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.
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.
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.
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.