Month: January 2016

Pennsylvania Quizbowl Tournament Updates

  • QuAC will not be held on February 13th at Penn, due to room reservations issues. Future plans for the tournament will be announced soon.
  • Great Valley High School’s tournament on February 20th is filling up very nicely, with 38 teams registered as of now across the varsity and JV/novice divisions. If anyone is interested in helping to moderate, I’m sure GV would appreciate it since more moderators means more teams get a chance to play.
  • The Tartan Invitational at Carnegie Mellon University, also on Feb. 20th, has a smaller field right now, but still plenty of room for new teams.
  • There may be some local Intermediate Unit (IU) competitions throughout Feb. and March. Check with your local IU to see how those work, but be aware that the quality of questions and format for those vary dramatically across the state.
  • After Great Valley, there’s a bit of a lull until Manheim Township’s tournament on March 19th, which will have both a varsity and a novice/JV division. Then there’s a potential tournament at Penn State on April 16th, but that’s about it for the season other than the state and national championships.
  • Teams are encouraged to look to the NY City area and the Maryland/DC area for other tournaments too. You can find upcoming tournaments from all around the country announced here.
  • There’s also still time if your school is interested in hosting a tournament in April this year or if you’d like to start planning for a fall tournament. Please feel free to let us know and we’d be happy to help.

Allderdice Invitational 2016 Wrap-Up

Pennsylvania quizbowl action got off to a competitive 2016 with a classic, every buzz counts brawl at Allderdice High in Pittsburgh yesterday. Here are the stats.

As is always the case with Steel City events, this was a close one with lots of games decided by small margins and many teams in the hunt for a trophy until late. The Alagar Homeschool, featuring siblings Rajan and Jaya Alagar, took home the big win with a 10-1 record. Rajan’s 48 powers led the event, which he seems to do often these days. Coming just shy of being ranked in the GPQB midseason poll, Alagar came out in force and looks to be making a push for the big rankings at the end.

Second place was shared between Winchester Thurston A and Norwin. This could have been messy, for going into the last round, Alagar was 10-0, Thurston 9-1 with a loss to only Alagar, and Norwin 8-2. Norwin pulled past Alagar to put a tiebreaker final on the table, but Winchester Thurston was unable to recover from letting host school Allderdice A get a big lead, despite a very spirited comeback effort in a round I read. All of these teams performed well. Particular commendations go out to Jack Challiet’s tournament leading 106 ppg for Thurston, reinforcing his status as one of the state’s elite players, and a breakout 71 ppg performance from Norwin’s Andy Halza (with just one neg!), which has put him on Pennsylvanian radars.

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Nowrin A, just after a win.

Also in the playoffs were Winchester Thurston B, who took fourth and have by now pretty firmly claimed the rank of one of the state’s deeper teams. Three Pittsburgh private schools in the form of Central Catholic, Shady Side A, and Eden Christian Academy A rounded out the top bracket. This was the first playoff finish for all these teams this season, which was great to see. Each one came away with some big wins, and Eden Christian came within 10 points of upsetting Winchester Thurston A. These schools all could join Western PA’s elite teams soon, studying provided!

Also competing were teams from Hampton, Kane, Westinghouse, Keystone Oaks, and Chartiers Valley high schools. It was nice to see all of them continue to make Pittsburgh a vibrant and growing place to play quizbowl. I read for a number of these teams and saw some good buzzes from them. One feature here is remarkably consistent peripheral stats like bonus conversion- this suggests nice competitive balance between the teams at this tournament.

Allderdice itself fielded an F team- this has to make it the biggest program going in Pennsylvania right now. Well done for getting so many people involved and opening up the building for good play. Great start to the second half.

Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the midst of the playoffs.

Spring 2016 Quizbowl in PA Preview

As we round the halfway point of the 2015-2016 quizbowl season in Pennsylvania, it’s time to look ahead and see what’s in store for the next semester of academic competition in the Keystone State.

January is a fairly quiet month, with only Allderdice HS in Pittsburgh’s invitational scheduled on 1/9. The field for that tournament is shaping up nicely and it’s good to see many returning faces from some other Western PA tournaments.

The quizbowl action picks up in February, with tournaments scheduled at Penn (2/13), Westmont Hilltop (2/13), Great Valley (2/20), and Carnegie Mellon (2/20). Penn’s QuAC will feature the GSAC question set while Great Valley’s tournament and Westmont Hilltop’s event will run on an easier and shorter IS-A question set from NAQT. The Tartan Invitational at CMU will use a regular NAQT IS set.

March currently only has Manheim Township’s Spring Invitational scheduled for 3/19 on NAQT questions, but there may be a few other smaller, local tournaments in the works that could take place then as well. Stay tuned for details.

In April, we’ll see how the new experiment of the Pennsylvania State Academic Competition using NAQT’s state championship question set turns out. Right now, we have no idea how those questions will actually be used nor what the format of the competition will be. We hope that the Chester County IU folks who run the tournament will use only the fresh NAQT questions and avoid the issues of question repeats, incorrect answerlines, and general bad quizbowl practices that have plagued PSAC in the past.

In addition to the quizbowl tournaments, several other academic competitions including DelCo Hi-Q, Chester County’s IU tournament, and Scholastic Scrimmages are all starting to wrap up their seasons and head towards playoffs. A number of other Intermediate Units will also be running their local academic competitions in the next few months to select teams to advance to the state championship–we hope that they will choose good questions and follow good quizbowl practices when running these tournaments.

If your team has qualified, it might be a good time now to register for one of the two major national quizbowl tournaments of NAQT and PACE. Both tend to fill up by March and require considerable planning to attend, so make sure that you start the registration process and getting school approval and funding as soon as possible.

Good luck to all teams in Pennsylvania this semester!

-The GPQB Staff