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 Wellsboro, Palisades, 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)