30 teams gathered in Exton, PA for the first-ever Downingtown East HS tournament. The final results were:
1. Lehigh Valley Academy
2. Manheim Township A
3. Centennial (MD) A
4. Centennial (MD) B
What did we learn today?
- Downingtown is full of excellent quizbowl teams. While D-East was occupied with hosting, Downingtown STEM, led by the tournament’s breakout star in Vishwa, made the most of their opportunities in their first-ever pyramidal tournament to make the top 8. They had an outstanding mix of deep knowledge and quickly caught on to the pyramidal questions and format as the tournament went on. Downingtown West made the step up in difficulty to the regular HS level and, though they struggled in a tough playoff bracket, had a solid 18+ PPB average and a good all-around performance by their lead scorer Ben. Both of these schools would be welcome additions to more tournaments and we hope to see them (and their B teams) around the circuit in the future.
- The GPQB Poll’s #1 and #2 teams keep battling for state supremacy. So far, Lehigh Valley Academy is 2-1 against Manheim Township A this year. LVA’s only loss of the day was by 5 points to Baltimore-area powerhouse Centennial A and Alex Schmidt’s uncanny ability to go on a run of powers just when he needs it worked wonders in the final versus MT A. It’s notable that MT A’s win over LVA came on a housewrite while LVA has won both NAQT matchups with MT A.
- It’s good to mix circuits. Centennial’s 3 teams made a strong impact on the tournament and Fayetteville-Manilus‘ top player came down from NY to play. More teams venturing out into other circuits is always a good thing to see and it helps add variety and challenge to the tournament fields.
- Great Valley A can beat anyone. Centennial A is a bonafide national powerhouse (check out that 24+ PPB) and Great Valley A notched what NCAA bracketologists call a “good win” over them. When GV A is clicking, they can beat any team in the region. But whether or not they can perform consistently enough to string together several wins over the top teams remains unclear.
- Teams are still figuring out their best A-team lineups. We don’t have that much info with the best teams at full strength due to both player absences and shifting lineups. Finding a good fit, especially for 3rd and 4th chairs on teams, can be tough in terms of both subject matter coverage and team chemistry. I’d advise teams to read this good post on the forums about being a 4th player and thinking through who would be good at that job.
- There’s more to the Lehigh Valley than LVA. Allentown Central Catholic came down out of the valley and put in a solid performance to follow-up on their earlier Lehigh Valley Invitational results. Emmaus also made a welcome return to the circuit and rode the strength of lead scorer Mike to a solid middle-bracket finish. Would love to see more of these teams venturing outside of the valley and potentially hosting more tournaments within it in the future.
- D-East did a good job as a first time tournament host. Despite a few hiccups with Neg5 and rebracketing (see below), this was an exceptional job as an almost entirely student-led enterprise. Everything was done by 4:30 PM even with issues like a team showing up late and leaving early. Hopefully the secrets of competent TDing will be passed down to future generations of D-Easters!
- I don’t think Neg5 is ready for primetime. Yes, it is an improvement in some ways on the old SQBS stats software that requires centralized manual entry, but it’s not very user-friendly and when things go wrong, it can gum up the tournament to a greater extent than one with paper scoresheets. Training can help, but with the updates reconfiguring it pretty often it’s just more trouble than it’s worth for me at this point.
Next up on the quizbowl tournament slate here in Pennsylvania: Manheim Township (1/28), Norwin (2/4), and Great Valley and CMU’s Tartan (2/11)! Let’s do everything we can as a community to get these tournaments to run well and teams to attend.
–Chris C. with Ben H.