24 teams from around Pennsylvania and New York gathered last Saturday in Matamoras for Delaware Valley High School’s annual fall classic. It was a day filled with action, and storylines for the still developing PA quizbowl season.
Lehigh Valley Academy, recovering from a slow start, relatively speaking, at UMD Fall, rebounded for perhaps the most dominant Alex Schmidt romp yet. His 178 points per game, 79 powers, and a scant 10 negs (less than one a round) were unbeatable, as LVA won every game by over 170 points and never scored less than 455 in any match. These numbers indicate that perhaps there is an even further gear Alex has not reached, and that prospect is frightening. LVA triumphed over home team Delaware Valley A’s squad, who went 9-2 with losses only to Lehigh. Delaware Valley has shaped into a well rounded team over the summer, indicating some solid studying. Collin remains excellent as ever (46 ppg), though Frani has really emerged as a second high volume scoring threat (42 ppg), and Abhay and Andy have nicely developed into potent co-3rd chairs that add several powers a tournament. Delaware Valley reminds me a lot of last year’s state champion Winchester Thurston team, and they might have a special run in them.
Third place went to Ithaca A of New York, showing that last year’s T-8 team at nationals last year is still a threatening presence. Downingtown STEM split teams at the tournament to give younger players a chance to score more, and Vishwa, playing solo, hit a cool 126 points per game, which I believe is the best non-Schmidt number we’ve seen in Pennsylvania since at least three seasons ago. Vishwa remains a player of the year frontrunner. Troy (NY) took fifth, and the last playoff team was Penn Manor, who had a breakthrough performance and their first pyramidal invitational playoff berth. Connor broke through with a 61 ppg day. The finesse is yet to come (Penn Manor had few powers), but this is a program with strong potential do to some damage in the future.
In lower brackets, Downingtown STEM B finished 7th behind a strong performance from Anish. Lakeland returned to action, and in what’s supposed to be a rebuild year for them, performed very well, with Michael putting up a 20/65/14 line that powered Lakeland to a 7-3 record. Wallenpaupack, Moravian, and Berwick, Northeast PA regulars, also saw their first action of the season. While none looks to have title hopes, these teams still had many solid buzzes all around and continued to build strong quizbowl institutions. I want to make a special shout-out to Berwick B, a team of three freshmen and a sophomore, who put up a scrappy, awesome performance against LVA and managed five powers against a legendary player in a game I got the fortune to moderate. With good coaching and good studying, Berwick might have something really special in a few years.
Pound for pound, Tri-State Tussle gave a lot of teams the chance to play an excellent set and show what they knowed in style. Though one bad room of moderators delayed the morning rounds in one bracket almost an hour, kudos to TDs Paul Nelson and Kevin DeVizia, who fixed the issues so the afternoon went off without a hitch. The ride to the Water Gap is a long one, but one I’m sure these teams are glad they made.