45 on Friday, April 24. Room assignments will be conveyed to participants in a subsequent email. There is no official check in for the US Geography Olympiad.

  1. United States History Bee – Registration closes at 11:59pm EDT on Mon 4/13!

Not to be confused with the National History Bee, the US History Bee will take place on Friday, April 24 during the day at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. Please sign up here if you haven’t yet. It may be possible to still register on Tuesday or Wednesday (email me if you need an extension),, but please sign up on Monday if at all possible. Please see the attached list of Qualifiers to see who qualified from your school – check with me if you have any questions. Everyone who is competing in the US History Bee needs to plan on being in their Round 1 room by 7:45am on Friday, April 24. Room assignments will be conveyed to participants in a subsequent email. There is no official check in for the US History Bee.

  1. Lorenz Cup / Regionals Questions

If you are arriving by mid-Thursday afternoon at Nationals, and have not yet played our A Set of questions, you are welcome to compete in the Lorenz Cup, which is basically an A Set Bowl only regional tournament (though you cannot qualify for Nationals off of it, since we need to set the draw earlier). Note that sign up for this is on the Regionals page at: and that it costs $75 per team of 3-6, $50 per team of 2, and $25 per team of 1. It is not necessary to provide a reader. See here for details: If you played the A Set as a team, but have students who are coming to Nationals who did not play the A set, they are welcome to register too. Teams of students attending multiple schools, however, are not permitted.

All proceeds from the Lorenz Cup will be split evenly between the American Cancer Society, AFS Intercultural Programs (if a student(s) at Nationals wishes to be an AFS Exchange Student as I myself was for 6 months while a senior in high school in Vienna, the amount for AFS will go to their registration fees) and the Fisher House Foundation, a charity providing services for wounded veterans and their families.

Sign up for the Lorenz Cup will remain open through 11:59pm on April 22 – same day registration may be possible, but do not count on it. If you don’t pay in advance, it is possible to pay in cash at the Lorenz Cup opening meeting (exact location TBD)

  1. National Sports and Entertainment History Bee

The Sports and Entertainment History Bee is back again this year on Friday evening at Nationals from 8-10:30pm. It consists of 3 rounds of 30 questions followed by a final round for the top 10 students in both the Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions. Please sign up here if you haven’t yet and are interested or have students who are. It MAY be possible to register for the Sports and Entertainment Bee on a limited basis at Nationals, but we request that you sign up as soon as you know that students are competing in it. We will in any event leave sign ups open for the Sports and Entertainment Bee open through 10pm Thursday evening on April 23 for certain. If you didn’t include payment for the Sports and Entertainment Bee in the Nationals check, you can pay in cash ($20 per student) at Nationals.

Note that all students at Nationals (and even those who are there just to watch) are welcome to compete – no qualification is necessary. However, if students are also competing in the US Geography Olympiad Quizbowl tournament and make the final rounds, they will be required to compete in that and forego the Sports and Entertainment Bee, if they sign up for both. We can process a refund if needed here.

A distribution for the Sports and Entertainment Bee will be posted to the Nationals tab on the menu bar at this coming week.

  1. Payments – Clarifying Due Dates

The official payment due date is to have checks in to our address (see below) by April 20. We have said that late fees accrue at a rate of $25 per day. However, we will not impose penalty fees as long as your check is in the PO Box in Tenafly by April 27. So you have a week of a grace period. No one will be turned away at Nationals for lack of payment.

Payments for the National History Bee, National History Bowl and US Geography Olympiad all need to be sent to:

NHBB / USGO Nationals

PO Box 875

Tenafly, NJ 07670

with NHBB (including Sports & Entertainment History Bee & US History Bee) payments made out to “National History Bee and Bowl” and USGO payments made out to “US Geography Olympiad”. Bee and Bowl payments may be combined, but USGO payments must be separate. Please indicate on a note with the check exactly whom the payments are for.

  1. Scrimmage Matches

Scrimmage matches will run from 2pm-6pm on Friday. Each team playing a scrimmage match must pay $10 in cash at the scrimmage desk. The entire A Set and B Set and Rounds 9 and 10 of C Set will be available for scrimmages. Pending staff availability, we may open the scrimmage desk earlier, and reopen it on Friday evening after the Opening Ceremonies. There is no need to sign up in advance; just come to the scrimmage desk (at the top of the escalator in the lobby), and we’ll match you up with a team. Or you can come together if you want to play a particular team. Or you can scrimmage yourself. Scrimmages are open to anyone; including those not playing in the Bowl. It’s also possible to scrimmage as a group of students from different schools – you don’t need to all be on the same team.

  1. Small School Eligibility

If your team is eligible to compete for our Small School National Championship titles, you need to indicate this on the survey. 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.

  1. Prizes
    With the exception of the US Geography Olympiad, the Lorenz Cup, and the Sports & Entertainment History Bee, prizes at Nationals this year largely consist of discounted or free admission to the inaugural International History Olympiad this summer. Of course we will also have plaques, trophies, and medals (and the eponymous History Bowls) to win as well. A list of prizes can be found here:
  2. Large Number of Spectators
    On the survey, we are asking teams to list how many spectators they anticipate bringing.
    Certain rooms have more spectator capacity than others, so this will help us facilitate room assignments if you are bringing a large group with you to watch your team’s matches. All matches are open to the general public to the extent that space is available, though in practice, it’s very rare for anyone to watch preliminary matches (through Saturday afternoon) who is not affiliated with either team in some capacity (parent, coach, substitute player, etc.)
  3. Arrival at the Hotel / Parking
    On the survey, we will ask you to provide your method of transit to Nationals, and what time you expect to arrive.
    We will not hold you to this though – it’s more to try and help you if you run into trouble. See here for further details on how to reach the hotel:
    If you are flying into Reagan National Airport, there is a free shuttle to the hotel – it’s about 5 minutes away.
    If you are taking the train, you can use the Metro (the DC subway) to reach the hotel. Get off at the Crystal City station – it’s a 5-10 minute walk from there.
    Parking is available free of charge in the garages at the Crystal City underground complex after 5pm on Friday through Sunday evening. You can leave a car there overnight. Otherwise, you can park at the hotel, though it costs $27 a day.
  4. Rooms at the Hotel

At this point, hopefully hotel rooms have been booked. If you still need help with your booking at this point, contact me and I will sort things out. Since the official group rate has now expired, this will be more helpful than going through the hotel directly.

  1. Buzzers and Staff

If you signed up to bring buzzers, and/or staff the tournament, please note that we are counting on you to do this! Our buzzer czars will be in touch with you regarding further reminders, but if you know you signed up systems you won’t be able to bring, please let me know asap. Likewise, if you signed up to staff, but won’t be able to, I need to know that asap too. Our Staff Director Will Mantell will be in touch with further information on staffing, including mandatory staff meetings.

  1. Requests on Playing at the Hotel (or not…)

The National History Bowl National Championships is a unique event which takes place both at a host hotel, and at several sites in Washington, DC. This year, most matches will either take place at the Crystal Gateway Marriott or at the Residence Inn Capital View. Teams who play their morning History Bowl matches at the Residence Inn will also play their afternoon matches there. The Residence Inn is a 15-20 minute walk from the Crystal Gateway Marriott – there is also a shuttle available from the hotel, though this has very limited space. If someone on your team has limited mobility, and thus it is important for you to play all your matches at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, you can indicate this on the survey.

If you have a strong preference to either a) play all your games at the hotel or b) ensure that you will get a chance to play at a site of historic or cultural importance (though note that Varsity upper bracket teams will be at the hotel no matter what all day), then please indicate this on the survey.

  1. NHBB TV

We will once again be covering the tournament through our online Youtube channel which will feature coverage of selected matches as well as tournament reports and interviews with students. If your students are interested in being interviewed for NHBB TV while at Nationals, please indicate this on the survey. While we call it NHBB TV,  students coming for the US History Bee and/or the US Geography Olympiad are welcome to do interviews as well.

  1. Dress Code

This always gets asked about. In contrast with some academic competitions, the wider world of quiz bowl (of which NHBB/USGO is certainly a part) is casual. You are welcome to wear t-shirts and jeans at all times, though if you would like to dress up, feel free (there are always many teams who do, so you won’t look out of place if you go that route). Basically, wear whatever will give you the greatest confidence in your matches.

  1. International History Olympiad Qualifying

As a reminder, if your history bowl team finishes in the top half of your morning bracket (i.e. in the top 3 of 6 teams), or if a student finishes in the top half of the National History Bee, or makes the playoffs for the US History Bee, they will qualify for both the 2015 and 2016 International History Olympiad. Expect much more information at Nationals on how this will all work.

  1. Birthdays

If you or anyone on your team has a birthday while at Nationals (from April 23-26 as long as whoever’s celebrating is physically present), let us know and our staff will show up with a small gift. This is an item to indicate on the survey.

  1. Opening Ceremonies

This year our Opening Ceremonies on Friday evening (yes, we know that quite a few events take place before then) will last somewhat longer than in prior years, as we will not have the entirety of the US Geography Olympiad Quizbowl tournament to run through afterwards (just the playoffs). At our Opening Ceremonies this year, we are also honored to have as our official keynote speaker, Brigadier General George Price, US Air Force (Ret.) who served during the Vietnam War. Brigadier General Price will offer some remarks and have time for some questions and answers as well. The Opening Ceremonies will also feature a review of our season, recognition of several outstanding coaches and staffers, and the final match of the US History Bee Varsity Division. Attendance at the Opening Ceremonies is by no means mandatory, but we have a great program in store and hope that you will be able to join us. Doors will open to the Opening Ceremonies at 6:00pm while the program will begin at 7pm and run until 8pm.

  1. Slideshow

If your students won awards at regionals, and would like to be included in our Nationals slideshow showcasing teams from around the country, email photos of your students with their awards to We’ll run the slideshow before the Opening Ceremonies, and at various points during Nationals weekend.

  1. Food / Dining

Some people have asked if the Nationals price includes food – the answer is no, but we do have a reception with food and drinks for coaches and parents on Friday evening just after the Opening Ceremonies until 10:30pm, and then again for anyone staffing on Saturday evening from 7:30-11:00. Additional emails will contain recommendations for food options at various points during the weekend.

  1. Practice/Sample Questions

This year’s C Set will be posted to our website in the next day or two (we’ll post a news update on where to find it, but look here: ) The USGO and USHB exams (all of them) will be posted to the USHB and USGO websites by Friday, along with some new sample USGO questions. B Set and A Set will be available for scrimmaging, but not for practice online, since we need these sets internationally in the coming weeks. Likewise, the Nationals set will be posted online but not until mid-June after our Asian Championships.

  1. Special Requests / Suggestions / Next Emails…

If you have any special requests for the weekend, please let us know on the survey, and we’ll do our best to accommodate them. Also, particularly if you have been to Nationals before, but even if this is your first time, we welcome your suggestions and feedback. If you have any words of advice, please let us know as we prepare for our largest tournament ever. We have a great team of experienced staff working to give you and your team a great experience, and hope that you’re getting as excited as we are! Expect another general update around Thursday or Friday of this coming week, though if you are on staff, you may hear from us earlier.

Also, if you have other people from your teams who should be receiving these emails (particularly, say, if you signed up your team, but someone else will be bringing them to Nationals), please let me know their name and email too so I can include them on our list.


Thanks for reading through, and I look forward to seeing you and your students soon!
Best regards,

David Madden