Great Valley Quiz Bowl Tournament III Wrap-Up

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Manheim Township’s A team poses with their 1st-place plaque just after winning the open division at the 3rd-annual Great Valley Quiz Bowl Tournament.

Congratulations to Manheim Township A for winning the 24-team open division at the 3rd annual Great Valley Quizbowl Tournament in Malvern, PA yesterday (Feb. 20th, 2016).

Full open division statistics (arranged from the championship bracket on downwards) are available here.

MT’s teams as a whole adopted an interesting approach of dividing their normal A-team and splitting the A-teamers among their B and C teams. Even with that divided approach (and with their C team playing surprisingly well, knocking off their A team in the playoffs), the MT juggernaut rolled on. The MT A-team featured a balanced attack led by the 55 PPG of Jake, whose encyclopedic knowledge of the lit canon–especially poetry–made lit a near-guaranteed power for MT A every time.

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PALCS  A (minus Ethan, who had to leave early) with their second-place plaque in the open division at GVQBT III.

The runner-ups in the final, PALCS A, acquitted themselves admirably in their highest-ever pyramidal quizbowl finish by playing quite aggressively in the playoffs and only losing to MT A. PALCS, paced by the 43 powers of lead-scorer Gianni, has very deep pockets of knowledge across a wide range of areas. Always an exciting team to watch knowing their could buzz early on pretty much any question.

Manheim C overperformed, taking advantage of the shorter IS-A questions to demonstrate superior buzzer speed, especially by normal A-teamer Shayar. It’s impressive just how well the specialists from the normal MT B and C teams performed in providing solid coverage of all areas of the distribution and ensuring all 3 MT teams had +23 PPB averages.

Lehigh Valley Academy emerged from a tough prelim bracket and notched the highest Points-Per-Bonus average of any team at the tournament with a sterling 24.48 PPB average, but wasn’t able to get over the hump against the top teams in the playoffs and seemed particularly bedeviled by Manheim C’s speed on the buzzer in both of their matches. It was another impressive 128-PPG outing for Alex Schmidt from LVA, but LVA still has some ground to make up to catch the top teams in the state.

Cedar Crest A played solidly throughout the tournament, but lost several heartbreakingly close games on the last few TUs to drop down to 5th. Cedar Crest A is an impressively strong team on several areas of the quizbowl canon like Philosophy that aren’t normally covered much in high school classes. But they’re surprisingly cautious on the buzzers; their 46 powers were much lower than the other teams that finished both above and below them, and they accumulated a mere 6 negs in 10 matches. It will be interesting to see how they fare on more difficult questions at nationals.

Other notable performances in the Open division included: Unionville making its pyramidal quizbowl debut this year with a solid 10th-place showing (and gradually increasing their PPB throughout the day, perhaps as they adjusted to pyramidal quizbowl).  Friends Select A finishing above a shorthanded Henderson A team to win the first consolation bracket with a dramatic 360-355 victory in the final round over the steadily improving Camp Hill (note that Camp Hill’s PPB is too low due to a scorekeeping error in its match against Unionville). Phillipsburg (NJ) also made its “buzzer” debut for this year with a creditable 19.8 PPB showing and it was good to see Downingtown East (who overcame a tough morning to ease into a 7-game winning streak to finish), Central Bucks East, Moravian Academy, and Lancaster Mennonite at another pyramidal quizbowl tournament too.

JV/Novice Division

Full stats from the 18-team JV/novice division are available here.

In the JV/novice division, Concord (DE) ran the table to win with an undefeated record. This occurred on the back of a fairly interesting final over Wissahickon A. With the lower power rates of Novice division, bonus conversion played a bigger part, and Concord’s more consistent abilities there served them well.

Unfortunately none of GPQB’s correspondents read much for the JV/novice division, but a few comments from the statistics: Both Wissahickon teams finished strong to finish in 2nd and 3rd; they should be the favorite to win the Montgomery County Academic Competition in March. In what’s become an amusing tradition at every tournament that they have entered so far, Central (Philadelphia)’s B team outperformed its A team to finish 4th.

Perhaps the most notable result from the JV division was the 14.7 PPB and the 14 powers from the Great Valley Middle School team. Looks like a pipeline’s being set up to power Great Valley HS’s team in the long run.

Overall Comments

The logistics of the tournament were excellent–Great Valley put on yet another well-run tournament with 42 teams getting 10 rounds of competition finished by 3:45 PM. We’re spoiled a bit here in Southeastern PA in just how professionally-run most of our pyramidal quizbowl tournaments have been so far. Let’s keep it up!

As you may have seen from the statistics pages, this tournament used Neg5, a new cloud-based statistics system that replaces the venerable SQBS. Though there were a few hiccups (perhaps due to the reliance on the school’s wireless network), the potential for Neg5 to revolutionize quizbowl tournament hosting is clearly there as it updates automatically after every game is remotely entered from a laptop or phone and requires no paper scoresheets at all. The interface is fairly intuitive and the graphics are slick, though the reversal of the typical 15/10/-5  ordering for powers-tossups-and negs is a bit annoying.

It was good to see a number of schools who don’t normally play much pyramidal quizbowl such as Central Bucks East, Unionville, Phillipsburg, and Moravian Academy attending and doing well. Would love to see even more Scholastic Scrimmage teams from the Lehigh Valley come down to more quizbowl tournaments.

Correcting for Camp Hill’s stats, 14 of the 24 teams had PPB averages of over 20. That’s an impressive number, but it might also speak to the need for these teams to challenge themselves on tougher questions than IS-A sets in the future. Overall though, Southeastern PA continues its steady improvement in quizbowl and is setting up for a great end-of-year finish at the various local, state, and national championships.

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