This weekend in the eastern half of the state, 24 teams converged on Lehigh Valley Academy in Bethlehem for the first pyramidal tournament held in the Lehigh Valley area. Some of the old stalwarts were joined by several newcomers for a fun and competitive day of buzzing.
Full statistics and standings can be found here.
In the top bracket, a shorthanded Great Valley A squad finally closed the deal with a big tournament win, notching a thrilling 330-320 victory over State College A in what was effectively a one-game final (both teams entered the match at 7-0). This team just continues to get stronger, and as they return more players from fall sports commitments and continue working to cut down on negs, they should become even more exciting to watch.
Henderson A took third place by defeating New Jersey’s Pingry A by a 350-215 score in the teams’ final playoff match. Henderson has a largely new set of players this year, but their high-risk, high-reward buzzing strategy seems to have remained with them. I was particularly impressed by the broad knowledge of their leading scorers, Vijay Anne and Aravind Sivaram. This is another young, raw team that can hopefully continue to improve as they gain more experience in quizbowl.
As for other circuit mainstays, Downingtown East A and Delaware Valley finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Downingtown East, who only missed out on the top bracket by a 40 point loss to State College A, remains led by Jackie Wu, who put up an impressive 95 points per game in the prelims, while Delaware Valley kept up its balanced attack behind top scorer Collin Kawan-Hemler. These are two teams that also show some talent and promise for the future.
In addition, several brand-new or relatively inexperienced local teams made a name for themselves. Emmaus A, composed entirely of players new to pyramidal quizbowl, went 4-1 in the morning rounds to clinch a spot in the second bracket. Though they couldn’t quite get past Downingtown East A or Delaware Valley, they did score a win over D-East B. Their top scorer, Mike Gallagher, has particularly deep knowledge in music, and his teammates all added solid buzzes along the way. With a little improvement, this could be a team that regularly contends for playoff spots at future tournaments.
The same could be said for Allentown Central Catholic, who followed up their appearance at the PA State Championship last year by acquitting themselves nicely in their first Saturday tournament in several years. The misfortune of being placed in the same prelim bracket as State College and Downingtown East relegated them to the third bracket in the afternoon, but Central showed solid breadth on bonuses, as well as the ability to compete for tossups. Keep an eye out for them at future tournaments this year.
Other Lehigh Valley schools participating included Parkland, Pleasant Valley, and Saucon Valley, each making their first pyramidal appearance, as well as Southern Lehigh, returning after several years’ absence, and Moravian Academy, who has already played this year. It was nice to see these schools coming out to buzz, and hopefully we’ll have a chance to meet them again in the future.
In all, as a Lehigh Valley native I was very pleased to see so many new teams from the region. The competition finished at about 4:00 PM, and all the teams seemed to have a good time playing quizbowl. Congratulations go out to all the teams and to Lehigh Valley Academy for putting on the event!