Manheim Township Academic Challenge Wrap-Up

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Henderson A (closer to camera) vs. Cedar Crest A duke it out, with the always excellent Bill Tressler (former national-champion coach) reading the varsity division final.

44 quizbowl teams, likely a record number for pyramidal quizbowl in Pennsylvania, gathered at suburban Manheim Township HS in Lancaster on Saturday, Dec. 19th to compete in the Manheim Township HS Academic Challenge. The tournament was, from a logistical standpoint, practically perfect, and kudos to coach Missy Doll and the Manheim Township team for getting through 11 rounds by 3:30 PM.

Full statistical results with the NAQT nationals qualifiers are available here.

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Henderson A (closer to camera) vs. Cedar Crest A duke it out, with the always excellent Bill Tressler (former national-champion coach) reading the varsity division final.

Varsity Division Results

Henderson A, missing one of their best players in the morning rounds due to illness, barely made the playoffs after two close losses in the morning. Unfortunately for the other teams in that playoff bracket, in particular Great Valley A, Henderson was at full strength in the afternoon rounds and went undefeated in their championship playoff bracket. In the other championship bracket, Cedar Crest A used a balanced, consistent attack to reach the finals against Henderson and leaped out to a 260-point lead in the final, seemingly sewing the game up at the half. Henderson then mounted a furious comeback, pulling into the lead by 25 going into the final tossup. NAQT pop culture then chose the most inopportune moment to come up for Cedar Crest and, despite Henderson negging the tossup, Cedar Crest couldn’t convert the final question and lost by 20. It was a thrilling match and, in the eyes of one GPQB contributor, the “best match ever in PA quizbowl history.” Great Valley A, who had lost by 5 to Henderson earlier, won the 3rd-place trophy and was playing slightly shorthanded.

Two relative newcomers rounded out the top 5, with Friends Select A displaying a go-for-broke style that got them several big wins and a few close losses. Hempfield A, in contrast, played with impressive discipline (only 6 negs across the whole tournament!) and definitely ought to attend more pyramidal tournaments. Both of these schools qualified for HSNCT in their NAQT tournament debut.

Rounding out the other automatic HSNCT challengers, Camp Hill A, gunning for a deep SSNCT playoff run this year, showed some solid game as well with deep history and literature knowledge. Cedar Crest B finished in 7th (qualifying two Cedar Crest teams for nationals).

Lancaster Mennonite also played impressively in their pyramidal weekend tournament debut, as did Bermudian Springs A and Boiling Springs A. Wallenpaupack and Great Valley B also made the championship brackets. It was great to see so many new-to-weekend quizbowl teams from all around Eastern PA there to compete.

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Carver HSES A with their trophy. From L to R: William Z., Dalya H., coach Shan Hogan, Collins E., and Su L.

JV Division Results

The JV division was a wild dogfight. PPB and averages didn’t matter–every game was about getting the W and surviving. When the dust cleared, the top bracket had a distinctly Philadelphia flavor with 3 of the top 5 teams coming from the city itself, including the JV Champion, Carver HSES A. Though playing in only their second-ever tournament, Carver plays smart, disciplined quizbowl–they always confer carefully on bonuses, spread the responsibility for various categories around to all four of their main players, and seemed to get better after lunch. Wissahickon A, with an impressive 18 PPB, couldn’t translate that into tossups in the final and finished as the runner-up to Carver.

Philadelphia Central finished with two teams in the top bracket, with their B team outperforming their A team this time by capturing 3rd win a win over Henderson C, who finished in 4th. Central A beat Bucks County’s William Tennant A (who performed nicely in their first competition of the year) in the 5th-place game. All-in-all, this was a superb tournament for Pennsylvania quizbowl and I was impressed by all the teams that I saw playing. Good luck studying to all teams over the break and congrats again to Henderson A and Carver HSES A on winning!

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