April 18th marked the conclusion of the invitational schedule for our area for this season with a bout in Lancaster as 10 schools vied for NAQT’s coveted title for our area. After a brief opening ceremony in which Ryan Bilger was awarded his player of the year plaque, a truly fantastic day of buzzing took place. For some idea, of the 11 matches I read personally yesterday, six were decided by a margin of two questions or less. Here’s the standout stories:
- Emmaus capped of their breakout season with a big time victory, finishing an undefeated 11-0 and only being seriously threatened once, in their first match with runners-up Souderton. Ryan showed exactly why he won player of the year, carrying the effort with 132 points per game. His teammates Omar Ahmed and Justine Wang contributed some clutch buzzes, particularly in science, to help seal the tournament win.
- Souderton took home second place, and for a team we haven’t seen at that many Saturday invitationals this year, they really did a stand-up job. Powered by a strong one-two punch of Alex Kozitzky and Alex Cross, they came out on top in several close matches. They finished up with almost 20 points a bonus. They strike me as a strong team all around, and have a critical advantage on pop culture questions most teams struggle on.
- PALCS B finished third, once again outplaying their A team significantly. Their trend of very balanced efforts with many “2 questions a game” type players continued, though Alex Gustafson had a very big showing.
- 4th place went to Great Valley A. After a frustrating season with their team showing flashes of promise but never being able to string together wins, an experimental team of three freshman and a first-year of quizbowl junior ended up doing what the seniors could not. Having read a lot for them is year I can say they looked more focused and driven than ever. I think next year will go better for them than this season.
- Lancaster Mennonite, runnners up in the Lancaster-Lebanon league, came in fifth in their only Saturday event this year. All three of their players (Charlotte Schreyer, Emily Rosenfeld, and Brandon Roe) contributed to a solid effort. They have great bonus conversion, with a little work they could be dangerous. I hope they come to more events next season.
- Other participant schools included Henderson, Elizabethtown, Wissahickon, and Berwick.
Thank you all so much for a great regular season and fantastic play. Yesterday was one of those days that reminds me why I keep coming to these events. I wish all the graduating seniors the best of luck in the future and hope to see the other players next year. Next stop: Nationals.