Month: June 2018

2018 NASAT Wrap-Up

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Pennsylvania sent three teams of five players each to the 2018 National All-Star Academic Tournament this past weekend. The players were selected by PSACA to attend the event, which was hosted by International Quiz Bowl Tournaments (IQBT) at the University of Kentucky. The tournament featured more difficult questions than other national championships like the NSC and HSNCT.

Stats are here.

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PA Blue with their 5th place plaques (L to R: Jakobi, Alex, Vishwa, Dan, Bryce)

In a field of 29 teams, Pennsylvania Blue took 5th place after losing on the last tossup in a tiebreaker against California A. Alex Schmidt (Lehigh Valley, 12) and Vishwa Shanmugam (Downingtown STEM, 12) led the team in scoring, earning 3rd and 4th individually in the prelims with 65 and 60 points per game, respectively. Combined with contributions from Jakobi Deslouches (Allderdice, 11), Bryce Katch (Manheim Township, 12), and Dan Nguyen (Manheim Township, 12), Blue defeated teams like Tennessee, Virginia A, and even eventual champions Illinois A.

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PA Gold (L to R: Richard, Jackie, Austin, Michael; missing Will)

Pennsylvania Gold made the top tier of playoffs with a 4-2 prelim record after losing to only Ohio A and Maryland Gold on Saturday morning. Richard Chen (Friends Select, 12) led the team with 40 PPG in the prelims while Michael Goerlitz (Lakeland, 12), Austin Davis (Allderdice, 11), Will Davis (Shady Side, 12), and Jackie Wu (Downingtown East, 12) provided several buzzes per game as well. Though they struggled against tough teams like PA Blue, Tennessee, Virginia, and California, they got a 250-170 win against New York A in a difficult playoff bracket and finished 12th overall.

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PA White (L to R: Vijay, Will, Connor, Anish, Michael)

Pennsylvania White, a slightly younger team than the senior-heavy Blue and Gold squads, was made up of Vijay Anne (Henderson, 10), Michael Buffa (Manheim Township, 12), Anish Gadgil (Downingtown STEM, 11), Connor Mayers (Penn Manor, 10), and Will Yaeger (Hempfield, 11). They played close games throughout the tournament with almost half their games coming down to the last tossup, though their only win was a 170-160 victory over Virginia C.

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PA team mascots, L to R: Leon (PA White), Snickerpoodle (PA Blue), Barkhausen (PA Gold)

Congrats to Illinois A for winning the tournament for the third year in a row, and special thanks to Fred Morlan and Nicole Leedy for forming IQBT to ensure that this year’s NASAT could happen. To the seniors, we wish the best of luck in the future, and we hope to see all the underclassmen back at NASAT next year!

-The Staff

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GPQB Writing Team Announcements

We are excited to announce that we will be joined by two new contributors beginning this summer and upcoming competition year. Both bring unique quizbowl expertise to better cover tournaments in the state, help outreach efforts, and lead community engagement in Pennsylvania quizbowl.

Emily Dickson started playing quizbowl at Downingtown East High School, where she helped establish the team as a circuit regular. She is a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is double majoring in history and international relations. She is currently the tournament director for Pitt’s high school events, and is also working on doing outreach to local schools in the Pittsburgh metro. She also is the administrator of the Facebook group Quizpolling Purposes, where quizbowlers from all over the world vote on polls regarding pyramidal quizbowl and silly stuff alike.

Rebecca Rosenthal is a junior at Swarthmore College and has played quizbowl since seventh grade. She was the captain of the team at Bergen County Academies in New Jersey from 2014-2016. She founded and leads the most recent incarnation of Swarthmore’s quizbowl club where she hopes to help expand the burgeoning Philadelphia area circuit as a tournament director and staffer. She studies Ancient History and Art History, and hopes to continue her involvement in quizbowl as an educator when she graduates.

We are thrilled to work with both Emily and Rebecca and look forward to continuing the tradition of exemplary quizbowl in Pennsylvania.

As a final announcement, our co-founder Chris Chiego will be on sabbatical from GPQB and the site’s associated social media accounts for the upcoming academic year, to focus on his schoolwork. We wish him good luck and hope to see him on tournament Saturdays.

-The Staff

End of Season Poll, 2017-2018

Friends,

No one would deny that this year was the most successful in Pennsylvania’s history for pyramidal quizbowl. More teams placed well nationally than ever before, and more of our players got recognition from the greater community of players, coaches, and advocates across America. So many teams deserve plaudits for their accomplishments this year, and one poll does not do them justice. Nevertheless, in annual tradition, we will forge ahead and crown a quizbowl champion for Pennsylvania among the rest.

15 voters participated in this poll. Voting was done AP style. Without further ado, here is the final poll for the elite play of the 2017-2018 season:

#1) Downingtown STEM, 150 points (+1, Unanimous choice for #1)
#2) Lehigh Valley Academy, 131 points (-1)
#3) Allderdice, 124 points (+4)
#4) Manheim Township, 104 points (+2)
#5) Friends Select, 85 points (-1)
#6) State College A, 72 points (+5)
#7) Henderson, 37 points (+2)
#8) State College B, 31 points (prev. u/r)
#9) Downingtown East, 29 points (+1)
#10) Great Valley, 25 points (-5)

Also receiving votes were Delaware Valley (22 points), Alagar Homeschool (10), Winchester Thurston (6), and Shady Side (4).

We congratulate STEM on being named GPQB champions for the season, and more importantly, we commend all of these teams, and those who did not get ranked, on their successful seasons. Have a wonderful summer, keep learning, keep exploring, and keep buzzing!

-The Staff

Voters in this poll were: Mitch Alday, Paul Birch, Ryan Bilger, Chris Chiego, Emily Dickson, Jack Edmondson, Ben Herman, Ashish Kumbhardare, Sebastien La Duca, Nick Luca, Andrew Nadig, Rebecca Rosenthal, Colton Sanden, Alex Sankaran, Steven Silverman

2018 PACE National Scholastic Championship Wrap Up

This past Saturday and Sunday saw the last major quizbowl event of the year, the PACE National Scholastic Championship. 96 teams from around the country competed for the title, including six Pennsylvania squads. Qualification for this tournament required finishing in the top 20 or 25 percent of teams at a PACE-certified tournament. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology A (VA) took first place, defeating Dublin Scioto (OH) in the first game of an advantaged final.

Full stats for the tournament can be found at this link. Please note that at the NSC, incorrect or unanswered bonus parts bounce back to the opposing team, and these bounceback statistics are displayed in the final three columns on the right, while traditional points per bonus stats appear to their left.

Downingtown STEM capped off their incredible season with a bang, finishing in 18th place with a record of 13-5. Vishwa Shanmugam was the tournament’s 6th-top overall scorer with 112.78 PPG, and Anish Gadgil and Rohan Vora each added solid contributions as well. STEM took home several victories against the nation’s top teams, including St. John’s (TX) as well as HSNCT runners-up Hunter (NY). For a team to go from not playing pyramidal quizbowl to placing 18th at NSC in 18 months is nothing short of astonishing, and D-STEM deserves tremendous credit for putting in the hard work to make it happen.

In the final act of Alex Schmidt’s high school quizbowl career, Lehigh Valley Academy took 21st place, with a 12-6 record, while also capturing the small school championship. Alex showed his ability to buzz all over the distribution once again, finishing with a whopping 138.89 PPG. He did fall to D-STEM in an exciting 370-330 match, but recorded strong wins as well over Robinson (VA) and Georgetown Day (DC). Speaking for myself, I saw Alex’s potential in playing against him when he was a freshman and I a senior, and it has been nice to see it pay off through strong finishes like this one.

Manheim Township A finished 30th overall (12-5 record), the highest finish at NSC in school history. Many of us counted out this group at the start of the year, and they certainly proved us wrong. Seniors Bryce Katch and Dan Nguyen led the way for the Blue Streaks, but fellow senior Michael Buffa and sophomore Will Steger both contributed over 20 PPG as well. Though they took a loss to LVA, the team scored a big-time win over national powerhouse LASA A (360-280), and were one tiebreaker away from making the top bracket. An excellent end to the season for this group.

Great Valley finished in 58th place, with a 6-9 record. Sam Scarfone demonstrated his skills once again with 59.33 PPG, while Dan Chen and Mark Neri also added over 20 PPG each. GV started the day 0-5, but rebounded to win 6 of their last 10 matches, including a nice victory over past SSNCT champion AMSA (MA). Not quite the ending this squad may have been hoping for, but it has still been fun to watch them develop over the years.

After missing HSNCT due to scheduling issues, Delaware Valley claimed 62nd place (7-8 record). As has been the case for most of the year, Colin Kawan-Hemler (46.67 PPG) and Frani King (29.33 PPG) set the pace, and DV also got noteworthy efforts from two returning juniors, Emma Dove and Chris Secular. The team squeaked out a tight 250-240 win over top Kentucky team Dunbar, and also beat strong teams in Okemos (MI) and Saint Joseph (IN). Overall, a nice weekend for the class of Northeast PA.

Finally, Manheim Township B took 86th place with a 5-10 record. This young team was composed exclusively of sophomores and juniors, including lead scorers Zac Stapler and Cyril Hainthaler, who will hope to play key roles next year as Manheim Township reloads for another season. This nationals experience will likely prove quite valuable in this regard.

And with that, another year in Pennsylvania quizbowl comes to a close. It has been an exciting campaign all around, and I have greatly enjoyed following it throughout. Stay tuned for our end-of-season rankings and final discussion on the season, coming soon!

-Ryan Bilger