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.
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.
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.