Well folks, after personally attending 14 local or national tournaments this season, we’ve come to a close. This year saw the most teams, the most high scorers, the most events, and some of the wildest single games in Philadelphia quizbowl history. The circuit is healthier than ever and I am exited to continue to go forward. For now though, I feel it right to recognize the top ten teams in our area this season and applaud all their hard work and effort. This is an unofficial ranking and reflects my opinion only. To be ranked a team must have attended at least two regular, pyramidal tournaments (no National History Bee and Bowl events).
Honorable Mentions: Concord, PALCS B (previous rank: 8)
10) Cedar Crest
Previous Rank: u/r
This is a team that showed lots of potential and flashes of brilliance. While they never made it higher than 11th at a local invitational, they seem to have gotten extremely unlucky with their schedule draw. One can site their 3rd place finish at the Lancaster-Lebanon league tournament as a highlight, but what got them ranked is their strong effort at HSNCT. 4-6 with everyone contributing is a fine finish. Cedar Crest seems to be getting better every year, and thus earns my admiration.
9) Downingtown East
Previous Rank: 10
We’ll exclude the PAAC win and just focus on good tournaments: still a good team. Nick Wu is a great player, and when he was on the buzzer, he was able to at least partially fill in the shoes of Neil Vinjiamuri. Nick will be representing Pennsylvania at NASAT next week. When they didn’t have him in the lineup, D-East really struggled to get in early buzzes and thus lost a lot of games they probably shouldn’t have. However, Downingtown east had fantastic bonus conversion at every event, often exceeding teams ranked above them. Downingtown East showed a lot of knowledge that way.
8) Lehigh Valley Academy
Previous Rank: 4
Alex Schmidt is a great player. He’s taking a tumble in my rankings for two reasons: 1) being a solo team, he couldn’t study as much as four people can in a given time period; thus as the year went on and players learned more, Alex started to lose more often in the playoffs. 2) Other good teams emerged which we had yet to see in the spring. In spite of this, Lehigh Valley Academy was a solid team all around. He won a tournament in New Jersey and placed in the top five at multiple events in the Philadelphia circuit. Our JV player of the year has a bright future, and I’m looking forward to a lot more from LVA.
Previous Rank: u/r
Souderton attended their first pyramidal tournament in February, and shut out Renaissance Academy by answering every single tossup in their 3rd game ever. What a way to enter! With ample knowledge in history and pop culture in particular, Souderton quickly became a team you didn’t want to see on your schedule, culminating in a runner-up finish at Eastern PA States. They went to NSC, where some combination of inexperience and just ridiculously awful luck (multiple losses on tiebreakers) led them to finishing 95th. Still, to hang in for so many close games is really, really good for a team on their third tournament playing national blue-bloods. I think given a full school year, they could get even better.
Previous Rank: u/r
When I did my mid-season rankings, I called West Chester East the class of Chester County. Seeing as they didn’t come to enough events to qualify for the list, they loose the title to Conestoga, who probably could have earned it on the buzzer anyway. 3rd place at Great Valley is nice, but what gets them here is placing 60th at NSC. 13 points per bonus and 6 points per bounceback on a set this tough is a great accomplishment, and a win against a B team from Thomas Jefferson (VA), a former national champion program, is a feather for their cap. I hope to see them around the circuit more often next season.
5) Manheim Township B
Previous Rank: 7
Playoffs at HSNCT? Check. 65th at NSC? Check. This deep, deep program really impressed all throughout the tournament calendar. Though the lineup frequently changed, so it’s absurd to point to which areas they would be best at on a given day, through thick and thin Manheim B always found themselves in the playoffs. Over such a sustained number of events, that’ll get you ranked high be me.
4) Wilmington Charter B
Previous Rank: 5
Ditto here. Also had a rotating lineup, and didn’t quite get to the playoffs in their national, but looking at the overall year I don’t quite think Manheim B squeaks it out over them. I challenged Charter B to see if they could use their depth of knowledge efficiently enough to make the top 4 in my mid season rankings. They did.
Previous Rank: 2
The Cinderalla campaign ends. In one year Emmaus went from a solely bad-quizbowl school to finishing with 18 points per bonus at HSNCT. That takes herculean effort. Happening to have the best player Philadelphia quizbowl has seen in 6 or 7 years helps a lot. We’ve spent a lot of time giving plaudits to Ryan Bilger this year, so for one last time: he is an awesome player with tons of real knowledge on history and fine arts, and we wish him the best of luck in his college quizbowl career, which I know he intends to pursue. His teammates helped cover some of his weaknesses all along the way, and I hope they keep Emmaus strong and active in the future.
2) Manheim Township A
Previous Rank: 3
Manheim Township A put the cherry on top of a great season by becoming the first team from Philadelphia that was not from Wilmington Charter to place in the top 35 nationally at HSNCT. This team was willing to study hard, learn to cover its weaknesses, and stay disciplined enough to keep miscues to a minimum. The final lineup of Jake Deerin, Ahan Patel, Eric Zhuang, and Shayar Battacharjee (Last week, I claimed Shayar had been on the A team for HSNCT only- this was my mistake, he had been promoted based on knowledge and practice performance. Congratulations Shayar!) saved their best for last. Well done.
1) Wilmington Charter A
Previous Rank: 1
They were my preseason pick and held onto it the whole year. They finished 21st at one national and 32nd at the other playing down a man and a second for most of the event. All four players (Varun Wadha, Mohan Mahotra, Rohan Narayan, and Shrayus Sortur) contributed a lot of great buzzes and developed deep specialist knowledge across the distribution. They pulled many fine wins against programs from across the nation and if I’m not mistaken went undefeated against their Philadelphia competition when at full strength. Again, only one player (Varun) graduates, so I have high expectations next year. Congratulations Charter!