Month: October 2018

Philly Fall Tournament Wrap-Up (10/20/18)

Yesterday’s Philly Fall Tournament was only half of the quizbowl going on in Philadelphia yesterday (running alongside the 38-team collegiate tournament, Penn Bowl), but with 24 teams in the Open division and 12 in the Novice, Friends Select School was really buzzing. The tournament attracted teams from New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Connecticut in addition to numerous Pennsylvania teams.

Full stats for the Open Division are here, and Full stats for the Novice Division are here.

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Great Valley A with their first place trophy (photo courtesy of FSS Quizbowl)

In the Open division, played on IS-178A, competition was tight. The top four teams had almost uncannily similar stats for the tournament, all scoring 450 to 500 points per game, all notching 60 to 63 total powers, and all between 23 and 24 points per bonus. A tournament is rarely this even. As would fit such equal performances, the final was an all time classic. Great Valley A, despite a morning loss to Manheim Township B, was pitted against Kellenberg A, down from Long Island to join the Pennsylvania action. Behind several powers, GV built a 130 point halftime lead, but Kellenberg led a spirited comeback in the second half (taking advantage of two key GV negs). Great Valley fell behind by 30 going into the last tossup, but managed to convert and 30 the bonus to win 345-335 and seal the tournament victory. Excellent performances by John, Anshu, and Rishi, with 20, 19, and 19 powers a piece for the tournament, suggest Great Valley has not missed a step after key graduations. As for Kellenberg, they had some great buzzes and we were happy to have them make the trip down and compete at such a high level.

Although finishing undefeated in prelims, Henderson A led by Vijay (second overall top scorer with 36 powers and 91.67 PPG) finished in third, defeating Manheim Township A, 490-180. Several of Vijay’s early powers combined with a few unfortunate negs widened the breadth of this match, as Manheim’s Will was third individually with  81.67 PPG. Currently ranked #3 and #4, respectively, both teams look to build on this performance to secure top-five finishes in the state.

Downingtown STEM did not make playoffs after a tough prelim loss to Great Valley A, but Anish had an impressive 103.75 PPG to lead individual scorers. Elsewhere in the upper brackets, many of the core programs in the City of Philadelphia opened their seasons, as Science Leadership Academy, Carver, Bodine notched some points. Wissahickon from Montgomery county also opened their latest campaign, continuing a run as one of the state’s oldest programs. Lastly, Delaware Valley made yet another appearance in an active season, making playoffs behind another solid performance.

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Germantown Friends also with their first place trophy (courtesy of FSS Quizbowl)

Pennsylvania’s own PSACA 2: Groundhog Day set written by Bill Tressler again allowed for some awesome competition in the Novice Division. Germantown Friends, coming to their first competition in school history, went undefeated all day to finish first in the division. This is a rare feat, and to see such success from a Archbishop Ryan (led, suitably enough, by Ryan with 110.56 PPG) had its only losses (first in the prelims and then a second one in a disadvantaged final) to GFS, coming in second overall.

Both Anuja and Vivek of Henderson C worked hard to give the school another third place finish in this division. Though they put up a combined impressive PPG, being a two person team seemed to take a hit on their PPB and they finished 6-2. Wissahickon B finished in fourth, having lost only to the first three teams. We also got to see more action from local Philly schools, as several B and C teams joined Rush, Franklin Towne, and Furness to continue the ever growing tradition of Philadelphia city quizbowl.

If you haven’t played the PSACA set this year yet, there is still time to play at Bermudian Springs High in Adams County (11/17), and it’ll be used again next weekend at Carnegie Mellon University’s tournament, which has reached its field cap. Many players and staffers agreed it has challenging early clues that will help novice players learn and improve as well as accessible content for younger and newer players in the giveaways.

In the rounds I moderated in the open division, I saw a lot of new faces pulling great buzzes and thirtying bonuses. Early fall events like this one always make me excited for the tournaments to come– I know a lot of those faces will be returning to PA quizbowl later in the season, and especially in the novice division, continuing to grow as players and members of the community.


Tri-State Tussle IV Wrap-Up (10/13/18)

23 teams from 12 different schools came together this past Saturday at Delaware Valley High School in Milford, PA for the fourth annual Tri-State Tussle. Links to the morning and afternoon stats can be found here.

Teams from out of state claimed the top three spots on the day (Keep working hard so this doesn’t happen again, PA teams!): An undefeated Troy A (NY) took first place, followed by Wilton (CT) and Ithaca A (NY). Moravian A led all Pennsylvania teams with a 4th-place finish. They ended the day with a PPB over 20 and got solid contributions from all four team members on the day, with Alex Adams leading them in PPG. In 5th was Wallenpaupack A, a team of returning young players continuing to grow together. Gavin Heard led this team in scoring, but like Moravian, all four players averaged at least one tossup per game, and their PPB ended up around 19. Rounding out the top bracket was Delaware Valley A, who topped their prelim bracket before joining the other two PA teams in a circle of death in the playoffs. Emma Dove continued her emergence as a strong player to lead them in scoring, but again, each player made a notable impact on the day.

Two more Pennsylvania squads topped the second bracket. Greater Nanticoke A, in just their second-ever Saturday tournament, finished on top on a PPB tiebreaker. Props to them for their excellent work! Camp Hill came up next. Sydney Preston had an excellent day, finishing as Pennsylvania’s highest-scoring player with 85.5 PPG, and Gus Eberlein added some solid points as a second scorer as well. They notched a morning 300-280 victory over Ithaca A, and could be a fun team to watch as the season develops. Lakeland A continued their adjustment to the post-Goerlitz days with a nice finish as well; a run to the SSNCT playoffs should be a good goal for them this year. Three players from Delaware Valley B rounded out this bracket.

Young players from Moravian, Wallenpaupack, Delaware Valley, Lakeland, and Greater Nanticoke all filled out the remaining brackets, gaining some good experience for the future. It was also good to see Berwick return to the circuit for some more quizbowl fun!

Overall, the northeastern part of the state is characterized by developing youth. Will some of these teams be able to challenge the state’s top-ranked squads as we’ve seen in the past? Keep an eye out for that this year!

-Ryan Bilger

Nittany Lion Novice IV Wrap-Up (10/6/18)

Eleven teams were on hand to kick off Pennsylvania’s quizbowl action for 2018-19 this Saturday at Penn State University. A combination of first time schools and newer players from established teams competed for the championship. Full stats for the event can be found here.


State College A defended their title at Nittany Lion Novice with a 10-1 record.

Semi-hometown team State College A defended their NLN championship with a 10-1 record, with their only loss in the first round to their own F team. This five person team managed to win in large part on bonus conversion, which was a couple points higher than the rest of the field and particularly assisted them in a 265-155 win in the finals where both teams answered similar numbers of tossups. Sophomore Kueyong’s 56 points per game led the way in an impressive performance, good for third in overall scoring.

Runners up were first time entrants Mechanicsburg, out of the Harrisburg area. I was impressed not only by the strong command of the academic material by this team (especially some good history and science buzzes), but their enthusiasm and quick adaptation to the Saturday invitational format. While they might have run out of steam by the end, I think Mechanicsburg has a very bright future with this team, all of whom were sophomores or younger. Todd particularly shined with a tournament leading 82 points per game.


Mechanicsburg before their round 6 match-up. They’d finish 9-2.

Third went to State College F, which was led by a dominant performance by Ananya and her phenomenal fine arts knowledge (77 ppg, second at the tournament). Huntingdon took 4th behind a 7-4 performance and some very good general knowledge buzzes. They made their circuit debut at this event three years ago and continue to build up. Some of the youngest players from state stalwart Manheim Township pulled in at fifth, with Ellie finishing with 50 points a game on the nose. The field was also filled out with additional State College teams and two teams from circuit newcomer Union High school in Clarion County. They seemed to be having a ball and many teams could stand to learn from their spirit.

As you can see from the stats, 6 of the 10 top scorers were girls at the event. One of the best things to see at Nittany Lion Novice this year was the awesome success by female players, who made up almost exactly half the field. In an era where quizbowl has increased its commitment to diversity and an open environment, and the #girlsinquizbowl hashtag has become a movement, it was welcome to see it bear fruit this Saturday.  We look forward to seeing their performances continue to shine at upcoming tournaments.

This was the first mirror of PSACA’s second set, written by Pennsylvania quizbowl’s own elder statesman, former coach Bill Tressler. It is intended for a novice audience. The difficulty seemed appropriate for most of the teams Saturday, and very few questions went dead, even in areas new players tend to struggle such as fine art. If your team missed NLN, there are still mirrors of the set at Friends Select in Philadelphia (10/20), Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh (10/27), and Bermudian Springs High in Adams County (11/17). This is an ideal set for new schools so if you’re interested in starting a team up, you can find more information about them linked above.


Manheim Township’s team finished 7-3. They were the champions of the first two NLN tournaments.

This was a great way to start the season and I’m excited to see how far these players can go locally and perhaps even nationally. The next stop on the train will be in the northeastern tip of the state, where another tournament will be having its fourth incarnation: Delaware Valley’s Tri-State Tussle.