Central Pennsylvania, notably bereft of good quizbowl invitationals for several years (the last regular format one took place five seasons ago), woke from its long slumber for a novice event featuring teams from many corners of the state. Penn State’s Nittany Lion Novice featured 17 teams from 8 different high schools duking it out for three trophy spots. The SCOP set was used, and full statistics are available here.
Manheim Township A (consisting of freshman and sophomore players) followed in the footsteps of their upper teams with a big time win, clearing the field undefeated and leaving no need for a final. This performance included 23.6 points per bonus, which is strong even on a novice set.
The second place team was Indiana A. Indiana is coming off a great season, which finished with a four win nationals appearance, and working to replace a lot of critical graduating seniors. Into the void came tournament MVP Sooraj Sharma, whose 86 points a game was dominant. I saw him get many nice powers in the matches I read for him, and the team combined for lots of really solid wins. Westmont Hilltop‘s A and B teams finished 3rd and tied for 4th respectively. This small school form the Johnstown area has consistently been a Middle School power, and that’s paying dividends at the high school level, with the two teams doing a lot of damage. The A team had better tossup stats, the B team did better on bonuses. It will be interesting to see where Westmont falls against other strong small school teams like Camp Hill and Lakeland by season’s end in PA.
The playoffs were rounded out by Huntingdon A and State College A. Huntingdon, who had previously competed at NHBB but were making their all-subject quizbowl debut, showed they know more than history for sure. I was particularly impressed with many of their literature buzzes; strong knowledge of this subject helped them force and then win a tiebreaker against Indiana in one of the closest matches I’ve read yet (final score: 345-330). State College did more or less what they always do, getting consistent points across subjects in an efficient manner. Pabitra Roy emerged as the next potential State College star.
Last but not least, there were three other schools that came up short of the playoffs: Schuylkill Haven, Southern Fulton, and Kane. While they didn’t make the top six, these teams still got in many good buzzes and contributed a lot to a great day. Schuylkill Haven in particular should be commended for 20 points per bonus from their A team, which shows some strong depth of knowledge. All three come from under-represented areas of the state in terms of Saturday quizbowl participation, so it was great to see them competing and any one could become a contender. I hope to see all the teams that came to Nittany Lion Novice again soon!