2017 High School National Championship Tournament

NAQT is pleased to announce that its 2017 High School National Championship Tournament will be held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel in Atlanta, GA, on May 26–28, 2017.

Note that NAQT also runs a Small School National Championship Tournament for small high schools. Please make sure you are looking at information for the proper tournament; this page concerns the HSNCT, which is NAQT’s overall championship for all high schools. (Small schools are welcome to attend the HSNCT, even if they also attend the SSNCT!)

Waitlist registration is now open, as the field is full.


May 26–28, 2017 (Friday–Sunday). This is Memorial Day weekend.

Teams will check in on Friday, May 26, and have the opportunity to meet each other and play scrimmage matches on official NAQT questions. The tournament’s preliminary games will take place on Saturday, and its playoff games will take place on Sunday. Teams may stay through Monday (or longer!) to explore Atlanta at the discounted hotel rates negotiated by NAQT. Teams that cannot arrive on Friday night will have a chance to check in on Saturday morning (if they notify NAQT of the situation in advance).


The Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. This building is the official guest-room hotel, and it also contains all of the competition rooms.


This schedule is tentative.

Friday (evening)
1:00–5:00Early Buzzer Bonus intakeTBA
5:00 (or upon arrival)Staff check-inTBA
6:00–9:30Team check-inTBA
6:00–9:30Scrimmage organizationTBA
7:00–8:00Late-arrival team check-inTBA
7:30Late-arrival staff check-inTBA
7:40All staff check-inTBA
8:00–8:15Players’ and coaches’ meetingTBA
8:00–8:45Staff meetingTBA
9:00–12:30Rounds 1–7Meeting rooms and parlors
12:30–2:00Lunch (not provided)
2:00–7:00Rounds 8–16Meeting rooms and parlors
7:00Playoff pairings postedInformation Desk (TBA)
7:00–8:15Card pick-up (all playoff teams)Information Desk (TBA)
8:00–8:30Playoff staff meetingTBA
8:00–8:30Consolation staff meetingTBA
8:30–12:00Rounds 17–22Meeting rooms
8:30–8:45Consolation mini-tournament launchTBA
9:45–12:00Ad-hoc consolation organizationTBA
12:00–1:00Lunch (not provided)
1:00Team buzzer return beginsTBA
1:00Question distribution beginsTBA
1:00–2:20Rounds 23–24Meeting rooms
2:20Finals (1 or 2 games)TBA
After finalsAwardsTBA
5:00–11:00ACRONYM check-in/meetingTBA

Information Desk:

Starting Friday evening, NAQT will operate an Information Desk. The Information Desk will be in contact with all control rooms and the stat room throughout the day. The Information Desk should be the first place teams go with any question about the tournament. NAQT will also be selling practice questions and tournament T-shirts at the Information Desk.

Participants may also text 213‑279‑6278 (“NAQT”) with questions if it is inconvenient for them to get to the Information Desk (standard messaging rates apply). Tournament staff will answer incoming messages as quickly as they can. This number is only for text messages, not calls. Call 1‑888‑411‑6278 (“NAQT”) to speak to a member of tournament staff.

Note that one question the Information Desk cannot (easily) help with is “Where is my team currently playing?” As a result of the power-matched format, NAQT cannot quickly locate teams during the day faster than calling or texting the mobile number provided for the chaperone. We will, of course, do our utmost to find lost teams (or lost players), but it won’t be a quick process (and probably no quicker than just calling the chaperone directly).


Schools qualify to send teams to the HSNCT through their performance at tournaments using NAQT questions that are held throughout the year.

Qualified teams may now register for the waitlist, as the field is full.

Teams that have not yet qualified may request wildcard invitations, although they should note that the field is currently full.

Teams that don’t qualify for the HSNCT (either via an automatic invitation or by wildcard) may register to attend the tournament on a standby basis. Qualified teams may also attend on a standby basis.


The field for the tournament is limited to 304 teams.

Online registration has opened; the current field is listed here.


The precise format will be determined by the final size of the field. Teams are guaranteed ten preliminary matches on Saturday. The playoffs will take place on Sunday. The format will likely be similar to last year’s in which all teams played 10 preliminary games (over the course of 16 rounds) on Saturday and every team with a winning record advanced to elimination (10 rounds) playoffs on Sunday.


The 304-team field is now full. NAQT will continue to accept registrations for the waitlist and will notify them promptly if a spot opens up. Please feel free to contact NAQT for more information about the likelihood of a waitlisted team making it into the field.

The registration fee is $675 per team if payment is received on or before May 5, 2017. The fee is $695 per team on or after May 6. Schools that did not qualify until after April 1 have until May 12 to register at the lower rate. The deadline to accept an invitation is May 19, or when the field fills, whichever comes first.

The field has historically filled; qualifying for the tournament does not guarantee a spot in the field, it merely enables your team to register for one of the spots. Once you have qualified, you should register as soon as you can to ensure your team a berth in the tournament. The field for the 2016 HSNCT filled around March 1 (though a number of teams were promoted from the waitlist after that).

One week after the field closes (and the waitlist starts), teams that withdraw from the tournament will be liable for 50% of the base registration fee as a cancellation penalty. In addition, even if the field has not closed, teams that cancel on or after April 15 will be liable for one-tenth of the base registration fee; teams that cancel on or after May 1 will be liable for one-half of the base registration fee; and teams that cancel on or after May 20 will be liable for 75% of the base registration fee. Those deadlines notwithstanding, every team will have a one-week grace period from the time of its registration during which it may cancel with no penalty.

The registration fee only covers participation in the tournament. It does not cover transportation, lodging, food, or other expenses.

Teams bringing a working lockout system to the tournament will be eligible for a $20 discount on the registration fee if it meets NAQT’s national-championship standards. There may be some surprises in that policy! Please read it in advance to make sure your system qualifies. Each team may claim up to two such discounts. NAQT will only award the discount for lockout systems that it can keep from check-in until 1:00 p.m. Sunday. If a team anticipates leaving before that, we would prefer to use (and discount) a different system to avoid inconveniencing that team and ourselves.

NAQT will also be paying a $20 cash “Early Buzzer Bonus” for every buzzer system dropped off between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Friday. It is valuable for us to get buzzers early (so we can test them and have them ready for scrimmage rounds), and we are willing to pay for that. A team can thus get a total of $40 for each of its buzzers ($20 discount, $20 Early Buzzer Bonus), assuming it lists them on its registration form and drops them off between 1:00 and 5:00 on Friday. The bonus will be paid immediately, in cash, to whomever drops the buzzer off.

NAQT will begin returning team lockout systems at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday (and not before, except in emergencies). As mentioned above, this might make it impractical for teams planning to leave as soon as they are eliminated to receive lockout-system discounts (as their systems will not have been returned at that point). Teams should plan on picking up their systems prior to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. If a team is unable to do that, it should make prior arrangements with NAQT for the disposition of the system.

Teams attending both the HSNCT and the SSNCT will receive a $100 discount on their HSNCT entrance fee.

Teams may supply one or more qualified staffers for the tournament to earn discounts on their registration fees. Teams will receive a $50 discount for each staffer on Saturday and a $50 discount for each staffer on Sunday (for a total of $100 if the staffer works both days). Team staffers may be assigned as scorekeepers, control room staff, scoresheet checkers, or other roles at NAQT’s discretion; they will not have a chance to watch their team’s matches. The transportation, lodging, and all other expenses of team-supplied staffers will be borne by the team, not by NAQT. In addition, a team claiming this discount must still have at least one adult coach/chaperone with each team at all matches.

All team staffers must complete a short online training course (approximately 1 hour) provided by NAQT to receive the discount. This training must be completed by May 12 to receive the discount. Staffers that fail the training will be able to take it again; staffers that do not complete the training will lose their school’s discount (and potentially be subject to the staffer cancellation penalty). Team staffers who feel that the training requirement should be waived for them should e-mail hsnct@naqt.com with that request.

In addition to the above “trained” positions, NAQT needs a limited number of untrained “runners.” These positions are Saturday-only, and they will earn their team a $50 discount. Runner positions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Teams wishing to supply a runner must make this request on their registration and receive confirmation from NAQT; otherwise, all registered staff members must complete the online training to receive the discount.

Teams cannot “split” a single staff discount across two people: Each daily staff discount must be earned by a single staffer. (But it is perfectly fine to have one person earn a discount for working (all of) Saturday and another person earn a discount for working (all of) Sunday.)

The last day for a team to declare that it is bringing a staffer to the HSNCT is April 10. Team staffers suggested after that date may be accepted or rejected at NAQT’s discretion.

Teams that cancel a staffer (of any kind) after April 24, will not only forfeit the discount, but will be charged a $75 penalty to offset NAQT’s cost for finding a replacement.

In addition to earning discounts by bringing staffers to the HSNCT itself, schools may earn discounts on their HSNCT registration by staffing NAQT’s other national championships: the CCCT (Minneapolis), ICT (Chicago), SSNCT (Chicago), and MSNCT (Dallas) according to our cross-tournament discount program.

The registration fee includes the right for each team to pick up most of the competition set to use as practice material in future years. Teams can pick up their copies of the first 22 packets of the competition set starting at 1:00 p.m. at the Information Desk. Teams that want the remaining packets can pay $5 to have them shipped after the tournament completes. Teams that don’t pick up packets on-site can pay $10 to have the entire set shipped. At previous championships, no packets were available until after the final match had been completed; NAQT hopes that most teams will be able to pick up the bulk of their questions before leaving the tournament site.

Team rosters may be changed at any time prior to the start of the HSNCT, so it is neither necessary nor desirable to wait to register until a team’s composition has been definitively decided. Register as soon as possible and, if necessary, update the registration when the composition of a team changes.

Checking In:

NAQT will be checking teams in, disbursing information folders, answering questions, and handling outstanding administrative matters between 6:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Friday, May 26. After teams arrive at the hotel on Friday night, one coach or chaperone should go to the check-in area. That representative will be given the team’s information folder. Team members are encouraged to take advantage of the social and practice opportunities on Friday night.

Check-in will start at 6:00. Historically, there is a long line just after the check-in desk opens, so we encourage chaperones to glance at the line every 20-30 minutes and to come (without their team!) to check in when it is short. There is no good reason to check in immediately! In particular, teams can play scrimmage rounds even if they have not checked in. There is no problem with a team arriving at the hotel at 6:40, playing a scrimmage game, grabbing dinner, playing another scrimmage game, and then checking in at 9:10 when there is nobody in line.

Remember that NAQT is paying an additional “Early Buzzer Bonus” of $20 for lockout systems that are dropped off between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. Regardless of when you choose to check in, please consider dropping off your systems during this window to earn yourself a little extra cash and to help us make sure we have everything ready for scrimmages to begin at 6:00.

Teams that don’t arrive at the hotel until after 9:30 p.m. on Friday may check in between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. on Saturday. Teams that checked in on Friday do not need to check in again on Saturday.


Between 6:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Friday night, game rooms will be set up for teams to scrimmage against each other on questions from previous championships. This scrimmaging is free and will be moderated by tournament staff. We encourage all teams to come by to play a practice game or two.

Scrimmages will be organized by means of “scrimmage tickets”: When a team shows up to the scrimmage desk, it will be given a ticket listing a room and a time; that team should go to that room and be prepared to play at that time. The majority of tickets will be for games that start within 5-15 minutes, but it is possible that there could be a 30-45-minute wait during the busiest periods. If a team wants to play another match, it should return to the scrimmage desk to get another ticket after its game finishes.

Scrimmages are open to all players, including alternates and standby teams. Ineligible players (e.g., parents or coaches) may compete if both teams are amenable to their participation, but the purpose of the scrimmages is to let actual teams experience actual tournament conditions. A more appropriate time for parents and coaches to partake of quiz bowl is during the Sunday consolation rounds.


The exact list of trophies and awards has not yet been announced, but it will be similar to last year’s list, when the top 33 teams received team trophies and the top 30 All-Stars received individual awards.

Players must have at least 160 tossups heard (approximately six games' worth) to be eligible for individual awards.

If a team needs to leave prior to the award ceremony, it can pick up All-Star or Rising Star awards earned by its members at the Information Desk.

Consolation Rounds:

Teams that do not qualify for the playoffs are encouraged to return on Sunday to play against any other teams they want (or to mix-and-match from across the country) on the playoff questions. These consolation rounds will be moderated by tournament staff. Please note that all students, even alternates or observers, are welcome to take part. Teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs may also take part.

Two kinds of consolation rounds will be offered:

  • Mini-tournaments. These will be three-, four-, or five-round power-matched events that run relatively efficiently, but they involve a commitment to stay for all of the rounds. Teams can sign up for these starting Saturday evening. Teams can also sign up Sunday morning, but the berths will be first-come, first-served, so teams that really care about getting a spot in one of the larger events should make a point of signing up on Saturday evening.

  • Ad hoc matches. These involve no commitment, but they will take longer to organize as available teams will be manually paired against each other as rooms, packets, and readers become available. If you only want one or two additional games, you want to go for this option. Teams may also play ad hoc matches after they are eliminated from the playoffs or after their mini-tournament finishes.

If rooms, buzzers, or staffers run short, consolation mini-tournaments will be given priority over ad hoc matches.

The consolation rounds (whether mini-tournaments or not) have no effect on a team’s overall standing in the tournament. They are played solely for fun.

ACRONYM Popular Culture Side Event:

Because the contract with the hotel included use of the meeting rooms on Sunday night, NAQT has arranged with Play Quiz Bowl's Erik Nelson to host a mirror of its ACRONYM popular culture tournament as a “side event” on Sunday evening. This event is not part of the official championship and is entirely optional.

The mirror is open to all people at the national championship including players, coaches, parents, and staffers (assuming they haven't played the ACRONYM X question set at a prior tournament!). People affiliated with schools may mix-and-match to form chimera teams. There is a separate registration fee ($90) for the ACRONYM mirror. Most side events have a lenient registration policy that allows teams to sign up immediately prior to an event’s start, but NAQT suspects that the ACRONYM field will fill (and thus encourages teams to register as soon as they can commit).

The tournament will have two divisions, one for teams composed entirely of high schoolers and another that is open to all competitors (of any age).

More information about the side event has been posted on hsquizbowl.org and questions can be directed to Erik Nelson.

Registration for ACRONYM is now open. If you are registering a mixed team or a team that wants to play under a nonstandard name, you may need to create a new organization, affiliate yourself with it as a Coach, and then register under its name.


Teams should fly into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (airport code ATL).

The hotel does not have an airport shuttle. Teams will need to take the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) (recommended), a taxi, or use a commercial shuttle service.


The official hotel for the tournament is the Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel. Quadruple-occupancy rooms (with two double beds) are available for $109 per night. To receive that rate, book online or mention “NAQT” when making a reservation over the phone. The last day to reserve rooms at this special price is May 15. Note that there are several Marriott hotels in the Atlanta area: Make sure you are reserving rooms at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta!

We have a room block that is calculated to cover the entire tournament, but it can’t hurt for our attendees to make their reservations at the earliest possible moment.

Parking is $16/day and includes in-and-out privileges. Teams traveling to the tournament in buses should contact the hotel in advance to discuss parking options.

As part of the contract negotiated by NAQT, the hotel will offer complimentary guest room Internet access to tournament participants and their families. This only applies to rooms booked using the NAQT group code.

Atlanta Marriott Marquis
265 Peachtree Center Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30303
Telephone: +1-404-521-0000
Fax: +1-404-586-6128

Food Options:

The Atlanta Marriott Marquis is connected by a skyway to a 60-restaurant food court at which any kind of inexpensive food (sandwiches, Thai, pizza, Chinese, cheesesteaks, etc.) may be obtained. There are also additional restaurants in the hotel itself and within walking distance that should satisfy any combination of appetite and price range.

Airport Transportation:

The hotel does not operate a shuttle (complimentary or otherwise) to the airport.

NAQT recommends that teams take the MARTA train to reach the tournament. Teams can catch either the red or gold line (it doesn’t matter which) at the airport and get off at the Peachtree Center. This is a 20-minute trip that costs $6 per person round trip (technically, $1 for a reusable MARTA card, $5 for the round trip). From the Peachtree Center it is a two-minute, indoor walk through the food court to the Marriott Marquis. NAQT’s members have ridden MARTA and found it to be safe and convenient; there are also taxi and shuttle options, but MARTA will probably be the easiest and cheapest way to travel.


The Atlanta Marriott Marquis is downtown and within walking distance (10-15 minutes) of Atlanta’s major attractions including the Georgia Aquarium, the High Museum, Centennial Olympic Park, and the World of Coca-Cola.

Social Media

The official hashtag for the tournament is #hsnct; please use this tag for all messages about the tournament.

Remember that question content for the championship cannot be posted online (or shared through other channels)! This means that team members, coaches, spectators, and moderators should not discuss clues, answers, or even overall themes (e.g., "Lots of opera") with people on other teams (even those from the same school).

Relationship to the SSNCT:

Small schools remain eligible and welcome to attend the HSNCT, but the HSNCT will no longer name a Top Small School as it did prior to 2014. The SSNCT and HSNCT will use different question sets, and a school that attends both will receive a $100 discount on its HSNCT registration fee.

Practice Questions:

Teams that have been invited to compete at the 2017 High School National Championship Tournament may be interested in purchasing the questions from previous years to prepare for the event. All 156 of NAQT’s past regular-season sets are available, as are the sets from all 18 past national championships.

Teams may also want to purchase frequency list or Power Up study guides from NAQT. These are also available on our practice questions page.

Finally, teams may wish to look at the information contained in NAQT’s free You Gotta Know articles before the tournament. These detail important topics in a wide variety of areas.


Registration fees and discounts are listed above. Make checks payable to “NAQT” and send them to Chad Kubicek, 11521 W 69th Street, Shawnee, KS 66203. If you wish to pay by credit card, call us at 1‑888‑411‑6278 (“NAQT”).

Further Questions:

To ask specific questions about the HSNCT, please contact us…

  • by e-mail at hsnct@naqt.com
  • by phone at 1‑888‑411‑6278 (“NAQT”)
  • by fax at 1‑413‑473‑1617
  • by postal mail at:
    11521 W 69th Street
    Shawnee, KS 66203

We look forward to answering any and all questions, no matter how expansive or trivial, in the hopes of eliminating any possible confusion or mistakes in teams’ plans. If something’s not clear, let us know!