Month: November 2017

SAGACITY XIII Wrap-Up (11/18/17)

Editor’s Note: We thank UPitt’s Emily Dickson for doing a guest wrap-up for this tournament.

The thirteenth iteration of Sagacity was hosted this past Saturday by the University of Pittsburgh.

Full stats here


Allderdice and Alagar Homeschool

Alagar Homeschool continued their strong start to the season, sweeping the field with an 11-0 record. Dominated by Jaya and Rajan, who went first and third individually, Alagar remains at the top of the Pittsburgh circuit. Winchester Thurston A took second place with Tim, Elliot, Kevin, and Johnny maintaining their relatively even statlines. WT-A is truly a four man effort, a rare occurrence in both the Pittsburgh area and high school quizbowl as a whole. Allderdice A came in third after taking two losses in the afternoon. Returning to pyramidal quizbowl after an apparent two year absence, Pine-Richland A made an impressive return with a high PPB and good performance by Ben, resulting in a fourth place finish. Fourth place was also shared by Winchester Thurston B and Hatboro-Horsham, the latter of whom made a trek out from Southeastern PA.


Kane A and Northwest PA Collegiate B

Shady Side A led their bracket in the afternoon after a win against Pittsburgh Central Catholic. Westmont Hilltop’s Ethan led his team to a close morning win over Hampton A. Northwest PA Collegiate Academy brought two enthusiastic teams who finished tenth and twelfth, respectively. Chartiers Valley also returned after last month’s Mellon Bowl, hopefully signaling continued participation in area tournaments.  Allderdice B-D, Dubois, Pine-Richland B, South Side, and Shady Side B, all were competitive in their brackets and gave many players the opportunity to perform on A level questions. Pittsburgh circuit regulars Kane A and B came out from North Central PA and had some close wins throughout the day.  John Marshall (WV)’s Colerain finished eleventh in individual scoring, showing a great deal of potential within their team.

Overall, the tournament ran smoothly and players seemed to be enjoying themselves.  I am excited to see what the remainder of the season brings for our Pittsburgh area teams.


Henderson Invitational IV Wrap-Up (11/18/2017)

30 teams were on hand for the 4th annual tournament at Henderson High in West Chester, always one of the year’s biggest events. With many alumni and other quizbowl personalities in tow, the event ran its best ever and produced many amazing matches.

Stats are here.


Manheim Township A poses with their 2nd place trophy. From L to R: Dan, Michael, Bryce, and Nate.

Downingtown STEM claimed their second major tournament victory of November with an undefeated run and 477 points per game. Vishwa continues to round out as one of the best players in Pennsylvania quizbowl history, knocking in 64 power buzzes in 11 rounds and finishing with a tournament leading 115 points a game. Anish and Rohan proved capable wingmen, and STEM won every match but one by triple digits (the lone exception being a 15 point nail biter against Princeton (NJ), who would finish 4th). Their finals opponent was the never-count-em-out Manheim Township A. The Blue Streaks were thought to be in a rebuild this year, but reports of their demise were grossly overstated. Bryce, Dan, Nate, and Michael offered up a balanced attack where everyone scored between 23 and 40 ppg and everyone had at least 10 powers en route to their 9-2 runner up finish. Well done to this ever deep school.

3rd and 4th place went to out of state squads, with Wilmington Charter (DE) finishing third and Princeton taking fourth. Both looked impressive, and we are happy to see some non-Pennsylvania schools take the trip and feel our events are worth attending. A 9-2 Friends Select A team finished in 5th. They rolled through the day until Rudyard had to leave after round 7, and then took two very close losses. Despite this unfortunate turn, FSS showed they are continuing to improve and their bonus conversion in particular is skyrocketing. A 75 ppg performance from Connor Mayers led Penn Manor to finish in 6th place.

Elsewhere in the playoffs, the Jackie Wu led Downingtown East A took 7th place, beating a team from Unionville High School in Chester County. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Unionville at an invitational, and they seem to be a strong squad as always. A 40/63/40 line indicates a lot of spirited buzzing. Hempfield, from outside Lancaster, ventured to their first ever event on IS questions and first ever event outside Lancaster County, and finished a respectable 9th. Will Yaeger put up 16 powers, and he continues to be one of the more underrated players in the state. Great Valley A took 10th. Missing Sam for the day and Mark for part of it, Dan Chen had a very solid day, but Great Valley is not quite a title contender when playing shorthanded. The playoffs were rounded out by Manheim Township B and Emmaus A. Though not yet back to Ryan Bilger levels of play, it was fantastic to see scrappy Emmaus get into the playoffs of an event again, and they flashed nice potential, particularly with their excellent neg control.


Unionville’s team during the day’s events.

Consolation brackets featured a crew of other teams. Camp Hill A finished on top of the bunch. Sydney continues to be a strong player, but Alex and Ben, both contributing but unnotable players last year, really stepped up to fill the shoes of graduating Colton, and all three contributed a ton of good answers. Longtime circuit stalwarts Cedar Crest and PALCS made their season debut at HHS, and Huntingdon traveled from the western mountains to get in more action. Ranney, another New Jersey team, also played.  It is fantastic to see such a diverse field turn out for these events.

Congratulations to all these teams for their fine showings at Henderson. The season continues to be one of parity and exciting games. Next stop for Philadelphia-area quizbowl: QFO at the University of Pennsylvania on 12/2.


Philly Fall Tournament Wrap-Up (11/11/17)

36 teams from across the Greater Philadelphia area converged on Center City, Philadelphia Saturday for the Philly Fall Invitational, jointly hosted by Friends Select School and Carver HSES at Friends Select’s campus.

Full stats are available here.


The winning duo from D-STEM A. Image via Twitter.

Open Division

Downingtown STEM A swept the field and finished with an unblemished 10-0 record, triumphing in an unusual 2 vs. 2 final against Wilmington Charter A. Propelled by Vishwa’s impressive 118 PPG (note that he actually averaged more points in the playoffs than in the prelims!) and Anish’s solid backing, STEM took on a tough (and somewhat uneven) Harvard Fall question set and was the only team in the field to finish above 20 PPB. Charter, playing somewhat shorthandedly as well, saw the continued emergence of Waley as a star player and excellent complement to A-team anchor Sohum. Great Valley A finished in 3rd, with a sterling performance from last year’s GPQB player-of-the-year Sam (26 powers to only 6 negs) counterbalanced by a consistent neg trend. GV averaged nearly 4 negs a match and barely broke even on the Power to Neg ratio. Downingtown East A finished in 4th, led as usual by Jackie’s strong generalist knowledge, and also picked up some solid assistance from Zach (28.9 PPG). Though they came close to knocking off Charter A, they had a harder time with their in-district rivals at STEM. Friends Select’s house team played with only half of their usual A-team (since FSS quite smartly chose to focus on prioritizing making sure the tournament ran efficiently by having their best readers read instead of play), allowing a rotating cast of A-team hopefuls to get some good experience. Henderson A made the top bracket as well, but isn’t quite ready yet to take back their place atop the Chester County hierarchy at this time.

Great Valley showcased tremendous depth throughout this tournament with their B, C, D, and E teams all finishing in the middle consolation bracket. With good coaching and a stable program in place for several years now, reinforcements from a burgeoning middle school program are helping to replenish and expand the ranks of GV teams this year and likely in future years. A young Penn Manor team continued its long-term expedition forth from the Lancaster-Lebanon League, highlighted with a 345-155 win over a balanced Downingtown STEM B team that came close to making the top bracket.

Wissahickon A, making their season debut, won the 2nd consolation bracket by a fairly large margin. Moorestown Friends, after a year’s hiatus from the circuit, returned and was led by a solid 40 PPG performance from Kayla. Science Leadership Academy A, playing up in the open division for the first time, had several close losses to GV B and Henderson A before finishing alongside Moorestown Friends (whom they beat in a close 200-195 match). Henderson’s enterprising B team, Carver’s house team, and Lancaster Mennonite (unusual but interesting to see several LL teams but not Manheim Township–who was down in Baltimore dogfighting with the DC circuit this weekend–at a tournament).


Clockwise from the top: Haverford, D-East, and Middlesex County A. Image via Instagram.

Novice Division

Though they lacked their signature red-and-gold bowties, Haverford High school made a big impression in only their 2nd-ever pyramidal tournament of the past few years by winning the novice division and displaying some outstandingly deep knowledge in doing so. Though they have some knowledge gaps due to their relative quizbowl inexperience, they can go on impressive runs of powers and 30s that show just what  some of the other Delaware County Hi-Q schools might be capable of if they chose to play quizbowl. Downingtown East B, paced by a balanced attack with all of its players averaging 29 PPG or higher, showed that the future of D-East should be bright. D-East B’s only losses were to Haverford and they had an impressive 200-point win over Wilmington Charter B in the prelims. Middlesex County A (NJ), another young team recovering from several major graduations last year, was able to knock off Haverford in the first round but then got upset by their B team in the playoffs and finished just out of the finals. Downingtown STEM C and Middlesex B were also both freshman-dominated teams who seemed happy to make the top playoff bracket but then had a harder time. Prathik (MCA B) and Abhsenk (MCA A) both topped 50 PPG, so with their powers combined MCA should be set for the future and we welcome more NJ teams to come over to our tournaments in PA.

The middle consolation bracket was won by Bodine, where star sophomore Alex (60 PPG) is now complemented by an impressive newcomer in Raquel (42 PPG). Though they could stand to work on adding some more depth (only 6 powers), Bodine was only a tossup cycle away in 2 games from breaking into the championship bracket. Church Farm School made their quizbowl debut in solid fashion, getting a tough introduction from the B teams of Charter and D-East before settling down to finish high in their consolation bracket. Wissahickon B capped off their day with a nice 255-250 victory over a balanced Charter C team. FSS B, also rotating through a cast of newer players, romped through the lower consolation bracket thanks to the 65+ PPG of Hannah, while the rest of the bracket was filled out by new players from the many of the other Philadelphia schools including Franklin Towne, Rush Fine Arts, and even more of Science Leadership Academy, many of whose players were making their quizbowl debuts.

Fortunately for the novice players, the Philadelphia Cheesesteak set (written by veteran quizbowl coach and writer Bill Tressler) was very accessible, particularly on the tossups. The tossups were designed around being covertable but still had challenging lead-ins, and there were a number of clues that tried to tie in current events and recent pop culture. There were some list-like clues and a few pronoun/plural issues, but most of those have been marked to get corrected and didn’t detract from the overall accessibility of the set at all. I would highly encourage other schools interested in a set that I felt was slightly harder than SCOP Novice on the bonuses but easier than NAQT IS-A sets on the tossups to use it (and its future sequels!) in your area.


Lehigh Valley Academy Tournament Wrapup (10/28/17)

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to read at the Lehigh Valley Academy tournament, allowing me to get a first look at some of the key competitors in the east. Though the tournament had its challenges, I must say, it’s shaping up to be a banner year.

Stats for both divisions can be found at this link.


Friends Select A with their first place trophy (photo courtesy Peter Schmidt)

Based on an unorthodox head-to-head tiebreaker, Friends Select A were declared champions of the experienced division. The strong duo of Richard Chen and Jake Shapiro led the way for the Philadelphians on the day, and they figure to be even better with the return of the absent Rudyard Lynch. Henderson A came in second place based on an early 355-325 loss to Friends Select, but they were perhaps the team I was personally most impressed with on the day. Aravind Sivaram and Vijay Anne make for a powerful top two, and Aidan Adkins supported them well as a third. Both of these teams look poised to make major noise in Pennsylvania tournaments for the rest of the year.

The top four was rounded off by Great Valley A and Delaware Valley A. Last year’s GPQB Player of the Year Sam Scarfone turned in another excellent performance for Great Valley at 98.18 PPG, and Daniel Chen and Mark Neri made solid contributions as well. Delaware Valley played extremely well on the day, even without their leading scorer Colin Kawan-Hemler. Frani King is really coming into her own as a player, and their great program culture continues to produce great supporting players, as Abhay Byadgi and Andy Greene each contributed over 30 PPG. Like Friends Select, Delaware Valley is a team that has great potential for when we see their full A team together in the future.

Two more Pennsylvania teams made it into the second pool of four: Downingtown East and Western Lehigh A. Jackie Wu, playing solo on the day for D-East, led the field in scoring with 120 PPG and further demonstrating her strong ability as a generalist. For Western Lehigh, Sahil Inaganti (whose interview with Jackie you can read here) notched a strong 86.82 PPG on the day, and the team notched a quality 330-265 win over perennial New Jersey power East Brunswick. If he and his teammates can continue to develop through the year, Western Lehigh will be a team nobody will want to see in their bracket this year.

The remaining brackets saw a mixture of Pennsylvania teams old and new. Allentown Central Catholic made it into the third bracket in their first appearance of the year, with Alex Strohl and Andrew Buck forming a solid lead pairing for them. Michael Goerlitz put in a strong outing for Lakeland at 91.36 PPG, while my alma mater Emmaus made their debut for the year and Moravian Academy showed some of their deep knowledge with some nice powers. We also welcomed Jim Thorpe to the circuit too for their first tournament. It was nice to see all these teams get off the mark for the new year, and I hope to see them around some more in the future!

Though I personally did not read for the novice division, there were some impressive performances turned in by some of these new players. Henderson B and Henderson C both went 8-1 on the day, with Siddharth Chenrayan of Henderson B notching 63.89 PPG, good for third place among novice players. Emmaus B went 9-0, the only team to do so, showing a good deal of future potential. Southern Lehigh and Carver also played well on the day, the former in their first Saturday tournament of the year. As with Jim Thorpe, it was also great to see WellsboroPalisades, and Saucon Valley join in on the fun. Cecilia Zimmerli of Saucon Valley put up 45.56 PPG on the day with no negs, an excellent first-tournament performance. In all, it’s great to see this young talent coming through the ranks for future years!

Overall, though the tournament had some delays that caused it to run later than normal, it was a fun way to kick off the pyramidal quizbowl year in the Lehigh Valley and introduce some new teams to the game we love. I knew coming into this year that we would have some great matches, and what I saw at LVA has only excited me further for what lies ahead. Congratulations to all the teams and we look forward to seeing what you all have in store this year!



Henderson A with their second place trophy (photo courtesy Peter Schmidt)